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I bought some wire that came on 100' spools. Rather than have these spools running amok in my workshop, I decided to construct a nifty little wire rack that would serve as a distribution center for the wire and keep the spools in place.

This Instructable shows you how I built the organizer so you can follow along at home.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools & Materials

The main things you'll need are a pole or dowel to support the spools, and some sort of doohickey to hold said pole. I was lucky enough to find a piece of scrap pine and the pole from an old towel rail that were both the right size - if the piece of wood you use for your base is too long, you may have to cut it down to size.

Materials:

  • Pole or dowel sized appropriately that your wire spools are free to revolve.Some PVC pipe might work just as well.
  • Wood base of a length at least as long as your pole.
  • Scrap or other wood to construct the end supports.
  • Wood screws. I used #8 x 1". Would have preferred to use 1 1/2" but I didn't have any of those.
  • PVA wood glue.

Tools:

  • Safety equipment - goggles & mask at a minimum.
  • Jigsaw (scroll saw) or handsaw.
  • Drill with a selection of bits, including a spade bit just a smidge larger than the diameter of your pole.
  • Screwdriver.
  • Workbench or sawhorses.
  • Sander. I used an electric jobby because I'm lazy, but hand sanding is fine. Just don't sand your hands.
  • Clamps. It helps to say it in the voice of Clamps from Futurama.
  • Carpentry pencil.
  • Carpentry square.
  • Paint or stain of your choice.

Time:

  • 1 - 2 hours, depending on how long it takes you to locate all the stuff, your skill level, and how many botch-ups you make.

Step 2: Construct Your End Supports. and Support Your End Constructs.

Here's the first fun part - using Mr Slicey to cut out the end supports.

Mark out the cuts you're gonna make for the shape you want. At first I was going to just use a triangle, but then realized with a little more effort I could achieve something a little more pleasing to the eye that would also be easier to make the cut-outs to hold the pole.

Step 3: Test Fit

Let's make sure everything lines up ok before cutting any holes.

Step 4: Cut Out the Pole Support Hole.

Ah, this wood. Makes me miss the old forest. (Geddit? Pine? Like pining for the fjords? No? Ok then, please yourself).

Clamp your workpiece firmly in place. Pine tends to be a bit on the splintery/ splitty side, so always use a piece of scrap to support it while drilling or cutting.

First drill a pilot hole. I used a 7/32" bit for this, then went mad with the 7/8" spade bit to carve out the larger hole. Purely by chance the pole I'd found was just a smidgeonette under 7/8" diameter so it can be put into position with ease.

Tidy up the hole's edges with some sandpaper. I didn't worry too much about the perimeter of the hole itself since I figure the metal pole will smooth it down a little over time, and it won't be visible in any case.

Step 5: Another Test Fit

By now the rack is looking pretty good - all that's left is to fix the end supports in place, and stain the wood.

Step 6: Fix the End Supports in Place

You could probably get away with just gluing the end supports to the base - in use, there will be very little sideways mechanical stress - but I figure a belt'n'braces approach can't hurt. I've marked the positions for the screws here, then glued the ends.. and now the waiting begins.

I thought I had some photos of the screwing process, but you've no doubt seen that before. The main points to remember are:

  • Drill pilot holes for your screws - again, pine is very splitty and splintery so support your piece on scrap while doing this.
  • You'll want the screws flush with the workpiece, so use ordinary wood screws with a countersink head. Since my screws were a little shorter than desired, I went ahead and sunk them about 1/8" below the surface of the wood.

Step 7: Finishing

..and we're done. Staining applied by the lovely Mrs PirateMonkey.

Possible Improvements

  • Mrs PirateMonkey also made the suggestion that the rack would look good hung on a wall, rather than placed on a shelf as I had envisioned it. This would require cutting the access slot on one end at 90º to how I have it, but would indeed be a nice variation.
  • The pole is somewhat free to slide sideways in its holder. Since this could mean a disastrous dislodgement of the wire spools, with attendant running after them as they scoot off down the hallway, some sort of cover for the ends might be in order.
  • As the spools are now the wire is free to unspool itself with abandon. I plan on adding a strip of thin wood to the front with holes drilled to serve as wire guides. I'll update this Instructable when I do so.
  • There's a lot of room behind the spools which could serve as storage for additional unracked spools, or soldering supplies, or pretty much anything that would fit. Adding such storage might be a nice little improvement.
  • It probably wouldn't hurt to add a handle.

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