Here is a fly fishing stripping basket made from a kiddie step-stool from Ikea.
The stool is the FÖRSIKTIG Children's stool ($5.00 - umlauts included), plus some nylon screws, some webbing and a buckle. I like it much better than the commercial stripping baskets out there.
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Step 1: Materials and Equipment
1 child stepstool (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60248418/ ) look for a design like this- lightweight , with an inset curve on one side.
6 nylon screws (3 inch),
1 inch nylon webbing and buckle assembly
Any tool to cut slots and holes into the the stool. I used a propane torch, some metal tubing and a scrap of sheet metal
needle and tough nylon thread
Step 2: Design
Stripping baskets are very use and user specific. They are always a pain to lug around, so they need to be as small as possible for the specific use. The shorter the stripping motion, the smaller the basket can be. Also some fishermen hold the rod directly in front of them and some strip to the side, so the basket must be able to be positioned on the body accordingly. Side-strippers that are not deep wading can benefit from a basket that is hung low (gunslinger style).
When the fly line is shooting out during cast, the line forms constricting loops, tangling in any potential snag . The basket needs to be curved on one side to conform to the body, and all straps and edges need to to be smooth.
While some fishermen prefer the basket to hold water to lubricate the line for casting, a basket that has many gaps will be lighter, buffeted less by the wind and currents, and will drain when swamped.
Finally, the basket must contain vertical fingers on the bottom to keep the loops of line in order, prevent a tangle when casting, or when a hooked fish takes off.
I found a child's stool when wandering through Ikea. It had the ideal shape and weight to make a basket for most freshwater situations, and also for saltwater estuary salmon fishing, where the stripping motion is generally short and on the slower side.
The stool just needed to be inverted, drilled with as many holes as possible, and have some fingers added.
Step 3: Cutting and Assembly
With the bits I had, drilling was causing large chunks of chip-out, so I decided to use another method.
I sharpened a piece of scrap stainless steel tubing on a grinder for making the holes. For cutting slots for the strap, I used a scrap chunk of sheet steel (non galvanized - since it would be heated) cut in a 1x8 inch strip.
Working outdoors with a respirator, long sleeves,leather gloves and pliers, I heated the end of the steel strip with the torch and melted out two slots for the strap. I then performed the same operation with the tubing, punching out as many holes as would fit.
The threads were sanded off the nylon screws. A nail was heated to melt a hole for the screws, which were pushed up from the bottom (formerly the top) of the basket/stool while the hole was still soft- sealing the screws in place to function as basket fingers.
The nylon webbing was then cut to length, and the ends melted to seal from unraveling. The webbing was sewn to the buckle assembly. A standard quick release buckle was used. This is helpful in case the basket needs to be quickly removed for safety or convenience.
The overhang for the belt goes into a typical retainer, however the overhang is kept on the inside of the belt, decreasing the chance of the line tangling in the belt.
Step 4: Test Drive
The basket worked fine for estuary fishing, both for a front- high and tight, and a side gunslinger position. I met another fisherman who had made a basket from the same stool. he used pipe insulation as padding next to the body, and did not cut any holes in the basket.
I would like to try something different than the nylon screws for the fingers. Sanding was a pain. Maybe flanged nylon screw posts?