This is my first ever instructable so please bare with any mistakes I make. I had seen a number of pictures of thread/cotton reel holders on another well known picture site but wanted to make my own as the price of the shop bought ones seemed far to high for what they were. I am based in the UK so please excuse any local comments/references that may make no sense if you live somewhere else!)
To make this holder you will need :
A wooden frame (either bought/found/borrowed or made)
A number of lengths of planed pine (I used 45mm x 18mm) cut to fit or larger than your frame
A large number of dowels (how many depends on your frame size and the size of your reels - calculator and counting for this one!)
20 x 20mm Quadrant beading (from a well known british builders merchant)
Long panel pins
Electric drill, drill bits, coloured tape
Mirror/picture brackets or similar to mount frame to wall
And finally some time and patience and a bit of gritted teeth!
Step 1: Start With the Frame
To start with I found a frame from a local charity shop that was originally used for stretching a tapestry canvas but it saved me quite a job with the corners so was worth the couple of pounds! If you are handy at woodwork, I'm sure you could make one quite easily, if not a sturdy picture frame might do.
I already had a couple of long pieces of planed timber for the stretchers (about 45 x 18mm) and a trip to a national building suppliers provided me with a 20 x 20mm quadrant bead used to support the stretchers. I cut the stretchers so that they would over hang the frame (760mm) but you can use any length you obviously find works for the space and frame you have.
On some of the pictures I have seen, people have either used long lengths of the quadrant to support the cottons (I thought these too flimsy and narrow for me) or used the whole length but I am frugal and just cut small pieces the size of my frame as supports! I put these at equal distances apart, working out roughly how large my cotton reels are, however as you can see from the picture, you can put them really quite close if the angle is good enough, I could have fitted them in quite tight but I wanted to be able to see the colours clearly and thought I probably had enough anyway!
I just used wood glue to glue the quadrant to the frame (in the second picture above). As mentioned later, I was nervous of splitting the quadrant wood.
See the next step for more pictures
Step 3: Cutting an Angle
Now this was probably the hardest part. I wanted to angle the stretchers so that they fitted more neatly on to the frame but I could not find any site giving me details of how to do this without complicated jigs etc and as I am no carpenter (and far to impatient!) I decided to try using an electric plane. I angled the stretchers in the workmate, using some of the other stretchers to support them and then just planed away until I was happy! Actually this worked much better than I had expected and all 7 stretchers came out relatively the same angle.
Step 4: Creating a Jig
Now having said I don't do carpentry, looking on various sites, I did think that to make all the holes I needed with the same spacing and depth would be a nightmare without some kind of master tool to help me. I therefore took a left over piece of one of the stetchers and worked out the spacing I would need for the different size cotton reels I was hoping to mount. Some were quite large (as you can see in the first picture) so for these I wanted 45mm between each dowel, then I dropped down to 35mm for most of the others and one final row with only 25mm for the Guterman Sulky I use for embroidery. Drill the holes right through the small block at the right distance apart, then put a dowel in one and use the second hole to drill into your stretcher (obviously you won't have a dowel for the first in each row). I had intended to add a row for bobbins but ran out of space so those will have to stay in a box.
I also wanted to make sure I didn't drill down too deeply on each of the stretchers so I checked the depth I would need and added some bright insulation tape to the drill bit to make sure I stopped at the right time! Watch out though as the tape can move as I found out when I drilled too deep.
The rest of the steps took quite a bit of measuring, scratching my head and using the grey cells to make sure they were roughly equally spaced. Not entirely successful but once the reels are on you can't tell the difference.
Draw a straight line along the length of the stretcher showing the centre and measure where you want your first hole. Drill the first hole using the jig on the centre line (but obviously not using the dowel yet) then put the dowel in the first, look through the hole and find your pencil line then drill the second hole. Continue until you have finished your row (bit like a knitting pattern this!)
Step 5: Mounting Your Stretchers
This was another really tricky part as I was concerned that the quadrant bead I had used may split if I used a screw or large nail to secure the stretcher to both it and the frame. In the event it was not a problem/issue. I drilled a very narrow pilot hole through my stretcher starting at 90degrees to the stretcher, put a fine long panel pin nail into the hole, stopping just as the nail protruded underneath and repeated on the other side. I then put some wood glue on the quadrant beads and very gently knocked the rest of the nail into the quadrant and through into the frame behind. This mostly missed the quadrant and went straight into the frame and worked for me but you would need to check the angle of your stretcher, bead and the length of your nail - sorry but you will have to work this out for yourself!
Sorry the pictures are not very clear but hopefully you will get the point!
Step 6: Final Steps
Finally you can use the dowels (I used 50mm x 6mm dowels and also a length of dowelling cut to size bought from the same well known builders merchants!) to fill your holes. I'm afraid the pictures don't show a completed frame as I had run out of dowels and am waiting for the order to arrive. If I can work it out will amend the instructable with the final pictures soon.
Hope it works out for you!