Build a fishing cabinet
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My son Matthew and I are avid outdoor enthusiasts and we fish year round in the freshwater lakes and rivers near our home in eastern Washington. Like most anglers, we’ve rounded up tons of rods and reels, tackle boxes and bags, and lure organizers. And it is almost impossible to put everything neatly and store it safely.
We saw a cabinet specially designed for fishing gear at our local big box outdoor gear store. We liked the idea, but I knew I could build a better, sturdier cabinet with more capacity for a lot less money, and I could customize it for our specific equipment.
After taking an inventory of our gear, we finalized the design on paper, purchased the necessary materials, and built the tackle cabinet shown here. It includes three storage shelves and two fishing rod holders each containing six rods and reels.
Cut the plywood pieces
▶ Cut the sides, top and shelves of the cabinet to ½ ”. plywood. Then cut the base of the ¾-in cabinet. plywood, and ¼-in return cabinet. plywood.
Then confuse ¼ x ¼-in. rabbets in each end of the cabinet top and in the upper ends of the side pieces. Then cut ¼ x ¼-in. rabbets in the rear edges of the cabinet top, sides and base to accept the rear.
Place the two side pieces on your workbench and countersink the ¼ ”deep grooved joints that hold the shelves together. I installed three shelves and spaced the top two 10 inches apart and the bottom shelf about 13 inches above the base of the cabinet, resulting in four storage compartments. Cut the grooves using a router with a ½ ”diameter. little undersized plywood. Secure a ruler guide in place to ensure straight cuts.
Prepare to cut two ¼ ”deep x ½” wide grooves in the ”. plywood base to accept cabinet side pieces: First, notch the bottom front corner of each side piece so that it conceals the ends of the grooves when the cabinet is assembled. Mark the notch in pencil on each side measuring ½ ”back of the front edge and ¼” above the bottom edge. Then use a jigsaw or handsaw to cut out the notches.
Secure the cabinet together, with the top and shelves in place. Then place the assembled cabinet on the -in. plywood base, centered left to right and flush with rear edge. Draw lines along the inside and outside of each side piece, marking their positions on the base. Also mark the ends of the notches cut in the side pieces. Now move the cabinet out of the way and route the two ¼ ”deep grooves into the plywood base.
Assemble the cabinet
Apply carpentry glue to the six grooves of the shelves and to the rebate joints cut from the top of the side pieces. Tighten the pieces together, then hammer 1¼-in. Finish nails through the top of the cabinet, and through the sides and into the ends of each shelf. Space the nails approximately 3 ” apart.
Lay the cabinet face down and press glue into the rebates routed through the rear edges. Adjust the ¼-in. plywood in the rebates and secure it with nails. Now apply glue to the grooves cut in the base. Place the cabinet on the base, inserting the side pieces into the grooves. Secure the cabinet by nailing through the underside of the base and into the lower ends of the side pieces.
Cut the fishing rod holders
▶ I mounted a fishing rod holder on each side of the cabinet; each contains six fishing rods and reels and has an upper and lower rod holder.
Each top rack is a 2¾ “wide board with six notches cut out, one for each rod, attached to the side of the cabinet 1” below the top of the cabinet. The lower racks consist of four pine parts: two ends, a guardrail and an angled base.
Cut the top rod supports to the length of a 1×4 pine, then tear them to 2¾ ”wide. Use a jigsaw to cut the notches.
To make the two lower racks, cut the four ends and the two angled bases from a 1×6 pine. Cut the two guardrails out of a 1×2 pine.
Build the fishing rod holders
Assemble each lower rack by placing the guardrail and the angled base between the two end caps. Place the railing about an inch below the top front corner of the end pieces and ¼ inch behind the front edge. Place the slanted base 2 inches from the bottom of the end pieces, then tilt it 45 degrees. Secure the railing and inclined base with glue and screws.
Spread glue along the lower ends of one of the assembled lower rod holders. Place it on the base of the cabinet and secure it by pushing in 2 inches. Screw through the underside of the base and into the end pieces of the rack. Repeat to install the second rack on the opposite side.
Attach a top rod bracket to each side of the cabinet, positioned 1 ” below the top of the cabinet. Drive four 1½-in. screws through the interior of the cabinet and into each rack.
Once the cabinet is assembled, smooth out all sharp and square edges with a router equipped with a rounding bit.
Use a 3/16 ” rad. bit to ease the edges of ½ “thick cabinet pieces and a ¼” rad. bit to round ¾ ”thick pieces. After milling, fill any cracks in the edges of the plywood with wood putty if necessary. Once the sealant is dry, sand all edges and surfaces with 120 grit sandpaper. Wipe off dust with a tack cloth.
Paint and primer
Apply one coat of primer, followed by two top coats of acrylic latex paint.
Let the paint dry overnight, then attach four 2 ” diameter. swivel casters under cabinet — lockable front casters and non-locking rear casters. Secure each caster with four 3/4 in. socket head screw.
Finally, line the notches of the upper rod holders with felt. Cut a 9×12 inch. sheet of adhesive felt in ¾ ”wide strips and glue it inside each notch.