Canadian Woodworking

Fishing rod stand

Author: Chester Wos
Illustration: Mike Del Rizzo
Published: February March 2007

If the thought of going fishing brings to mind rooting around your basement or garage, untangling your hooks and lines, then this fishing rod stand might be just the lure that you need to get your fishing equipment organized.


Fishing Rod Stand Illustration

When this project is completed you will have a rod stand that stores up to eight rods with reels attached, all in a vertical position, occupying a minimal amount of floor space. The plans can be modified to accept more rods if necessary. You can even use this stand to store your billiard cues.

By chamfering the edges heavily, this stand takes on an ‘Art Deco’ design. By making the stand esthetically pleasing, your rods can come out from the dark corner of the basement or garage, and be put on display almost anywhere in your home.

Make the stand out of the wood of your choice. You will need seven board feet of lumber. I used 14 linear feet of 1×6 lumber. All of the wood should be finished to 3/4″.

Upper and Lower Supports

• The upper support (A) and lower supports (B) are cut from a single glued-up panel (see “Horizontal Parts Panel” in the illustration).

• Glue up a panel about 13″ x 21″.

• Using a table saw, square the panel ends and trim it to 12 ¼” x 20″.

• Sand both sides of the panel to 150 grit.

• Transfer the layout lines from the Horizontal Parts Panel onto the panel.

• Using a drill press and a Forstner or saw tooth drill bit, drill the eight 1¾” holes.

If you have a steady hand you could also use a portable drill. Be sure to drill the holes 39⁄16″ from the edges.

• Cut the upper and lower supports from this panel. The 12 ¼” width of the panel takes into account the material removed when the parts are sawn on a table saw with a ⅛” blade. Set the table saw rip fence to 3 ½” and cut the panel through the centers of the holes.

Sides and Feet

• Cut stock for the sides (C) and feet (D).

• Sand both sides of all pieces to 150 grit.

• Attach the sides to the feet with glue and biscuits or dowels, as butt-gluing the pieces end grain to edge grain would not create a strong enough joint. When completed, the sides should form a ‘T’ with the dimensions of 12″ x 27″.


• Cut stock for the stretcher (E).

• Sand both sides of the two pieces to 150 grit.

• Glue the two pieces together to form an ‘L’. You can miter or butt-glue these pieces, optionally reinforcing them with biscuits or dowels.

• Once the glue has dried, rip the two outside edges of the stretcher to 45º on your table saw to a width of 511⁄16″.


• Lay the side/foot assembly on your workbench with the inner side facing up.

• Hold the stretcher in position over the foot, and then trace with a pencil the upper edges of the stretcher. The tracing leaves guidelines to mark out where your biscuits or dowels go.

• Cut biscuit slots or drill dowel holes in both of the feet, ensuring that the stretcher is accurately aligned in both of the feet and in both ends of the stretcher to gain proper alignment.

• Cut biscuit slots or dowel holes in the top end grain of each side, and the underside of the upper support.

• Glue up the rod holder. This requires only two or three steps, a minimal amount of clamps, and best of all, the unit is self-squaring – because the stretcher is about 4″ in height it acts to square the unit. Apply glue to the biscuits or dowels and place them into the sides. Add glue to the ends of the stretcher and press the three parts together, using one clamp to squeeze the apex of the stretcher to the sides. Two more clamps should be used to squeeze the sides to the bottom edges of the stretcher.

• Wait for about 30 minutes until the glue sets, then remove any squeeze-out with a sharp chisel.

• Glue the lower supports in place. There is no need to use biscuits or dowels, as the upper support will be glued to the sides using biscuits or dowels.

Finishing Touches

• Round over all router accessible areas with the exception of the bottom edge. If there are any pre-assembly areas that are in need of refinement and are router accessible, this is the time to clean them up. Note that after the router bearing rides along a previously routed edge, a corner facet is created, adding to the Art Deco style (see sidebar). During the final sanding, keep these corner facets crisp.

• Finish sand the stand to 180 grit.

• You can leave the stand unfinished, or you can apply your favourite finish.

Now, instead of having your trusty fishing poles tucked away in a tangled mess, they are out in the open, readily available, and perhaps a little more likely to see some action.

Also, by being more visible, your faithful poles are sure to inspire a good fishing story or two.

The Art Deco Look

You can dramatically enhance the appearance of the rod holder by giving it an Art Deco look.

The Art Deco style is added to the stand by chamfering the edges in a router table with a 45º chamfer bit fitted with a bearing at its narrow end. Router the edges BEFORE the final glue-up assembly. Some edges should be routed through to the ends, some edges should be routed to the tip of the corner, and some edges should stop ¾” short of the corner. Additional routing after assembly will be necessary as well.

Chamfering should be carefully considered so as not to rout in areas where removal of the wood would create an unnecessary ‘V’ (or cavity) after the unit is assembled. Pay particular attention to those areas where the wood of one edge joins another.

Chamfers of two intersecting edges should meet at a single point, contributing to the style of the piece. Remember to chamfer the apex of the diagonal stretcher.

If the Art Deco appearance is omitted, simply round all edges with sandpaper to the desired radius. – CWM


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