Outdoor guy turns Pinterest project into rake/rod rack

I am not, as far as I can tell, the target audience of Pinterest. Let’s get that out of the way right off.

The storage bin, completed (sans wheels). Note the fly rods in a position of honor on the left.

The storage bin, completed (sans wheels). Note the fly rods in a position of honor on the left.

Not that I have anything against the internet idea exchange that so many have embraced over the past couple of years, of course.

My wife, Karen, a regular Pinterest-checker, has found all kinds of great ideas on the site, after all. A disclaimer: Many of those ideas have involved food, of which I’m a huge fan. Therefore, although I’m not a Pinterest user, I may be biased.

A couple months back, Karen showed me a do-it-yourself project that she’d found on Pinterest. She thought it could reduce the clutter in the home we’d just bought, and figure the project was so simple, even I could complete it … eventually.

Second disclaimer: As I’ve admitted over the years, I am not a handy kind of guy. Power tools and me? Not a good mix. Carpentry? Not a chance. Simply put, I’m eager … but unskilled. Put me on your average job site, and I’d be the guy they’d send to find the board-stretcher, or the guy responsible for ordering and delivering lunch.

Still, this project looked doable. Even for me. Maybe.

The Pinterest post linked back to an Apartment Therapy project with an alluring headline: “Before & After: Less Than Fabulous Filing Cabinet Turned Garage Super Storage.”

The theory was simple: Procure a used-and-battered filing cabinet. Sand it down. Attach a dolley system and wheels to the bottom. Spray paint it. Then flip it on its back and use the cabinet (sans drawers) as a super-duper garage organizer.

Fortunately, we had a used-and-abused file cabinet in the garage, which we figured would eventually end up at the city’s transfer station. Finding an alternate use — filing paper in cabinets seems so 1985, after all — was a bonus.

As is my custom, I chose to simplify matters a bit by eliminating the step that called for attaching wheels. Publicly, I’ll maintain that I didn’t want to have my rake rack rolling all over the garage floor. Privately, I might admit that the drilling-and-attaching step was the one piece of the puzzle that I thought I could fail miserably at.

So, no wheels.

The storage bin, after a couple of coats of paint (and a lot of sanding)

The storage bin, after a couple of coats of paint (and a lot of sanding)

Honestly, the project was so simple, I’d not be writing about it had not my boss (and others) noticed a Facebook photo of the finished rack and said, “Hey … you ought to tell others about your new storage bin.”

The file cabinet needed some sanding and cleaning, and after a couple hours, I had it ready for the paint.

Only bled twice during that phase, which (believe it or not) was a huge moral victory.

Note to others who may want to spruce up their own file cabinet: Sheet metal is sharp. When you’re reaching beneath the edges to coax out dust and dirt, you’re likely to find those sharp edges. And if you’re me, you’re likely to bleed.

After a few coats of Rust-Oleum (Colonial Red, if you’re curious), the bin was ready to fill.

And as Karen had pointed out, we had plenty of yard and garden implements that were begging for homes.

Oh … and I might have saved a prime spot for some fly rods that had been leaning up against walls and hiding in various corners. The official Pinterest plan never called for building a rod rack. But truthfully, the realization that I’d be able to store my rods in the new bin likely played more of a role in the project’s completion than any desire I had to stow assorted rakes and shovels out of the way.

As you’ll notice in the photo, the rods are in the left bin, separated from all the other (less important) tools.

Some (non-fly fishers) might say, “Holy cow! Why does a guy need four fly rods?”

My fly-fishing pals will instantly understand that a four-rod arsenal is actually pretty anemic.

I learned that fact many years ago, when I walked into L.L. Bean to buy my first fly rod.

I told the sales representative that I was looking for one fly rod that, if I only bought a single rod, could do practically anything I needed it to do.

Versatility was key, I told him.

“You really are new to fly fishing, aren’t you?” the L.L. Bean rep asked me. “I’ll sell you one rod, but I bet you’ll be back. You can never have too many rods.”

Now, many years (and a few rods) later, I more fully understand how right he was.

Rest assured, there’s plenty of room for another dozen or more rods in my new storage bin.

And I think it’s time to start filling that extra space.

“Want to make your own? You can find the directions for the full project — including the wheels I didn’t need — on Apartment Therapy.”

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John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.