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Topic: Spiky porcupine thread rack (with tutorial!)  (Read 14945 times)
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thanate
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« on: August 25, 2009 11:42:16 AM »

I've been trying to set up my craft room after moving, and one of the things I needed was some way to store my spools of thread so that I can actually see what I have, instead of hunting in box after box to see if I have anything that'll work for each project.  I also wanted something that didn't take up too much space.  This is what I came up with:



This took a couple hours work, and because I used scraps lying around in the basement I spent a few dollars on the dowels, and that was it.  


Materials: three or four 1/4" dowels (the thinnest ones at my hardware store), a small flat piece of wood for the base, a piece 2x4 or similar about a foot long, a drill, a small saw (to cut the dowels), sandpaper, and two screws

Start by marking out where you want to drill your holes.  This is up to you, and will depend on what size your board is and how many spools of thread you want to store.  I used a 1-5/8" interval between pegs, which turned out to work well for everything I have but the old style of extra-large coates & clarke thread (500 yd spools).  If your spools are mostly smaller, or the new kind, then this interval should work fine for you.  

You can do one line up each side of your board, or double up if it's wide enough.  My board was a 2x3, which through the mysterious workings of the lumber industry means that it's actually only 1-1/2" by 2-1/2", so it wasn't quite wide enough for two rows of holes on any of the sides.  I have a lot of thread, so I drilled holes along the corners, too.  More about this later.  

Mark in pencil (it'll come off more easily later!) with a cross at the center of where you want each hole to be.  I just drew a line down the center of each side of the board, and then lines around it to make an x at each point.  Then I marked the corners half-way between each line that goes around, so the corner pegs would come out in between the flat side ones.  



When you've marked all your holes (you can see the crosses where I drew a line down the center of the board, and then the lines across the right distance apart.  Drill your hole at the X between the two lines.) then you're ready to drill them.

Get out your 1/4" drill bit, and put it into the drill.  

This part is where it gets interesting.  Unless you want the pegs to stick straight out when you're done, you're going to want to drill the holes at an angle.  Drill a shallow hole (just using the very tip of the drill bit) at each point.  This will give the drill somewhere to stick, so that it won't just slide off the board when you hold it at an angle to drill the hole you want.  



Make your holes about half an inch deep; if you want, you can put a piece of masking tape around the drill bit to mark when to stop.  This doesn't have to be precise, and you don't have to get exactly the same angle each time-- the thread won't care.  Shot for about 45 degrees, but a little variation won't hurt.  

Make sure you remember which end is the top, so you don't accidentally drill holes going both directions.  Also, pay attention to where the drill is going to go in case it slips-- you don't want to run into your hand or your pretty coffee table by accident.  



Corners!  There are two important things about corners:

1) your drill is not going to want to stick to them.  Take your sandpaper and flatten off the edge of the board enough so that you can drill your starting indentation.  

2) Sometimes, the wood splits (like in the picture above.)  This is when it's time to cut your losses and move on to the next hole; if you keep drilling, you're just going to split the wood more.  



Done?  Sand it down to get rid of all your pencil marks and the fluffy edges of your holes.  If you want to put finish or paint on it, this wouldn't be a bad time to do so; you can coat all the pieces (including the dowels) and sand them down for a second coat pretty easily.



Ok, now we're on to the pegs.  Use your favorite method to cut your dowels into roughly 2" segments.  I used a hand saw and a jig (see the mark I made at 2" along the near side of the jig?) but there are a lot of power tools that would make this faster and easier.  Use what you've got.  Remember that you loose a little bit each time you make a cut; each of my 3 foot long dowels ended up yielding 16 even length pegs and one slightly longer one.

If you're doing this by hand, be prepared for it to be somewhat tedious, and take a while.  



When you're done (finally!) cutting pegs, you can stick them into the holes you drilled.  They should fit fairly snugly; I didn't bother to use glue at all.  If you've got any ends that came out looking really uneven when you cut them, you can make sure to put that side in so no one will see them.  Wink

Of course, if (unlike me) you're more clever than you are impatient, you might actually want to wait and attach the base first, before you put in all your pegs...


Next, you want to attach the base.  Thread isn't too heavy, so it's entirely possible that a bunch of wood glue would work here, but I went for something a little more sturdy:

Take two screws that are at least twice as long as the base is thick.  (ones where the head is flat will work best!) Find a drill bit that is just as wide as the base of the screws, but NOT as wide as the threads:



Trace the bottom of your shaft (the piece you just drilled all the holes in) onto the base, and drill two holes through it where you want to put your screws:



Then line up the base and the shaft so that you can see wood through the holes and tell you'll be drilling in the right place, and drill through both layers.  If you're feeling classy, you can also get a larger drill bit and drill a shallow hole on the bottom side of the base to counter-sink the heads of the screws, so they won't stick out enough to rub your tabletop.  Then screw it all together and put in any of the pegs you haven't attached yet.  



I came up a couple pegs short, but it didn't bother me enough to go buy another dowel...

Decorate as desired, fill with thread, and enjoy!

« Last Edit: August 25, 2009 11:44:21 AM by thanate » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009 11:47:45 AM »

great idea, i luv it Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2009 01:01:49 PM »

This is by far, the best woodworking tutorial I've seen in a long time, bar none.

Your project came out great.  I have only one thing to add to it, and this is merely another option.  Instead of putting a base on it, use a screw bolt, and hang it from the ceiling.  Or put a hook in the wall and hang it from the hook on the wall.  That way it is up out of the way of what you are doing.

Excellent job on the thread hanger and the tutorial.
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thanate
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2009 01:12:12 PM »

This is by far, the best woodworking tutorial I've seen in a long time, bar none.

Your project came out great.  I have only one thing to add to it, and this is merely another option.  Instead of putting a base on it, use a screw bolt, and hang it from the ceiling.  Or put a hook in the wall and hang it from the hook on the wall.  That way it is up out of the way of what you are doing.

Thank you! 

I like the hanging idea, although in my case I'm sure the cat would decide it was a toy and manage to knock all the thread off.
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amaylikespunk
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2009 02:11:56 PM »

This is a great idea! I totally want one now!  Grin
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fluttermuffin
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2009 02:15:00 PM »

this is awesome!! thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2009 07:55:23 PM »

ah, you're my hero.  I was just thinking how much I needed this sort of thing.  I have my thread in a box, where if I get two more spools of thread, I've run out of box....

I don't suppose you'd make one for me in exchange for something.... Wink  I mean, other than the *thing* I still owe you.  Cheesy
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009 10:42:49 AM »

This is so cool! I really appreciate all the step-by-step info!!
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« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2009 11:30:23 AM »

Thank you so much for this tut and all of the effort you put into it!  Like everyone else, I, too, will be needing one of these very soon...aka..running out of room for the future spools of thread..haha!
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« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2009 07:47:28 PM »

Wow I love this idea.  As I was looking at the pictures I was thinking, if you make the dowel pegs a tad longer, you could also put the coordinating bobbin on the peg too.
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thanate
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« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2009 10:55:15 AM »

Wow I love this idea.  As I was looking at the pictures I was thinking, if you make the dowel pegs a tad longer, you could also put the coordinating bobbin on the peg too.

Actually, if you just put the bobbin on first, you ought to be able to make this work without lengthening the pegs at all.  It's kind of impressive how little support something as small and light-weight as a spool of thread needs to stay put.  Smiley

Thank you all for the compliments!  I'm actually off to the post office this afternoon to send astormorray the pegs I cut for the base I made for her (and, of course, sent the week before my father gave us his old scroll saw and made cutting pegs a ten minute job...)
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2009 12:51:47 AM »

You know I've been wrestling with the same problem for a while now and the is the best answer I've seen. Now all I need to do is find someone to borrow a drill off.
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justforme
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2009 03:51:50 PM »

That is fantastic. I always admire the thread holders in the store but am not going to pay that money for them. Now thanks to you guess what I'll be doing this week?

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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2009 07:39:22 AM »

This reminds me of the charity suckers (as in lollipops) for sale at the counter at Canadian Tire. Same design, but the dowels are the sucker sticks.
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2009 02:20:51 PM »

Awesome idea and tut.
I have been thinking about doing something similar but making so I can hang it on the wall infront of me, instead of having to find the box in storage dresser somewheres.
Hummmmm
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« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2009 12:20:11 PM »

I love this idea.  I need to get my handsaw and go buy a miter box, and charge up my hand-me-down drill.  I bought some small thin pieces of wood and dowels, thinking about thread holders and now I have a design to model this off of.  This motivates me to try my hand at this project now!
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ginadaniels
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2009 08:40:23 AM »

Totally awesome tutorial and great idea for organizing a hectic crafting space. I especially like the comment about hanging it up out of the way too. pretty cool.
I could help but think that if you organized your thread spool from biggest on bottom to smallest on top it could look like a really cool thread Christmas tree. Hrmm... I think I just got an idea for all those empty thread spools I tend to keep. Nifty.
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2009 09:08:56 AM »


I could help but think that if you organized your thread spool from biggest on bottom to smallest on top it could look like a really cool thread Christmas tree. Hrmm... I think I just got an idea for all those empty thread spools I tend to keep. Nifty.

Cute-- you could also get a similar effect if you used a center piece that sloped in towards the top, too. 
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2009 10:55:22 AM »

I really like this. It would be a great way to display finger puppets.
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2009 11:32:28 PM »

This is soooo awesome..btw I thought you had some REALLY good tips in regards to drilling holes at angles, etc...Great job!
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« Reply #20 on: December 05, 2009 04:29:51 PM »

Excellent project!!
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