Racks and Wrinkles
By Dan Beard
Shack Racks, Bobber Shelves, and Other Wrinkles
Some Forts may be near good fishing waters, and there should then be a place for keeping the fish rods in the Fort. Every angler who possesses good rods is very particular about wiping them dry and returning them to their cases when the day's sport is finished; but in camp there comes a time when the unjointing of the rod seems a useless expenditure of labor, and the rod is carefully laid flat on the cabin floor against the wall, or worse, is set up in the corner "just for the present," but ends by remaining there all night and acquiring a curve which is most difficult or impossible to straighten again.
A Cabin Rod Rack
would prevent this and render it unnecessary for a tired or lazy man to unjoint his rod. In the Far West one meets with no long bamboo or cane poles such as are common to the rural districts of the East, but every one in the " Rockies" seems to possess a jointed rod; and, almost without exception, the tip of the rod is bent like the topmast of a Gloucester fisherman's schooner.
How they cast a fly with these bowed rods is best understood by themselves; but the cause of the bend is evident, for the rods are seldom unjointed, and may be seen resting against the corners of the cabins full rigged with reel and line, the hook caught on to the reel.
A Walton Shack Rack
would prevent this, and at the same time do away with the necessity of unjointing the rod. The only difference between a cabin rod rack and a shack rod rack is in its finish; they are both made to allow the rod to be suspended by its tip, thus doing away with the necessity of taking the rod apart, and insuring thorough drying; and at the same time the weight of the butt end as it hangs pendent prevents the rod from warping much more effectually than when it is put away in its case.
The rack may be made in the form of an ordinary shelf by using a quartered log (Fig. 291) for a bracket and a board (Fig. 292) for the shelf. To cut the notches 1 B C D E F (Figs. 291, 292, 293) use your jack-knife or saw it as marked by the dotted lines at J (Fig. 292) and cut out the wood as at B (Fig. 292); or use a gimlet and bore the tip holes, as shown by dotted line at C (Fig. 292); then cut away the wood as at D, after which round off the edges with your knife as at E (Fig. 292), an enlarged view of which is shown at F (Fig. 295). Make the neck connecting the gimlet hole with the notch big enough for the tip of the rod to pass through and the gimlet hole too small for the ring on the tip to slip through, for it is by the tip ring that the rod is to be suspended.
It is best to line or cover the notches by gluing or tacking some soft material onto the shelf, bringing it over the edges of the notches, and tacking the overlap to the under side of the shelf. This will do away with the danger of chafing the rod tips. Take an old flannel shirt and cut it in small pieces, as at G and H (Fig. 295), then cut a cross slit, as at
G, and fold the edges back, as at H, so as to cover the ex. posed wood on the sides of the notches.
Nail the quartered log bracket (Fig. 291) to the wall, then nail on the shelf, as in Fig. 293, and the shack rack is finished.
Shack Racks and Other Wrinkles 221
A cruder one is shown by Fig. 294, which consists simply of the log bracket with some nails, around the heads of which short pieces of wire are twisted, bent over, and formed into books at their ends.
Fig. 296 shows an enlarged view of wire and nail.
Fig. 297 shows a cabin rod rack made like a whip rack-the rounded surface economizes space. The greatest difficulty to be encountered in a cabin or cottage rod rack is that the ceilings are seldom high enough to admit of any rod longer than a bait-casting one to be suspended above
222 The Boy Pioneers
Parts of the Real Box
the floor, but, fortunately for us, most cabins and summer cottages are unplastered, and by simply sawing out a section of the floor of the room above, and covering the opening with a box of the required dimensions, a two-story cabin rack (Fig. 298) may be made without in the least marring the house.
top of the rack may easily be arranged to serve as a table, wash-stand, or bureau, and left in the form of a square box will be useful in the bedroom as a shelf upon which to set your lookingglass or any of the many articles you may have in your sleeping apartments or bunk-room. But if you hesitate at cutting a hole in the floor,
An Out-door Shack Rack
run be built against the outside of the cabin with a long door re.~cbiNg to the top md fastened with a padlock, as in Fig. 299.
Every one who has a permanent camp by lake or stream will have guests who know nothing of the art of fly casting, or the even more difficult bait casting, but all such people enjoy still fishing with live bait, sinker, and bob. For the convenience of such guests I have placed in the grill-room of my log camp a board shelf below the mantel, over the big fireplace. This is
A Bobber Shelf
and holes of different dimensions bored in the shelf (Figs. 300 and 301) form safe receptacles for all the bobs, corks, or floats used by my guests. Besides the great convenience of the bobber shelves, they are ornamental in the extreme, and the gaudy hues of the painted floats add a bit of needed color to the rich but somber hues of the log sides and rafters. Another great convenience in a fisherman's cabin is a large
All fishermen have small reels for this purpose, but they are too small for quick drying, while a big reel attached to the grill-room wall is always there and ready for use, and its generous dimensions give ample opportunity for a free circulation of air around the wet and clammy line, causing quick evaporation and insuring a dry line for next day's work, as well as preventing mil dew and decay.
It is a simple thing to make the reel. Fig. 302 shows the back board nailed to the cabin wall; Fig. 303, the spindle of the reel; Fig. 304, the two boards to form the front of the box; Fig. 305, the top and sides, and Fig. 306, the bottom brace.
The wheels of the reel can be made of two sections of a tree trunk, which are joined by slabs made of saplings which have been halved, peeled, and nailed to the wheels (Fig. 307).
Or the end of a board may be sawed off, making a square (Fig. 308), the corners sawed off as in Fig. 309, and sections of broomsticks or saplings of similar size nailed to the wheels in a circle, as shown by the dotted lines (Figs. 308 and 309) or by the nail heads (Fig. 310). The spindles can be made as in Fig. 303, and the whole enclosed in the box and fastened to the wall, as in Fig. 311.
A balance handle may now be attached by nails or screws, or it can have a windlass handle, as in Fig. 312.
While it is needless risk to leave fine tackle all winter in an empty camp, it is unnecessary to tote home all one's belongings.
Minnow nets and other cheap articles may be left to take the chance of being stolen by winter marauders; but there are the red squirrels, wood-mice, and, worst of all, the pretty little flying squirrels, which will gnaw any fabric they can find into fine shreds for nesting material, unless the fabric is spread out without a wrinkle.
For years I have kept my minnow net secure by the simple device of placing a tin pan or wash-basin in its bottom and then hanging it free from other objects. A net with corks and sinkers escapes the ravages of these animals by being carefully spread over my canoe. But every bundle or folded article left unprotected by box or case is reduced to lint by next season, and stuffed into my rubber boots or the stovepipe or some other good nesting hole.
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Last modified: October 15, 2016.