Fishing Net

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Project by ZLP posted 03-10-2016 02:29 PM 1790 views 5 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the project that started my garage woodshop obsession.

I’ve fished my whole life, and finally started dabbling with fly fishing. Being the construction guy that I was, I couldn’t stand the thought of spending hundreds of dollars for a quality wood handled net, and couldn’t stand the quality of the cheaper ones.

So I decided to build one.

I bought a stick of walnut and a stick of hickory from the local lumber yard and ripped the 4/4 material into 1/8” strips. Taped together several sheets of graph paper and using a compass and french curves roughed out a pattern. Soaked the strips overnight in my wife’s tub, and clamped them to the pattern shape and let dry for several days. Gorilla glue is the best for everything…right? Glued the dried but now bent strips up and clamped them again the form. My next one won’t be glued with Gorilla.

My favorite neighbor often mentioned his grandpas old cabinet shop. I twisted his arm one Saturday afternoon to take me up there. With my glued up net in the back we went for a ride. Many of the old machines had been disconnected from their power source. Luckily the planer, wide belt sander, and spindle sander still fired up. That’s all we needed to flatten and sand my experiment. Back home over the next several weekends I routed the edges and hand sanded everything smooth.

Here’s where my problem started. I had figured out the hole spacing around the perimeter to tie on the rubber net. So many of the expensive nets had a groove around the perimeter to recess the string and knots. The cheaper I didn’t like nets were simply tied on the surface. I couldn’t groove it with my table saw, didn’t have the steady hand to carve it with a chisel…and couldn’t cut a groove with my hand router and limited bits in my collection.

And like this it sat…for 4 years. I asked several cabinet shops and other wood guys how to do it…they all gave me a puzzled look and nobody came up with a good idea. Then one day I saw a bearing kit for router bits. I realized that I could switch out the bearing on a slot cutting bit that would allow only an 1/8” groove to be slotted around the curved exterior. Next problem…nobody I knew had a router table in their garage.

So I built one…and I’ve been turning in my old finish carpentry and job site tools into better “woodshop” type of tools ever since. I haven’t been able to park my truck in the garage the past two winters…but I finished my fishing net and it ignited the woodworking interest I’ve had most of my life into a serious hobby.

-- We had too much time a while ago and not enough time now!

7 comments so far

View JADobson's profile (online now)


1326 posts in 2345 days

#1 posted 03-10-2016 03:01 PM

Welcome to LJs. The net looks great.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View johnstoneb's profile


3070 posts in 2407 days

#2 posted 03-10-2016 03:57 PM

Good job on the net.

Here are some I did. Making them can be like drugs.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2527 days

#3 posted 03-10-2016 04:53 PM

Great job! Making my own net has been on my “bucket list” for some time—hope to get to it before too much longer.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View gepatino's profile


217 posts in 2359 days

#4 posted 03-10-2016 07:36 PM

I’m not a fisher myself, but I live in a place where fly fishing is a thing in trouts season. I played with the idea of making and selling this, with the plus of using native woods, but I guess I couldn’t beat the price of the chinese…

It’s still a project in my mind for when I finally make my own workshop and have some room to do this comfortably. Maybe when I decide I’m fed up with programming all day.


View ZLP's profile


4 posts in 1455 days

#5 posted 03-11-2016 03:42 AM

Those are sure pretty.

I made a mad dash to Boise and back today for work. Maybe next trip I’ll have more time and come see them in person.

Good job on the net.

Here are some I did. Making them can be like drugs.

- johnstoneb

-- We had too much time a while ago and not enough time now!

View hunter71's profile


3315 posts in 3421 days

#6 posted 03-11-2016 04:56 AM

Nice piece, and quite an accomplishment from the story.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View BurlyBob's profile


6029 posts in 2500 days

#7 posted 03-11-2016 06:32 AM

That’s a beautiful net. A number of years ago a friend built several and used a router with a 1/8” fluting bit to cut the groove and drilled holes to tie the nets to the hoop.

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