Cable rack

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This page is an example project showing an easy to build solution to the problem of storing reels of cable.

The Problem

Many enthusiastic DIYers must have run into the same problem, before long you end up with part used reels of cable clogging up the shed or workshop. Storing the things neatly so that they are easy to access and use is not that simple. Placed on an ordinary shelf on edge the tend to roll off. Laid flat on their side they end up stacked on top of each other, which makes access to the one you want (the bottom one usually) difficult. If you thread them onto a spindle or spike, they are nice and easy to use in place, right up until you want to take the middle one away somewhere.

The Solution

This is one suggested solution, made from standard shelf brackets and supports:

Versatile cable storage rack

It is easy to make, very strong, and can be scaled to hold more or less reels as required.


To make a cable rack like this you will need a pair of double slot steel shelving system uprights to use as the main uprights, and then a further two sections of shelf upright for each shelf, plus a pair of 220mm shelf brackets.


Making the Shelves

Since I was making a pair of shelves, I took four 220mm brackets, and clamped them in a vice with the top surface facing up. I then marked out the position I was going to mount the cross rails; one near the front of the bracket, and another about 25mm from the back. Using an angle grinder with a metal cutting disk I then cut two sets of notches in each bracket. The pairs of notches being spaced so as to accept a section of shelving upright:

Detail of a notched bracket

Once the brackets are notched, the shelf can be assembled: two uprights are laid out on a bench face down and the brackets placed over the top of them such that the notches engage with the edges of the upright making a snug fit. A small tack weld was then placed at each bracket rail intersection to join them together. A quick going over with a wire brush and a coat of paint later, job done!


Fix the uprights to the wall in the usual way, and then affix the shelves. Make sure you space the uprights to match the bracket position on the Shelves (it helps if you have made all the shelves the same!)

Cable reels of various sizes should now sit snugly between the horizontal rails of the shelf.

Alternative Construction

For a solution that does not require welding, one could make the shelf rails from wood (say 40mm square section) and this just be screwed to the shelf brackets. Obviously the size of timber used can be adjusted depending on the length of each shelf.

If one is careful with the positioning of the slots in the brackets it may even be possible to align the original screw holes deigned for fixing the shelf, with the screw holes in the section of upright used for the rail. Then the parts could be bolted together. Cable ties might prove another quick and easy solution.

See also

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