Cheap Universal Fishing Line Winder

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Design by Charles Ray

Charles Ray from Idaho,USA designed this universal fishing Line Winder that costed him about $8.00 to make. Buying one in a store will cost about $19 to up to $100, This design will work with all reels and spool configurations. It Can be mounted horizontally on a table or workbench or vertically on a door or bookshelf. Here is how he made it :

 Tools and Materials


  • (1) 5-1/2″ x 8″ x 3/4″ plywood scrap
  • (1) 1-3/8″ x 3-1/2″ x 7/8″ hardwood scrap
  • (2) 1-3/4″ wood screws
  • (1) 1/4-20 x 8″ machine bolt
  • (2) 1/4″ I.D.  shaft collars
  • (2) thumbscrews to fit shaft collar set screw thread
  • (2) 1/4″ I.D. x 5/8″ O.D. x 1/2″ thick nylon spacers
  • (2) 3/4″ O.D. hard plastic conical faucet washers
  • (1) 21/64″ x 1-1/8″ x .035″ compression spring
  • (1) 1/4″ flat washer
  • (1) 5/16″ flat washer
  • (1) 5/16-18 wingnut
  • (1) 2″ x 3″ x 5/16″ square u-bolt
  • (1) 1/4″ I.D. x 1-1/2″ long rubber tubing
  • (4) self-adhesive non-skid spots


  • Wood saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Flat file
  • Drill motor
  • 13/64″ bit or 3/16″ bit
  • 1/4″ bit
  • 5/16″ bit
  • Appropriate countersinking bit for your wood screws
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • 7/16″ box end wrench
  • Wood glue
  • Measuring device
  • Screwdriver for wood screws
  • Square


[tabgroup][tab title=”Step 01″]

Design and Construction by Charles Ray McCall, Idaho, USA Photo's by Andrew E. Ray, of Bridger, MT. USA

1- Cut out wooden parts. Sand smooth.
2- Drill a 13/64″ hole 1/2″ from the top of the piece of hardwood, centered on the 7/8″ side
3- Use the 7/16″ wrench to thread the machine bolt into the hole
4- Use the hacksaw to remove the bolt head and dress the cut with the file
5- Drill a 5/16″ hole in the center of the 8″ side of the base, 3/4″ in from the edge


[tab title=”Step 02″]

Step 02 photo 2

6- Attach the upright to the base using the wood glue and the two wood screws in countersunk holes. The side of the upright should be 1-1/2″ from the edge of the base.
7- Attach the 4 non-skid spots to the base. Put two at the corners of the 8″ edge nearest the upright. Put the other two 1-1/8″  from the other corners, along the 5-1/2″ edge.[/tab]

[tab title=”Step 03″]

Step 02 photo 3

8- Use the hacksaw to cut the U-bolt, making an L-bolt
9- Slide the rubber tubing over the short leg of the L-bolt[/tab]

[tab title=”Step 04″]

Step 02 photo 4

10- Remove the existing set screws from the shaft collars, and replace with the thumbscrews. The thumbscrews may need to be cut off, leaving about 1/2″ of the threaded portion.[/tab]

[tab title=”Step 05″]

Step 02 photo 5

11- Use the 1/4″ bit to enlarge the holes in  the centers of the conical washers
12- Assemble the parts as shown, paying special attention to the orientation of the conical washers.[/tab][/tabgroup]








 NOTE: The rod, reel, and winder are shown close together for photographic convenience only. In practice, the line is passed through all rod guides and the tip of the rod is positioned a few feet from the spool.

Photo One:

Baitcaster, Fly, Center Pin and Alvey-type reels (axle of reel parallel to winder shaft):

1- Clamp line winder to a convenient vertical or horizontal surface using the L-bolt.
2- Remove outer shaft collar, spring, flat washer, nylon spacer, and conical washer.
3- Install line spool with the line unwinding off of the top of the spool, towards the reel.
4- Replace the conical washer, nylon spacer, washer, spring, and collar.
5- Position the spool in the center of the shaft and tighten the inner thumbscrew.
6- Make sure that conical washers are centered in the spool.
7- Achieve the desired rotating resistance on the spool by compressing the spring, then tightening the thumbscrew on the outer shaft collar.
8- Attach line to reel and reel away.

NOTE: When filling fly reels, center pin, and Alvey-type reels, the spool of line should be mounted on the shaft with the line coming off of the bottom of the spool, rather than the top.

Photo Two:

Open-face Spinning and Spincast Reels (axes of reel and winder in-line):

1- Clamp line winder to a convenient horizontal surface using the L-bolt.
2- Remove outer shaft collar, spring, flat washer, nylon spacer, and conical washer.
3- Loosen set screw on inner shaft collar.
4- Place spool on shaft.
5- Replace conical washer, spacer, washer, and outer shaft collar. Spring not used.
6- Secure outer collar on the very end of the shaft.
7- Center the spool on the outer conical washer, slide inner assembly snug to the spool and tighten to prevent the spool from turning.
8- Attach line to the reel and reel away


Design and Construction by Charles Ray – McCall, Idaho, USA
Photos by Andrew E. Ray –  Bridger, MT. USA


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