Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 2:10 p.m.

If I had any idea how this was going to end up, I would have written it up as it happened instead of waiting until now to document my insanity. But anyway, enjoy the ride!

I just wanted a nail to hang my air hose on. And then... the project spiraled out of control.

We recently moved to a new house and I am trying to get my garage workshop set up. Right now, it is boxes of parts, tools, junk, etc. piled all over. A few shelves, but no workbenches or useable cabinets. I have the same situation in the future woodwork area in my basement.

Before I can start wrenching on my long-term Lotus Elan, there are a few things that need to happen:

  1. I need to build some workbenches and storage in the woodwork area so that I can…
  2. Make some bookcases and desks for our home office and then…
  3. Make some workbenches and storage for the garage so that I can…
  4. Finally start working on the Elan again.

But before I got too far into the list of things to do, I found myself tripping over a coiled-up air hose on the garage floor. So I thought I would put a nail in the wall to at least get the air hose off the floor. I can do this, really I can.

After much searching through piles of boxes I found a nail and a hammer, but then realized that I really did not want to put the first nail hole in my newly drywalled and painted workshop.

Looking around at all the junk, I noticed these…


… I have five old Lotus Elan wheels, one of which was basically junk due to multiple cracks. I always thought that a garage is not a garage unless it has an air hose wrapped around an old wheel on the wall so I thought “why not do that?”.

Hanging a wheel securely on the wall takes more than just a nail – I needed something more substantial. I do have an old Elan rear strut with the stub axle that I could mount the wheel on, but then the wheel would rotate and make it hard to wind up the hose - unless I attached a handle to the wheel. Then the only problem would be how to attach the strut to the wall and how to keep it from twisting sideways. Maybe if I got an A-arm to hold the strut then…… NO! I would eventually end up with a whole car on the wall with an air hose wrapped around one wheel. Not the look I was going for.

Time to rethink the requirements:

  1. Minimize holes in my nice new walls.
  2. A handle to help wind it up would be nice.
  3. Be able to swivel it to “aim” it at different areas of the workshop to make it easier to pull out hose.
  4. It should be cheaper than the cheap hose I will put on it. Maybe not “one nail” cheap, but not $50 either.
  5. It should be located near my air tools so I can easily grab both hose and tools when needed.
  6. Easy to move because the workshop layout is not finalized yet.

 I let all that simmer for a few days….

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 2:58 p.m.

While wandering around a cheap big box store, I saw this:


Wheels started turning, both in my head and literally. It fit the budget (about $15 on sale) and had a handle. It rotated but it did not swivel side-to-side – but surely I can add a swivel feature to it. Should be easy.

Brought it home and thought I would at least assemble the reel so that I could finally make some progress on getting the air hose off the floor. The reel came with four arms that hold the hose and they bolt to a rotating hub inside the u-shaped wall bracket. Hmmm…lots of room in there. I wonder if the Lotus wheel would fit somehow?

And. like most non-standard wheel fitments. the answer is yes the wheel fits, but it needs a different offset and bolt pattern. No problem. This might be the only wooden wheel spacer/adapter in the world that actually works as intended!


Note: If you, or someone you know, plan on going down this road, be aware that you need a fairly small wheel. The one I am using is 4-1/2” X 13”. You might be able to squeeze up to a 6x15 wheel, but it would depend on the offset and the method you use to run the air line thru the wheel.


Needed to somehow get the air from the input fitting up to inside the rim of the wheel. Could go up over the outside of the rim but, besides being ugly, it might also get caught on stuff or bend when the hose pulls on it.  Hmmm…..

Appleseed MegaDork
12/26/20 3:08 p.m.

I expected this to end with you drilling into a gas, water, or electrical line, so you're already ahead in my book.

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 3:08 p.m.

How about feeding the inlet hose through the valve stem? It would be slick, but the valve stem is way too small to flow well. Maybe if I remove the valve stem and enlarge the hole in the wheel to fit a piece of ¼” pipe (a little over ½” OD) it would work? Yeah.…well....should have used the drill press. Drilling into an angled area of probably 1/8” steel with a ½” hand held cordless drill is not guaranteed to produce top quality results. Pretty ugly, but it works.

Grabbed a bunch of miscellaneous fittings that I had laying around and a piece of air hose and came up with this:


Not sure which direction I wanted to wind the hose so I used a “T” fitting to attach the air hose to, with a plug for the unused side.

It seemed functional, but even without the air hose it was heavy! And there were no studs in the wall right where I wanted to put it. I could have mounted a 2x6 across the studs and then mounted the reel to that, but…ugly, and not easily moveable, and it still needs to swivel, and…

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 3:10 p.m.

How to integrate the reel into a design that meets all of the requirements? What would that look like?

Much pondering ensued. Many napkins gave up their life for the cause. Several elegant design alternatives bit the dust and died complicated, expensive deaths.

And slowly, a concept began to emerge.

No holes in the wall? Easily moveable? Near the air tools? How about we put the air hose reel on top of a cabinet, and put the air tools in the cabinet? Yes! I think I am on something now! (edit: ONTO something now! Sheesh!)

Ok. Basic concept was decided. But first, I needed a workbench of some sort as my knees are too old to keep building stuff on the floor. I plan on making a lot of cabinets, shelving, workbenches, etc. for both the garage and the woodwork area, and I will need something to build them on also.

So… let’s make a 4’x4’x3’ assembly table for the woodwork area. I will spare you the details. Let’s just say that the design of the table was way easier than designing an air hose hanger. A couple design iterations, $150 in wood, screws, and casters, a lot of sawdust and last-minute changes, and voila! An assembly table! Eventually I want to build another just like it so that I can cut up 4’x8’ sheets of plywood on the pair, or have a large flat surface to assemble a bookcase on, or…. A task for another day.


Thinking about how to make the air hose reel swivel side to side. The standard way is to put a vertical shaft for it to pivot on between the back of the reel and a wall bracket. Mounting the reel on top of a cabinet means I don’t have a “wall” to mount it to, just a “floor”. Hmmm.

If I mount the bracket onto a board and lay the board flat on the top of the cabinet, I could put a nail through the rear of the board for it to pivot around. Need to space the board up so it doesn’t rub on the cabinet top. How about replace the nail with a piece of pipe and put casters on the front of the board?

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 3:29 p.m.

Nope, too high and unsteady. Like most wheeled vehicles, it needs to be lowered for better cornering.

Need some cheap wheels – yank them off the cheap casters! Need some cheap axles – junk pile has a chrome plated brass rod the perfect diameter that used to be a pull-up for a sink drain. Yes, I am a hoarder of all old but possibly useful junk.



Noticed that a caster without a wheel is a decent little ball bearing swivel, so cut and bent one up to use as a pivot.  


Routed slots in the bottom of the board for the axles. Did a string alignment to keep the axles pointed at the pivot center to avoid scuffing the tires in the turns. I think this is the recommended Ackerman geometry for a single pivot point rotating chassis?


Starting to come together now! The junk pile coughed up a piece of countertop (an old sink cutout) to mount all this onto and I quickly became aware of a flaw in my thinking. I could either mount the modified caster swivel to the board or to the countertop, but once I did either one I could not access the screws for the other side because there is only about an inch of ground clearance between the countertop and the bottom of the board.

Much pondering ensued, yada yada yada. Eventually realized that if I mount the swivel close enough to the edge of the board, I can turn it 90 degrees and access two of the screws on the caster plate, then turn it 180 degrees and get to the other two. Whew! Disaster averted!

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 3:59 p.m.

Which led me to the next problem challenge: how to limit the swing angle so it doesn’t fall off the edge of the countertop. The easy button would be to nail a couple wooden stops at the sides of the countertop for it to bang into, but what fun is that? Plus, the grandkids, or me for that matter, might get our fingers smooshed. (Not quite the same thing, but I am thinking about you, Mr. Indy “Nub” Guy. A very sincere “Thank You!” for being a warning to the rest of us. Your willingness to share your story has made me more cautious and saved me a couple of times already.)

The most difficult way, and therefore the chosen way, is to put the stops hidden under the board, between the board and the countertop. There is limited room to do this and it needs to be very robust. Have I mentioned how heavy this is? And now with the caster wheels and ball bearing swivel it moves very easily. A lot of momentum to control.

And yet another problem challenge: how to assemble all this? If I put the stops on first, I can’t turn it 90 degrees to put the swivel on, and if I put the swivel on first, I can’t lift the board to put the stops on.

A couple of little ponders…and I realized I would need to attach a stop screw by screwing down through the board or up through the countertop. Solely for aesthetics (because it is important how the air hose reel looks?) I decided to hide the stop screw by going up through the countertop. Then I put some aluminum angle on the sides of the board that will hit the stop screw before the reel goes flying off the edge of the countertop. And to soften the possible impact I put some rubber bumpers on the stops.


Extra bonus internet points for recognizing what the rubber bumpers were used for originally:


So that’s the hose reel part. Still need a cabinet to put it on….

jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter)
jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/26/20 4:57 p.m.

Having just installed new drum brakes on my project, I'm sure I know the answer here...

trailing shoe camber compensator*





*may contain sarcasm

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 5:07 p.m.

In reply to jerrysarcastic (Forum Supporter) :

I do believe you recognized it correctly!  Although I think you may have misspelled the name...

iceracer MegaDork
12/26/20 5:30 p.m.

And to think it all started for the want of a nail.

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 5:38 p.m.

My overall plan is to build all of my workbenches at the same 36” height. Besides making it look better, it will allow me to place long items across multiple benches. For example, I plan on putting my radial arm saw (I know, I know) at the same height and use the assembly bench as an in-or-outfeed table.

To make the air hose reel cabinet as useful as possible, it will be 36” tall, with a drawer for the air tools and shelves for more hose or other stuff. I thought about putting the air tools on a hanger or pegboard on the side of the cabinet, but decided the drawer would keep them cleaner and keep them from being knocked onto the floor.

The biggest question at this point was whether to put the cabinet on casters or not. Since the final layout of the garage space is still up in the air it would be nice to be able to move it around easily. However, it needs to be stable and immoveable when pulling on the air hose.

I did find some casters that are reasonably priced and, more importantly, you can lock both the wheel rotation AND the swivel which makes them much more stable. (google “caster total lock brakes”). But it probably won’t get moved too often, and it shouldn’t be that difficult to move even without casters. Maybe design the cabinet so it can go either way in case I change my mind? Start out with just legs so I stay somewhat in budget.

I drew up plans for the air hose cabinet and, feeling really confident after building the assembly bench, I pre-cut all of the cabinet pieces, drilled all the pocket holes, and sanded everything without even a trial fit. No, I am not an experienced woodworker – this was the first cabinet and first drawer that I have ever built.

My fingers, toes, and eyes were all crossed for luck!

And…it all fit together just fine. Mainly because I was extra careful to make accurate cuts. I tried to hold accuracy to +/- 1/32” (~0.8mm) and pretty much succeeded - on a 40 year old Crapsman radial arm saw no less. I have built a fair bit of what I call “2x4 furniture” (rough shelves and benches) over the years but this is the most ambitious “real” furniture I have tried. (Or is that “reel” furniture? Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Add a few screws, some paint, and here it is in all its glory:


Not the prettiest design, I need to work on the aesthetics of my garage furniture. But it works well. I was worried about it toppling over if the hose gets pulled, but it is remarkably heavy and stable. If there ever is a problem, I can always tether it to the wall.



I would like to have air available for my woodwork area in the basement, so I will need an air hose there also. After thinking through what I did for the garage workshop, I decided on this for the woodwork area air hose hanger:


Next I need a proper workbench for the garage. Hey, I have a couple boards and one sawhorse. Maybe I could build another sawhorse for the other end of the board…or…no, how about I build a cabinet to hold up the other end of the board. With drawers and a pullout shelf. And some cabinets above. With lights…undercabinet lights! And outlets, lots of outlets! And a sink! And……maybe next week.

 And that is how to overthink, overcomplicate, and overbuild, a project.  Gee, I can’t wait until the next one!

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/26/20 5:50 p.m.

Well done. 

Yourself New Reader
12/26/20 6:15 p.m.

Thanks - it was fun! 

I have spent hundreds of hours enjoying other peoples posts and thought I would try to repay the favor.

ClemSparks UltimaDork
12/26/20 7:22 p.m.

Now this is the kind of overthinking I can get behind!

RevolverRob New Reader
12/26/20 8:34 p.m.

This is awesome. I was going to turn my old Sunbeam wheels into useless things like...a coffee table. Now I can create an air hose wheels are...13"x4.5" too...because you know - LBC. 


Yourself New Reader
12/27/20 8:03 a.m.

In reply to RevolverRob :

Do it! And post pictures! 

I have followed your K2xPine project from the beginning and am considering following your lead and stuffing a K engine into my Elan. Not sure yet if there is room or if I really want to go that far, but it keeps me interested in what you are doing. That and I have noticed that your writing style is very similar to mine. Don't know if that is a compliment or not, but it keeps me going back for more!

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