Published Jul 18. 2021 - 2 years ago
Updated or edited Jan 6. 2023

DIY wooden landing net

Wooden landing nets might not seem like the easiest or least expensive DIY-project, but this article shows how to easily make one almost for free

If by any chance you read my previous post (IKEA Fly Tying Board: How to make a 10-dollar tying station based on a cheap IKEA cutting board. Published Nov 24. 2019), you know I have this "why buy one when I can make my own" mentality. I am not necessarily cheap; I just like to get my creative juices flowing every now and then…

A couple years ago my wife bought me a wooden landing net. Looking at it I thought I could make one, so I went to the local woodworking shop and shared my idea: create a simple mold, bend the wood to shape, sand and seal, make a basket and... voila!
Their input was less than constructive. The first thing they said was "you can't do that". Then, they proceeded to list all the items I needed to buy (from them of course): a wood steaming box, this and that tool, etc. at the tune of over one thousand dollars. I left the shop both upset and with my brain racing with ideas... I hate when people with limited creativity tells me I can't do something!
So, I got to work.

I gathered some wood that was sitting around the basement and my very rudimentary and limited selection of tools (a hand saw, a wood rasp, several clamps… and yes, my wife's tea kettle) and started creating my home-made landing net.

The profile and the steamed frame
The profile and the steamed frame
Noé Tirado-Muñiz

I created a mold by drawing the desired form with pencil on a piece of plywood and placing nails along it to create the required contour. To bend the thin net frame made from pine wood trim into shape, I used a tea kettle to create steam, exposing the trim to it and gently coaxing it into shape. I tied the ends together and left it untouched for several days to help it retain the shape.

Clamping the handle
Clamping the handle
Noé Tirado-Muñiz

I then created the middle section of the handle by cutting the desired shape out of a piece of poplar and glued it to the pine frame. I used the remaining pieces of poplar as part of the clamping system to help retain the desired shape.

The frame with a groove
The frame with a groove
Noé Tirado-Muñiz

Once the glue dried, I cut the handle to shape, created a lengthwise groove on the net frame and drilled the necessary holes. I then sanded – and sanded, and sanded some more – and finally sealed it with polyurethane.

The finished net
The finished net
Noé Tirado-Muñiz

I made a custom basket and attached it with fishing line so the weaving would not show.

The net at work
The net at work
Noé Tirado-Muñiz

This is now my to-go landing net. I spent zero dollars on this project.


Thanks for a great article!...

Thanks for a great article! How did you create the lengthwise groove on the frame?

I first scored the wood with...

I first scored the wood with a chisel and then used a wood file of the appropriate size. I finished it (for cosmetic reasons) with sanding paper wrapped around a small piece of wood.

DIY wooden landing net...

Great looking net! Thanks for the 'How To'.

Grooving wooden net frames...

Much the easiest way to achieve a consistent groove, is to rout it out before steaming/bending.

Great article!...

What an inspiring build story! I have been thwarted by the "equipment wall" many times and it's refreshing to see other ways to achieve beautiful results!

One thing that really struck me about this net was its elegant the hoop a single strip from a 3/4" thick trim piece? How thin, in the other dimension, does it need to be in order to bend w/ stovetop steam?

thanks and, again, great build!


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