Man Cave Build

My DIY man cave build.

In 2019, I had a lot of plans. Plans to get out of the business I was in, focus on the JDMfishing_com website and new venture(s) full time, plans to buy property in Washington, move out of California and build or buy the right house…LOTS of plans. Well…plans changed. Aside from the new website/ventures, everything else went in a different direction. Without going into more detail, I’ll just say that I was dealt a very “humbling” hand and as a result, I would have to make some big adjustments in my life, all while staying focused on what was in front of me. I was too far invested in what I had started to turn back, but…all my other plans were going to be delayed.

At the time I was living in a 2800 sq. ft house, alone (aside from the girlfriend staying over from time to time). No mortgage, on a 3 1/2 acre lot, away from the city, close to a local lake with good smallmouth and largemouth populations…I love where I live, but the house was too big for just me and a cat. Knowing that I don’t plan on having any more kids, I’ve been wanting a smaller house with a big shop for quite some time. Well…a few years prior, we had built a very nice little guest house on the property (about 1050 sq ft) that was rented to someone who had recently gotten engaged and moved out. High quality fixtures, jacuzzi tub/shower, all updated appliances, etc…it’s a pimp little pad TBH. So…with everything that was happening, I decided it was a damn good time to move into the small house, and simplify/downsize so that the large house that I was in could be rented and generating soft income. This would also give me a bit more time to focus on other projects and launch the new endeavors, all while keeping the plan of moving up north alive. More than anything, moving into the small house meant that I would be DRASTICALLY downsizing my life altogether, as I definitely had a lot of “stuff” for one person. 

   My first concerns were (of course) my tackle and boat, because…priorities…

My boat was housed in the attached garage that I had extended and built out to accommodate all my gear, so I wasn’t happy about having to vacate that space but it had to be done. The solution…the property happens to have a roughly 1200 sq ft. old barn on it. Run down, dirty, with an older roof, low amperage electrical, cobwebs and old wasp nests galore but!…it is full of character, harbors a very nice concrete slab floor, good bones and a much newer 18 x 18’ carport attached to the side of it (also with a nice, new-ish slab floor and newer roof).

One thing I always disliked about the large house was the lack of a space that I could make into a dedicated tackle room (which I was planning on building/having at the house up north). The large house did have an add-on “craft” room that I used as my makeshift tackle room, but the ceilings were only 7’ 6” high due to a large balcony above, so I was constantly horrified to “fondle my rods” in there and more importantly, it was too small for all my crap, which was piling up everywhere. It drove me nuts, and I was done with that shit, so…I decided that it was time for me to build my own tackle room, and what better place than in that old barn/shop.

I proceeded to move and purge at the same time, literally getting rid of 60-70% of my belongings including a very large amount of older, and unused tackle. During the move/purge, I stored most of what I was keeping in a 20 ft. shipping container, while I donated, sold and threw away so much stuff, it was mind boggling. I will say this…at first it was tough to let a lot that “stuff” go because of sentimental value, but after I started, I couldn’t stop…it was addicting and fucking liberating. With that stage complete, I started calculating space needed for all of my remaining equipment, tackle, boat and tools in the barn. It was at that point that I realized the tackle room was vanishing. Some brainstorming produced a solution. That 18 X 18 carport needed to be enclosed and converted into a dedicated tackle room that I could also do some work from, if needed. The great thing about that carport is the sloping ceiling that starts from just shy of 9’ high on the low side, and ends up at almost 10.5’ on the high side of the structure. This would allow me to comfortably store/remove rods from the rack and handle them within the room.

  Now…Being that it was late in the year, and that I’d be doing almost all of this alone and on my days off, I quickly got to work in hopes of being dried in by winter, which produces a good amount of snow/sleet/rain where I live.

The plan:

– Add small graded concrete slab outside of the shop/barn door to divert water away.
New insulated HD garage door
Clear out main building and carport
Remove unneeded partition walls
Structurally reinforce where needed
Reface/insulate main structure
Frame up new interior partition walls
Build a separate equipment room with loft space above for additional storage
Reface interior where needed
Add doorway and stairs leading down into tackle room
Frame in/enclose carport
Reface, wrap, seal, paint exterior of carport
New sub panel, 2×10 AWG runs (60A duty), w/220/20A circuit for compressor, new electrical throughout
Pre-wire for security system and cameras
Insulate and panel interior of tackle room
New LED lighting in tackle room and throughout shop
Frame up custom rod rack
Paint tackle room and finish rod rack
Add storage for extra tackle and add display cases.
Include workspace for reel tuning/modding/cleaning and lure tuning/modding
Add a multimedia work space
Audio/Video system in tackle room with distributed audio throughout shop
Add lots of usable workbench/flat areas
Add shelving, pegboard and cabinets throughout

I started by digging/framing/pouring the graded slab of concrete just outside the main entrance to the shop/barn to keep water flowing away from the opening and having a new, heavy duty, insulated garage door installed, replacing the sliding barn doors that were there prior. The old facing on the exterior of the main structure was removed, insulation was added and new paneling/facing/paint went on. Next…empty out the carport, make multiple trips to the dump site, and pressure wash/clean it up. There were partition walls within the main structure that would be removed to open the space up, and as a result, some structural reinforcement and concrete work would have to be done, so I tackled that. I didn’t have time, nor did I feel I needed to reface the entire interior of the barn, but did key areas that I felt required it.

Made a furry friend along the way.

I then framed up a new partition wall creating a separate space to house my silkscreen and embroidery equipment. I knew that adding the new room would create a loft/additional storage space above, which was a bonus.

Next, I would need access from the main structure into the carport, so I cut an opening out of the side of the shop, framed in a door and built a couple of stairs leading down into what would become the tackle room. I then began to frame in the long opening of the carport adding in an additional 4×6 support in the center. After that was done, I removed all of the facing from the exterior of the carport, laid down OSB, new flashing, and added home wrap. I then refaced, sealed and painted the exterior.

  At this point, it was time to upgrade the electrical, which was a big issue. I had a buddy (who’s an electrician) help me out with a couple of the bigger tasks. We used the old 14 AWG runs and lots of cussing…to pull new, dual 10 AWG runs from the main panel at the house through the existing buried 2” conduit. Very tricky, but got it done. Before any electricians in here question this/talk about code….The dual 10 AWG runs were decided on, being they were much more manageable to pull the loooong distance between the house and the shop vs. one set of 6 AWG, and would provide close to 60A of service vs about 50-55 with the single 6 AWG run. This crucial upgrade would also allow me to add in a dedicated 220/30A circuit for my large compressor and the ability to run some larger, current-thirsty equipment that I could not run in the shop, prior. We then added the new sub panel and he was on his way home. Grateful for for my buddy’s help, I was then left with the task of adding an additional earth/ground, running additional/new electrical and outlets throughout the barn and into the newly enclosed carport. For some peace of mind, I pre-wired and had an alarm system installed. I then added a plethora of network surveillance cameras. I insulated, and paneled up the inside of the new tackle room using OSB as I had no plans to drywall.

  Next…It was time to design and begin building the rod rack. Unfortunately, after some calculations, there wasn’t a long enough single wall to allow for all of my rods to be displayed, but after running the numbers, I figured I’d get 100 of my favorite rods on one long rack and it would span 16’ 8” in total length. I laid it all out and built it primarily from wood. Felt/automotive trunk liner, paint, rod clips, and some LED lighting would finish it off. The rack is built at an angle that leans all the stored rods back, keeping them centered within the rod clips and providing a bit better view of the sticks. A 26” x 17’ 2” long recessed area in the middle was originally built in to display other items and rods, but after some testing, I decided it would just be too busy/cluttered behind the rods, so I came up with a backup plan. I would to use the space to display a custom made 23” H x 16.5’ L cloth banner that I would design.

The rack is built at an angle that tilts all the stored rods back, keeping them centered within the rod clips and providing a better view of the sticks.

Testing the rod rack clips and angle. 

Now…I had settled on just painting the OSB paneling and key parts of the rod rack, as this wasn’t going to be my “forever” man cave, and as mentioned, I didn’t want to, nor did I have the time to drywall the rest of the room. I primed the recessed area, long strip/overhang that the rod clips would be attached to, tested the angle, calculated spacing, marked off where the rod clips would be attached, and pre-drilled 100 holes for mounting the clips with screws.

Each clip was mounted with a single countersunk screw to eliminate any possible damage to the rod blanks.

  The next step was to paint the recessed center area and rod clip mounting strip with the matte black exterior paint I had mixed up at the local hardware store. The charcoal gray felt/trunk liner would cover both the upper and lower sections of the rod rack and was tricky to adhere to the long wood panels by myself being it was over 16 feet long on both the top and bottom, but all those years in custom car audio paid off… I was able to get it done very cleanly. All of the remaining trim pieces were also primed and painted with the matte black paint. I added hidden color selectable and white LED strip lighting under the “overhangs” that I built into the upper portion of the recessed area and under the 17+ ft long strip of 1 x 4 that the rod clips are attached to. The annoyingly monotonous task of attaching the rod clips came next. I attached each rubber clip with a single screw. But before doing so, I opened up each hard rubber clip by hand, and used a countersink bit to slightly open the hole and allow the screw head to be recessed within the back of the rod clip. This eliminates any possible damage occurring when the rod blank is inserted into being and held by the rubber clip. Yeah, it was a pain in the ass to do, but well worth the effort in my opinion. I then attached all the trim pieces using my finishing nailer.

Note: Late into the rod rack build, I decided to add the vertical trim pieces to the outermost sides of the rack, and as a result, I’d lose two of those 100 rod clips originally planned, bringing my total rod count for the rack down to 98. Aesthetically, the sacrifice was worth it, as it gave the rack a more uniform, finished, framed-in look.

Testing LEDs.

I then made the bottom/rod butt shelf and mounted it 3.5” off the ground, to the 1 x 8” piece of black trim along the bottom of the rack. I bought a big roll of non-slip drawer lining material, cut it into long, 3.75” wide strips and used thin, scrapbooking double sided tape to secure it to the shelf and protect the rod butts. This also keeps them in place. I originally bought adhesive backed felt tape to use for this, but the felt did not provide sufficient gripping characteristics and some of the rods smooth butt caps would cause the rod to turn/slide out of place. The non-slip material solved this problem and works BEAUTIFULLY.

The custom banners were then added. The 16’ long banner is adorned with some of my favorite rod manufacturers’ logos. I also designed/had another 10’ long cloth banner made that sports the new jdmfishing_com logo and hung it on the upper area of the wall rack. I’m very happy with the results and the combination of felt/soft cloth banner also prevents any damage that could occur from banging the rod tips while being stored or removed.

Test fit of the banner before final installation.

With the banner stretched and installed it was time to add 98 of my personal favorites.

NOTE: There no doubles in the rod rack, and the two White Pythons on the rack are the one piece and the two piece models.

I then did some testing with different color settings on the LEDs. The glowing effect they produce with the lights on is subtle, plus it glows from behind the rods. With the lights in the room off, the effect is much more dramatic and I have the option of choosing to light it up with solid white LEDs as well. Overall, I really like how it turned out. Out of all the options, I dig the way the red looks. Gives the rack a ominous look, IMO.

With the rack built, it was time to start addressing the rest of the room. I brought in my display cases, lined them up along one wall, added 6 small, magnetic, battery-powered LED tap lights to each and filled them up with some of my favorite reels, both shelf queens and ones that are fished. I’ll need to add at least one more case down the road as I have many more reels that need to be displayed. Just above the cases, I mounted a long shelf to display the Daiwa/I’ze Nambu Shiki/TWS combo, a sculpture that my Uncle (who taught me how to fish) had left behind when he passed away and other trinkets. My only two egg beaters, the 1 of 5 in existence, super rare, orange OPUS-1, a LIN 258HM and a couple more reels/trinkets are displayed on top of the cases. The small roll-around cart that sits next to the display cases was badged with a Tackle Porn sticker, has dividers built into it and stores an additional 20 rods including extra X7s, Luxxe, Slants, and others that are brand new and/or backups/doubles/triples. The rest of my rods/reels/combos that get heavy use, are kept in the boat. I’ve downsized my rod collection considerably and sat at 167 sticks, but that number has already gone up since writing this…🤦🏻‍♂️

A Megabass LIN 258 HM is displayed on top of one of the cases and flanks the I’ZE Nambu Shiki TWS combo on the shelf behind it.


The Tackle Porn rod cart houses 20 additional rods.

The rest of the room needed to consist of good work and storage space along with a functional center area. I added a heavy duty 6’ x 4’ table in the center along with storage below for my spooling station, tripods/other camera gear, rod sleeves, etc.

A 6×4′ Heavy duty table adorns the center of the Asylum.  It also includes storage beneath. 

  The wall to the right would be dubbed the “Asylum”…where I’d be doing all my modding, tuning, cleaning and store my parts, line, extra tackle, action cameras/pelican cases, overflow reels, lures, boxes and other products. I decided on a 11+ foot long, steel, powder-coated matte black, with gloss black trim wall unit/cabinets, featuring with a 72” x 20” stainless work surface in the center. I also needed a work bench for the remaining wall so I located one and bought myself X-mas presents. .

The black steel wall unit/workspace is lockable, features soft-close doors, and integrated metal pegboard inside the tall cabinet doors that works out great for hanging some of my humble big bait lineup that isn’t kept in the boat, extra packs of soft plastics and lure-modding/building/spare parts. Another cool feature is that the tall cabinet doors open a full 180*.  I added some super bright under-cabinet lighting above the stainless work area, then proceeded to cut, paint and mount pegboard on the wall within the opening of the wall cabinets, in front of the work space. I then hung black wire bins to hold ultrasonic racks, vials and other cleaning accessories. I also added black pegboard hooks and hung a few NIP parts/bearings/drag kits/etc. I laid down some non-slip padding and added the Eumax ultrasonic cleaner. The lower drawer to the right houses my reel tuning/tear-down tools, oil, and grease, while the smaller cabinets (above and below) and labeled slide-out bins on the left, store parts (aftermarket and stock), oil, lots of spools, line, accessories and catalogs. Add in an adjustable height stool and I am satisfied.

The small cabinets in the center of the wall unit house original and custom parts, line, catalogs, tools, and other miscellaneous items.

The rare Megabass Viola Asylum Tackle Box sits on top of one of the tall cabinets.

Pegboard inside the cabinet doors is great for hanging your big baits, storing extra soft plastics and lure customization components.

Extra bright LED lighting was installed underneath the upper cabinets, above the stainless workspace.

All of my reel tuning & repair tools, oil, and grease are stored in the drawer underneath the right side of the workspace.

  The final wall was going to be my multi-media work station. Consisting of a computer workspace for graphics, video and other design work. And of course…I’d also need a sound system in the man cave and throughout the shop. For the workbench, I opted for a Husky heavy duty 3000 lb. capacity, 8’ long, solid wood, adjustable height work bench, as it is built like a tank, had great reviews, and was an absolute steal after using some store credit I had. At 8’ long, it also happens to be just the right length to allow Definitive Technology floor standing speakers to flank each side of it and still allowing plenty of clearance for the cabinet doors. A black file cabinet was placed underneath on the left side, and a 12” Sunfire “True Sub EQ”, and short audio rack system were placed underneath on the right. The short audio rack harbors a Yamaha Aventage RX-A3080 integrated receiver, Audio Control Architect 12 channel amp/eq (for distributed audio throughout the shop), Firestick 4K and Blu Ray player to play those old Bassmaster DVDs I still own.

  I’d primarily be using one of my laptops for design/work, so I mounted a 32” LG monitor on an articulating arm to be used as a second display. I added a Monitor Audio center channel below it and mounted a 42” Sony TV directly above the 32” LG without any gap between them, giving me a seamless transition from one to another. I had also ordered some black metal pegboard panels, hung them on each side of the monitors, and filled them with some rare and extra baits. Yes, I love me some swing impacts. I’ve still got a couple more pegboard panels to hang and fill up with more baits, and I’ll do that soon. I hung a pair of cabinets above the pegboard to keep those TP hats organized and a large shop trash can sits in the corner below another cabinet also housing more of the hat collection. I also have a custom Tackle Porn banner being made to hang above the cabinets. Some of the final touches have included the other banners that were hung all over, but I still have a few small things that I need to add so that I can finish the space up. I can’t say it’s 100% complete, as mentioned…more pegboard, and a shelf or two are in it’s near future.

  The tool area of the main structure is located in the back left corner, and was filled with my “K” Series Snap-On box, a roll-around Matco flip top box that holds all of my pneumatics, a service cart, shelving, a bunch of equipment/tools, my large upright compressor, drill press, worktop, etc. That tool area also features a great big, deep workbench. I’m still dialing it in/getting the pegboard walls filled up, along with the equipment room, but its currently functioning and pretty well organized.

The 32″ monitor in the middle acts as a secondary display for the laptop, while the 42″ Google TV above serves as a multimedia display. Black metal pegboard flanks each side and are stocked with rare, collectable and extra favorite lures. Glass-faced cabinets above the pegboard on each side harbor the Tackle Porn hat collection, DVD’s, and other collectibles.

The boat resides in the middle of the shop, making it a breeze to back in, with good room to walk around, climb in/out, clean and load/unload it. Pegboard was hung behind the boat allowing maintenance tools, spare parts, a backup Lithium battery charger, and other accessories to be stored there making everything easily accessible. More banners were hung on the partition walls around the back half of the boat along with a spare butt seat. The space throughout the rest of the shop and on either side of the main entrance is home to more work tables, and a TON of shelving that stores everything from spare boat seats, removable second console, cover, spare trolling motor, and other misc. items to silk screen, embroidery supplies and packing materials. There really is plenty of room for everything I could need and then-some.

My Precious. Phoenix 920 Pro XP/Verado Pro 250

What mancave would be complete without some tools?

Overall, it’s close to done. It’s clean, organized, functional and allows me quick, easy access to everything. Considering what I had to work with…I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. I was able to do it on a budget and and more importantly, almost all with my own two hands, which is always satisfying for someone like me that loves doing this kind of stuff.

Anyways…Thanks for takin the time to read this, and if you didn’t read it…I hope you enjoy the pics…

I’d really love to see some shots of everyone else’s man caves/tackle rooms/work spaces as well. I know some of you have some sick set ups, so let’s see em. Login to Tackle Porn and share your story.