Air and water hoses left lying about are unsightly, dangerous and can be severely damaged by exposure to the sun. Hoses should be stored on a reel to prolong their life and prevent accidents.There are many types of hose reels available from a variety of sources, such as department stores and home centers, but most are poorly made of plastic and, while they look good, won't last very long. A homemade hose reel is easy to make, generally costs far less, and is more durable than commercial models.
If you're handy you can make your own hose reel in either a fixed or portable model. The portable model will allow you to crank the hose on to the reel. Materials needed to make a homemade hose reel are an old steel car wheel, some 2-inch steel flat stock, an electric drill or drill press, and a welder. Additional materials needed to make the portable model are several feet of 1.5-inch angle iron, 1-inch short pipe nipples, 1/2-inch pipe and caster wheels.
Fixed Hose Reel
Welding an "X" of 2-inch-wide, 1/4-inch-thick flat stock on both sides of an old car wheel makes an excellent hose reel to mount on a wall. The "X" on the back of the wheel should have two 3/8-inch holes drilled through for bolting the reel to the wall. Making the "X" approximately six inches longer than the diameter of the wheel enables the reel to hold many more feet of hose than the wheel itself could hold. Manually wrapping the hose around the reel for storage is the major drawback to this type of hose reel. It must be carefully done to avoid kinks and twists in the hose.
Portable Hose Reel
This model eliminates the twist and kinks possible with the fixed model, and has the advantage of mobility. Transporting the entire length of hose from one section of your yard to another is much easier with this reel than dragging or carrying the hose is. Start by making two "X" pieces of 2-inch-wide by 1/4-inch-thick flat stock. The twp "X" pieces should be identical and about eight inches longer than the diameter of the wheel. Drill a 1-inch hole in the exact center of both pieces. Line them up on the wheel with the drilled hole in the exact center of the wheel, and weld them in place. Set aside for the moment. Make a frame for the reel from angle iron. The ends of the frame are triangles from three pieces of angle iron, all cut to the same length as the flat stock you used to make the "X" pieces. A 1-inch I.D. short pipe nipple welded at the top of each triangle serves as a bearing for the axle. Complete the frame with two 12-inch-long angle iron pieces welded at the front and back of the bottom of the end pieces. Attach a caster wheel on each end of the rear cross piece. At this point you should have two triangle end pieces standing upright, one foot apart with the two axle bearings at the top and two cross pieces at the bottom with wheels on the back piece. Complete the assembly by placing the wheel inside the frame and running a piece of 1/2-inch pipe through one bearing, the hole in the center of the two "X" pieces and the other bearing. This is the axle. Cut a piece of the 2-inch-wide flat stock about 8 inches long and drill a 3/4-inch hole an inch from each end. Slide one hole on to the axle and weld in place. Weld a 6-inch-long piece of the 1/2-inch pipe in the other hole to serve as the crank handle. Weld the axle to one or both of the "X" pieces. Turning the crank winds the hose on the reel.