I used to spend too much time searching for the right dowel or cutoff. To solve the problem, I came up with the storage system you see here. Using 4"- dia. thinwall, sewer and drain pipe available at the home center, this bin provides compartmented storage for cut-off strips of differing lengths down to 12". The design allows me to quickly and easily find whatever piece I’m looking for.
To make the storage system, you will need five 10' lengths of 4"-dia. pipe. Start with the longest length first (48") and then cut each length 2" shorter than the previous one. (The last length will be 12".) This produces 19 individual tubes. Then use a band saw or a reciprocating saw to cut the tops at a 45° angle. The 48" long pipe is the center tube. Each progressively shorter length is fastened to it or the adjacent tube with 1⁄2" panhead sheet metal screws, in a spiral configuration somewhat like a spiral staircase.
Cut a piece of 3/4" plywood to the dimensions shown for the hexagonal base and six pieces of 3/4" plywood for the base sides. Screw the sides to the base using woodscrews and set the tube assembly inside. Drive screws through the sides into the tubes to hold the assembly together. Finally, mount casters on each corner for mobility. Now I can place each cutoff in the appropriate tube so each piece is visible. And I spend a lot less time finding exactly what I need.