A few months ago, somebody on RR-Line built a really nice storage rack for stripwood. He used 25 mailing tubes and scrap wood as a support frame. I looked into the cost of mailing tubes at a local office supply store and nearly greased my drawers. They were selling 2 for around $6. Well, at that price, 25 of them=too flippin' much. The thread said he got his from an online place and it worked out to $20 + shipping. (Shipping to Iowa, again, mathematically worked out to be a no go.) Yesterday, I came up with plan B. I spotted these things called "fluorescent tube protectors". They're clear plastic tubes that slide over fluorescent bulbs to protect them from breaking. AND, the 8 footers were on sale for $3.99. Score!
Since I model HO, most of the wood I use is never longer than 11" or 12". Making the tubes any longer would make it difficult or impossible to get the pieces out. I could get 7 12" tubes out of each 8' section of tube protector (because of the end caps). With some pieces of molding and foam core, I got this thing built for around $20.
I cut the tubes on a little scroll saw, however a thin blade hack saw blade and miter box would also work. I de-burred the edges and trued up the ends on my belt sander, then attached each row of 5 tubes to 2 pieces of 1/8"x1" trim pieces (nothing special about the trim dimensions--it was what was cheapest at the store). Come to think of it, I probably could've swiped a bunch of those wooden paint stirs. I made 5 rows like this, stacked them up and trimmed the outside frame, cut a square back from the foam core and hot glued it all together. Here's how it turned out: