Display Your Handiwork and Your Wine at the Same Time

You have the option of hanging this wine rack on a wall or laying it on a counter.


ore's a versatile wine rack that you can hang on the wall or lay on a counter. Guests will swear your wines are from the choicest grapes when you nonchalantly select your bottles from this handsome rack. You'll find it's quick and easy to make—a fine idea for an elegant gift on short order.

Materials and Dimensions

I made the original wine rack in walnut, but you could use any reasonably strong hardwood including oak, ash, maple, cherry or teak. Better not use a softwood (except possibly Douglas fir) because the weight of the 11 bottles and their contents is close to 30 lbs.

Choose the stock—grain running lengthwise—and plane it to a hair over V* in., 'Via in. will do,7/« in. if possible. When cleaned up, stock for the two sides should measure 6'/2 in. wide and 38'/» in. long. Make sure there are no checks or shakes that may weaken the wood. It will be easier to do the finish sanding before you make any cuts.

Wfith Va-in. hardboard, thin plywood or cardboard, make a full-size template of one side in the dimensions shown on the drawing (see Fig. 1). I always keep templates such as these for future use, especially if your first rack is a gift —because once you see it on your friend's wall, vou're bound to want one yourself. On w ti *

this template, you'll want to cut out the half circles with a coping saw or bandsaw, but you needn't cut out the full circles. Instead, mark their centers accurately with a hole using a drill or an awl. Lay the template down on the wood, mark out the half circles and then the centers of the full circles. I suggest cutting the full circles first because the stock is less fragile that way and easier to clamp.

There are a number of ways to cut out these holes. I used a circle or fly-cutter attachment on my drill press. Despite its humorous name. (no. it doesn't come wrapped in flypaper) it is a dangerous tool. Be extremely wary. The rotating bar can catch long hair or a loose sleeve much faster than I can write about it. Another possibility for cutting these circles is a 3'/4-in.

hole cutter (available from Tool City, 14136 E. Firestone Blvd., Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670). You could just as easily remove this waste by drilling a hole inside and near the perimeter of the circle, inserting a coping-saw blade and sawing it out.

When using a fly cutter to cut the circles, begin by clamping or screwing a flat piece of 3/4-in. hardwood, plywood or particle board to the table of your drill press. Leave this in place for the entire drilling operation. Now set the arm of the fly cutter to 1V« in., and slow the speed of the drill down to 300 rpm or less.

You have the option of hanging this wine rack on a wall or laying it on a counter.


A fly cutter will cut out circles in a flash, but watch your fingers.

Bring the cutter clown so it just grazes the surface. Turn the drill press off and measure the diameter. Ad-thc arrn Qf the cutter if necessary and keep on try-until the diameter of the hole is 3'/4 in.

Now, set the depth stop on the drill press so there's no danger of hitting the iron table, and try cutting a circle in a piece of scrap, preferably the same wood you are using for the rack. Be sure to clamp it firmly. Examine the underside for tearout where the cutter exits. If necessary, sharpen the cutter or try drilling only part way through and then turning the work over and completing the cut from the other side.

It saves time cutting the circles on both sides of the wine rack with these sides fastened together. Instead of using clamps—they tend to get in the way—screw the two pieces together before drilling. Just make sure you put the screws through the half-circle waste because these parts will be cut away later. Now, clamp the two sides to the table, center the twist bit of the fly cutter over one of the circles and drill.

After you've cut the full circles, but before separating the two sides, mark out the three notches for the hangers. These are conspicuous joints so they should be cut out with care. Scribe a line with a marking gauge in. from the edge. Saw across the grain just inside the line and chisel out the waste. You're ready to bandsaw the top and bottom edges and the half circles using an '/n-in. or Va-in. blade or coping saw.

Cleaning up these circular cuts is quite a chore. You might want to get a 2-in. or 2'/2-in. drum sander that will fit in the drill press or improvise something.

Cut out the three hangers, measuring 1-U in. long, l'/a in. wide and in. thick. Fit them to the notches and secure each joint with glue and a single I Va-in. #10 flat head steel screw. If you plan to hang the rack on a wall, it's best to drill and countersink the hangers before final assembly. Make sure you go through the Sheetrock or plaster into something solid —like a stud—or you'll end up with a horrid mess of broken glass and wine.

If you put off gluing the hangers until later, the rack can easily be taken apart and boxed if you choose to bestow one on some needy friend. Though, if offered the choice, I might take the wine instead... A

Simon Watts teaches wooden boatbuilding in California and around the country. He liws in San Francisco.



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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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