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    Build a Wine Rack

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    Tools and Materials

    This mahogany wine rack will store atleast 17 bottles of wine horizontally. The solid sides keep most light out.

    While this design looks simple, it's a little tricky to build. If you follow my directions precisely, though, I guarantee it will all work out. It's a matter of accuracy: The interior dimensions of the box have to be exactly as given in the drawing. The space thus created is precisely the right size to hold the partitions, provided they are cut to the right size and their angles are exact. If the box size changes slightly, the length of and angles on the ends of the partitions must also slightly change. You can see the potential nightmare of adding 5/32, in. to each partition and trying to cut something like a 58-1/4-degree angle.



    Cut List for Wine Rack

    2 Top and Bottom 9-5/8 in. x 11-1/4 in. x 3/4 in. mahogany plywood
    2 Sides 34-3/4 in. x 11-1/4 in. x 3/4 in. mahogany plywood
    5 Partitions 11-1/8 in. x 10-1/2 in. x 3/4 in. mahogany plywood
    1 Top partition 11-1/8 in. x 10-1/2 in. x 3/4 in. mahogany plywood
    4 Feet 12 in. x 3/8 in. x 13/16 in. solid mahogany
    20 linear ft. Edging 3/8 in. x 3/4 in. solid mahogany
    12 Brass screws #10 x 3/4 in.  

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    How to Make

    Cutting the Sides and Partitions to Size

    click to enlarge

    So here we go! The first step is to cut all the plywood parts.

    Building the Box

    click to enlarge

    1. Cut all the parts to the widths given in the cut list, leaving all the parts about 2 in. too long. The sides for the box are 3/4 in. wider than the partitions because the partitions are inset front and back by as much.

    Making the Feet

    click to enlarge

    2. Mill enough solid-mahogany edging stock to cover the front and back edges of all the parts.

    Making the Partitions

    click to enlargeCut 60-degree angles on the ends of every partition.

    3. Glue and clamp this edging to all these edges and set them aside to dry. It's easiest to leave this edging a little wide and long, so you can trim it flush after the glue has dried. This kind of edging is difficult to align perfectly, so if you leave some extra and it slides a little while being clamped, it will still cover the edges. When these parts are dry, trim all the edging flush with the faces of the plywood.


    click to enlargeCut a complementary 60-degree angle on the ends of the top partition.

    4. First trim the excess off the ends. This can be done very quickly by crosscutting 3/4 in. or so off each end, which should still leave about 1-1/2 in. of extra length.


    click to enlarge

    5. Trim the excess from the sides. The quickest way to accomplish this is with a flush-trimming bit in your router. As long as you haven't left too much extra, you shouldn't have any splintering problems. You could also use a sharp block plane or even a sanding block. Regardless of the method you use, make sure that the edging ends up completely flush and level with the sides. If there is any rounding, it will show where all the parts come together.

    click to enlargeAn auxiliary block angles the top and bottom partitions to cut the corners of one edge at 90 degrees to the 60-degree bevel.

    It's hard to get out of the rut of measuring outside dimensions, but the most important thing to remember for this project is that the inside measurements are what count. I have also given you outside measurements for this wine rack, but these assume that the plywood you are using is exactly 3/4 in. thick. As you may or may not know, 3/4-in. plywood is rarely exactly 3/4 in. and can be as much as 1/16 in. under. If you multiply this by two (the number of sides) , you can make a box with interior dimensions as much as 1/8, in. off, more than enough to throw off the fit of the partitions. Other than that, it's just a box put together with biscuits.

    click to enlargeAs you stack the partitions in the box, the sides will bow a little bit, making it easy to insert the top partition.

    1. Size the sides, top, and bottom for a box with inside dimensions of 33-1/4 in. by 9-5/8 in., factoring in any stock-thickness variations.

    click to enlargeClamp the case sides together at each partition joint, both front and back. The clamping will make the top partition joint snug.

    2. Cut the biscuit slots so that the top and bottom are between the sides when assembled.

    3. Finish-sand the inside faces of the box parts to 150 grit.

    4. Glue, biscuit, and clamp the parts together. Make sure the box is still a true rectangle when clamped up.

    5. When the glue is dry, finish-sand the outside.

    The box has four feet, attached with some brass screws over the plywood edges that show on the top and bottom of the box. Not only will these cover the raw plywood edges, but they also lift the bottom of the box slightly.

    1. Mill four pieces of mahogany 12 in. by 3/8 in. by 13/16 in. for the feet.

    2. Drill three countersunk holes, sized to brass screws at even intervals in each foot.

    This part is not difficult, nor will it take very long, but you must be accurate.

    1. Set the blade on your table saw to 60 degrees.

    2. Set the fence so that each cut will take off about 1/8 in. to 1/4 in. more than you need. This will ensure a splinter-free cut.

    3. Rip a 60-degree angle on one end of all six of the partitions.

    4. Reset the fence to 11-1/8 in., and rip a matching 60-degree angle on the opposite end of the five of the six partitions. The same face of the partition should ride on the table during the cut

    5. Attach an auxiliary fence that sits perfectly flush with the table, and set the fence to cut at 11-1/2 in. This auxiliary fence must lay tight to the table surface. The next cut requires that the long point of the last partition rides on the table and against the fence. You don't want any space under the rip fence under which the point could slip.

    6. Cut a complementary 60-degree angle without a bevel on the end of the last partition.

    7. Make an angle-block carrier to hold the top and bottom partitions at 60 degrees to the sawblade. This allows you to cut the secondary angles that are at 90 degrees to 60-degree angles. A simple block of wood about 18 in. long by 1-3/4 in. high by 2-1/2 in. wide will work fine.

    8. Attach one of the two partitions to this block with some double-sided tape. (Both of these partitions will be cut the same way, with the same exact setup.

    9. With the blade at 90 degrees to the table, set the rip fence 1-15/16 in. away from the blade. Then run the partition through. Repeat the procedure for the other partition.

    Before you glue the partitions in place, do a dry assembly to check the fit.

    1. Stand the box on end.

    2. Starting at the bottom, place the partitions in the box one on top of the other. The accumulating weight of the partitions will spread the sides of the box a little, which is good since it will allow room for the last partition to be inserted. However, it will make it look as though nothing fits right, since the partitions are settling toward the bottom of the box. Don't worry.

    3. Take some clamps and, working from the bottom up, position them front and back across the box at the joint of each partition.

    4. Lightly tighten the clamps as you go until the partitions fill up the space. If all the partitions have been cut correctly, they will lie nicely one on top of the other with all the intersecting joints tight.

    5. Just be sure, check that the box is the same width in the center as it is at the top and at the bottom; also, check the diagonals to be sure it is square.

    6. Once you are satisfied with the fit, remove the partitions and finish-sand them to 150 grit.

    7. Starting at the bottom again, carefully apply a light bead of glue down the center of each end of the first partition and place it in the box. Remember that the partitions are set in 3/8 in. front and back from the edges of the box. Make sure to keep glue away from the last inch or so of the edge at the front and back. This will be plenty of glue to hold things together, and this way it shouldn't make a mess (which otherwise would be very difficult to clean up).

    8. Continue gluing and installing partitions until they are all in. The box should spread a little like before, and you should have no problem getting the top partition in without smearing glue on the inside of the box. If it's tight, just spread the sides a little with your hands and it should be fine.

    9. Clamp it up just as you did during the dry assembly and check for square. That's it!

    This is a very difficult piece to spray finish (or oil for that matter). The compartments created by the partitions make it difficult to get the finish inside. But like an old cabinetmaker I used to know once said, it's also difficult for anyone to see if it's finished in there! So I ended up spraying it the best I could with some satin lacquer. It looks fine-but don't you dare pull out a bottle just to see how well it's finished inside.



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