Wine Rack Expedition #1: Planning process

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Blog entry by Demowen posted 03-20-2009 06:14 AM 4556 reads 2 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Wine Rack Expedition series Part 2: Rough Milling and setting up for detail »

Well folks, this is the first time I’ve ever attempted to document any project that I’ve done, so, hold onto your hats and hopefully I won’t make any major mistakes! I’ll attempt to bring you through the stages of my project with me!!

Dreaming Stage / Research Stage
My brother’s wedding is coming up in about mid-May and I decided that I wanted to make a small (but tall) wine rack for him and his newlywed. I did some reconnaissance work and found out that his favorite wood is cherry, and I shall thusly use that as my main wood. I started the whole process scanning the web and, of course, Lumberjocks for some inspiration.

Two pieces have stood out to me for the majority of the project,

Cherry Wine Rack from drumpriest
By drumpriest and…
Mission Wine Rack
By Pheirendt

The first image was the piece that inspired me to do a wine rack in the first place. I love the fact that it will fit in a small apartment and still hold a ton of character. The second, I feel, simplifies the design process (in my own head) since I don’t have to fool with a cabinet door or anything of that sort. With the designs examined, (and believe me, I looked at a ton of others!) It was time to move on into what I call, the napkin stage.

The napkin stage is basically the first step in moving from inspiration to application. It’s where you scrounge around for the nearest writable surface and spill your thoughts onto it. This really helps you conceptualize the fist little budding of your own project. As you draw it, you may realize that it looks completely stupid. Don’t Worry! Just sketch it up again. This is where you put your own personal flare into the project and go crazy! I also marked the pieces with letters representing the woods I was planning on using (cherry and maple).

Napkin Sketch

After you feel competent enough with your sketch up- its time for another sketch up! I downloaded Google Sketch Up for free and it seems to do the trick of getting all the dimensions ironed out. Plus it just looks cool.
This is also the stage of the project where I get the wine bottles out and gather some critical dimensions to make the whole thing work. There are a few details left out, but only the ones that I need to figure out later.

Sketch Up Drawing

One of the great things about putting it on the computer is, I can easily log this away and bring it up later if I ever need to make another one. Instead of jamming those napkins into my project folder, I’ll put a copy of the Sketch up model, cut list and basic procedures into one little section.

Cut List Stage
Speaking of cut lists, I moved all the pieces around so I could more easily wrap my head around the material needs of the project.
Parts List

After the fact, I would recommend putting the dimensions somewhere on the sketch up image so that you don’t have to piddle around with drawing them on later. I can’t remember why I didn’t, but there was a reason. I enjoyed the piddling on my lunch break though.

So I took the parts list and drew up my best figuring of what amount of lumber I would get in order to have minimal cut off waste (but not too little ;) !! ) This stage is absolutely essential to the final look of the piece since you might want to have pieces match.
For example: The actual racks of my wine rack will be four pieces (2 sides, one front and back). I want the front three pieces to wrap around and have the same grain. I also don’t want to use too many separate boards because I want to have a pretty uniform color throughout.

Cut List one
Cut list 2

If you can make sense of all that- Good for you!! I was lucky to understand it myself. The important thing is to understand it for yourself. I feel like I should note that I didn’t know what length of board I could get at the planing mill when I drew up the plans, so some of this has to be rigged on site at the mill. I have since found out that most of the boards are in the area of 8’ long.

Wood Selection Stage
Now, you can’t see it from my sketch up model, but I played around with a few different contrasting woods to get to what I wanted. I decided early on that I wanted to pair some curly maple ($3 a b.f. at my place) with some cherry. When I got there I saw the last bits of spalted maple go out with another customer. I loved it! I asked the fella what the cost on that was and when it would be back in… he roughly quoted me a price of $2.75 per B.f.!!! I’m still waiting for him to get more in.
8/4 Cherry board
I spent a pretty penny on an 8/4 board of Cherry but I think it will be worth it to have solid, uniform legs on this piece, no laminations. The board is there behind the vacuum.
lumber awaiting final dims

Milling Stage
I milled down everything but the legs to a smooth dimension. I’ll come back later and plane it down to finished dimensions later. What I wish I would have taken a picture of is how I marked the lumber for cutting. When the board was rough I drew on it with a piece of chalk so that I knew how I could cut it down to a manageable size to work with. If you want info on how to mill stuff down, check out – Check out the basics videos.

Potential Top

Piecing Stage
For lack of a better term, this is the stage where you start putting crap together. I put to parts together for the top of the wine rack. I doweled these two pieces together. I took a long time just trying to find the best way to put the two together so no one would even notice (later) that they were two pieces. You can see some mill marks on there that I have to remove with my card scraper. I wanted to get this done and out of here first so the lady can do her designing magic. (She is helping with $ and some planning/work for my brother’s wedding) I’m figuring on doing an inlay on the top of some grapevines with some woodburning. I asked her to draw something and this is what she gave me!...

Inlay plan

Cool huh? I’ve never really done any big time inlays like this so, it should be interesting…

Thats about it for now!! Upcoming might be another trip to the mill to get the spalted maple and snap some photos of the place (if they let me) and working that massive board into legs!

What do you all think? Any design comments or suggestions? Lay it on me!

-- Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands- establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

4 comments so far

View Ampeater's profile


441 posts in 4262 days

#1 posted 03-20-2009 04:50 PM

What an awesome wedding present. I am sure they will love it. I am looking forward to your next blog. That inlay should look beautiful.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View Demowen's profile


121 posts in 3912 days

#2 posted 03-20-2009 06:54 PM

Thanks Ampeater!

-- Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands- establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

View Vicki's profile


1118 posts in 3859 days

#3 posted 03-31-2009 05:34 PM

You are doing a fantastic job and I am enjoying your blog. It’s neat to ‘watch’ someone else build something. Thanks for taking the extra time to do the documentation.

Just my 2 cents….......I love the top rack with the grapes on the doors, but not the metal glasses holder on it. I think the wooden glass rack on the bottom one looks better.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View Demowen's profile


121 posts in 3912 days

#4 posted 04-01-2009 05:41 AM

I thought the same exact thing, I am trying to merge a grapevine inlay on the tabletop and use the wine glass holder of the mission style one. See my new blog (coming soon tonight) to get an idea of the finished result.

-- Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands- establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17

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