Wine Rack model...

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Project by Chip posted 03-22-2007 05:30 PM 6679 views 17 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m doing a wine cellar for someone and since it means building 6 units I built this model to show the client. Even though it took a couple of days to make, I have to admit it really helped sell the idea for the pieces and helped me work out the production steps.

It also really drew the client into the project and got the couple really excited. They made modifications – they wanted each unit to hold more bottles then I designed – which was more then fine. They also kept the model (I met with them last week) and they showed it to friends, which has led to two more calls about doing the same pieces for these other couples, allowing me to do a larger production run… and make more money for much less work.

I know I heard from many of you that models and mockups take too much time but in this case the time and energy it created seems to have been really worth the effort. And it was actually kinda enjoyable to make too.

The model is 18” high, 9” wide and 2 1/2” deep (1/4 scale). The wood is walnut and maple.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

31 comments so far

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 5613 days

#1 posted 03-22-2007 05:33 PM

Wow, a great looking piece, and you did it in only a few days? Amazing. I like the contrasting walnut and maple. Great job Chip.

Sounds like you could go into the wine rack business.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Max's profile


55998 posts in 5725 days

#2 posted 03-22-2007 05:38 PM

That is a really nice design. I really like the combination of woods and the through tennons..

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5545 days

#3 posted 03-22-2007 05:39 PM

Well, the thinking and designing part took more then a few days Bill, but the model making part wasn’t bad at all… no lugging around, cutting, routing big boards and stuff. You know how that adds to the time.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5613 days

#4 posted 03-22-2007 06:06 PM

and that’s “just” a model?
Pretty nice = nice idea; nice design; GREAT promotion!!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5670 days

#5 posted 03-22-2007 06:26 PM

Very pretty! Do you plan on using solid walnut in the full-scale version? Your clients must REALLY like their wine.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5552 days

#6 posted 03-22-2007 06:38 PM


That is a fantastic design. I have found that the models help immensely, for both the customer and myself. They typically can’t visualize how nice it will be, and for myself it hashes out proportion and production details. This aids in an accurate bid.

The 1/4 scale is great to work with. The math is easy and the parts don’t get too small for most things.

You may want to consider attaching it to the wall for safety, if you have not already done so.

Once again, fantastic design, that is the hardest part of woodworking.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5545 days

#7 posted 03-22-2007 06:40 PM

Solid 10”+ wide walnut boards are basically impossible to find right now (They are difficult to find even in the best of times). Even if I could find a couple, I would never find enough for these jobs. I understand from several mills I deal with that China has been buying up walnut for stuff they’re building for the Olympics. Has anyone else heard this? Anyway, yes I’m using walnut but, unlike the model, it will be glued up boards.

By the way, the top and bottom horizontal front panels (the bottom one has the arch) will be doweled with contrasting maple dowels, something I forgot to do in my haste to complete the model.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View fred's profile


256 posts in 5550 days

#8 posted 03-22-2007 08:18 PM

Great details.

This will truly be a fine furniture wine rack.

My brother lives in Napa California and is in the wine business. I have seen many private and public wine cellars and I have not seen a wine rack better looking than your model.

Good luck.

-- Fred Childs, Pasadena, CA - - - Law of the Workshop: Any tool, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 5540 days

#9 posted 03-23-2007 12:45 AM

Glued up boards? Nice.
Veneered MDF may be nicer and less expensive and better choice of grain?
Just a thought.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5545 days

#10 posted 03-23-2007 02:13 AM

Interesting thought Lee. I’d be curious to see examples of box joints and through tenons with veneer and MDF. Or perhaps you are suggesting jettisoning those elements of the pieces? Also I would be concerned about doweling into the edge of MDF. These will be in a cool, damp place too (think cellar). Would the MDF and veneer hold up well in those conditions?

I’ve had pretty good experience with matching grain if you take your time picking the boards, matching edges and are willing to waste more wood then usual (left over walnut is never left over in my shop).

Anyway, thanks for the comments. Let me know your thoughts.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5779 days

#11 posted 03-23-2007 03:26 AM

Very nice… I’ll bet you’re glad you did that mock up… I wonder if it’s the right size for those mini wine bottles you can get in 4 packs! Probably too big for a “mini-bar”

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View CharlieM1958's profile


16292 posts in 5670 days

#12 posted 03-23-2007 07:39 PM

I don’t even concern myself much with matching grain on glue ups. I consider a well-made joint with a contrast between boards a design feature!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 5629 days

#13 posted 04-11-2007 11:04 PM

Chip, I like this design a lot. It reminds me somewhat of a wine rack that I posted some time ago.

I note in your design that you have three cross pieces. I’m assuming that the rear piece without the bottle contours is a stop to prevent the bottles from being pushed too far to the rear of the rack. Does this indicate that the rack will be free standing rather than be inserted in a cupboard?

Also, I see that you have made one row of the contours larger than the other. Why? If both were the same, the bottle would sit with a slight slant towards the neck of the bottle, but it wouldn’t be in danger of falling out. It seems to me that it would simpler to make all of the contoured bottle rails the same.

As I said, I like the design, Im just curious about the thinking behind it.

Keep on posting these fine projects, Chip.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 5545 days

#14 posted 04-12-2007 03:00 AM

Don, – Yep, the back piece is there to keep the bottles from slipping out. The customer wanted them as freestanding units around the walls of his wine cellar and to be able to take them with them if they downsize house in the future.

The client was a real stickler for keeping the bottles exactly level to the ground for some reason. Everything I had read during research indicated they should have a slight downward slant towards the top of the bottle (for the yeast sediment to settle I believe). Go figure. I wish I could make all of the rails the same. Would make life much easier for me.

Also, as mentioned, each shelf was changed to accommodate more bottles (12 bottles per row instead of 6) and the shelves were brought closer together and now there are nine instead of six. We tightened everything up considerably from what the model shows to take as much advantage of their space as possible.

I’m thinking maybe making these models first isn’t such a good idea after all! LOL. Seriously though, it did help work out the kinks to the customers satisfaction and I guess that’s what it’s all about. Very much appreciate your taking the time to look and comment. Thanks.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View Dollarbill's profile


91 posts in 5590 days

#15 posted 04-12-2007 05:06 AM

Chip, Beautiful Job. I think it would be wise to glue up panels in stead of trying to find a solid peice of walnut 10” wide.

A couple of years ago I built a book case for my neice in Texas and I used Spanish oak 10” wide for the side panels, top, bottom and shelves. BIG mistake. After it was moved form my shop in LA to TX the 10” wide boards started to warp and twist.

If I were to be building the same project that you are, I would build the panels from 3-3 and 1/2” boards glued cup up, cup down, cup up and then cut to size.

The difference of moving the project from LA to TX is probably not as great as your shop to a wine celler.

As far as using MDYuck, forget it. I just finished my first job with MDF and I will never try to mill it again. It is great to work with and mills down smoother than any wood I have ever used but the dust is not like sawdust it is more like baby powder. It has covered my whole shop (and yes I have a good central vaccumn system and used it along with a fan and doors open). It will take me 50 years to clean my shop and probably another 50 to clean my lungs. Plus when I put the first coat of primer on it, it looked like it had a 4 day beard growth on it after it dried (this should tell you what damp air might do).

Good luck and let us see the finished product.


-- Make Dust

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