Can you advise me on making a wine rack?
December 8, 2011 3:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to make a wine rack. Do you have any advice?

My girlfriend and I are going to (attempt to) make a wine rack to hold her father's posh bottles of wine. We've obviously never done anything like this before, I'm fairly handy with a drill and wood. Do you have any advice or dos/don'ts?

The kind of thing we are going for is...
posted by stackhaus23 to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Measure twice, cut once.
posted by Specklet at 3:02 PM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Are you using plans or just eyeballing it?

The racks like this I've seen up close have a extremely slight upward tilt to the hole on the bottle side, so even if it's not mounted perfectly straight, you shouldn't have any problems with the bottles staying in.
posted by chrisfromthelc at 3:14 PM on December 8, 2011

Remember why wine bottles were stored in the way they were traditionally. It's about the cork and about the sedimentation. If the (natural) cork is not constantly exposed to the wine, it will dry out and admit oxygen and ruin your wine. So, make sure that the bottle lies in such a way that the wine completely covers the cork. Now, this is no longer true with the advent of plastic corks, but if the collection is "posh", I suspect it has a lot of wine that has natural cork. The other aspect of it is that you don't want to have the bottle lie too far into the cork (extreme case: upside down) - because even though at that point the wine certainly covers the entire cork, all the sediment will accumulate around the cork, and when you open the wine, you'll get the sediment. And since the collection is "posh", again, odds are high that many will have quite a bit of sedimentation. That's why you want to place the bottle in such a way that it covers the cork, yet is angled for the bottom to be slightly below level, allowing all sediments to gently float down - when you open a wine like that, you can pour it out carefully and avoid the sediment. Bottom line, the top of the bottle should be slightly higher than level, but with the entire cork covered.
posted by VikingSword at 3:54 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Try browsing LumberJocks for ideas. Some projects cite plans that you could look up, while others have comment threads that discuss how projects were made, while others could just give you ideas for aesthetics.
posted by illenion at 3:58 PM on December 8, 2011

If these bottles of his really are posh I might double check that he'd want to display them in this way. I don't have a ton of wine, but I have the start of a decent cellar and as much as I enjoy seeing some of the labels and remembering why I got them and look forward to drinking them I would never display them in a rack like that, lovely as it may be.

My bottles are in the little basement cellar I've set up... in a cool space away from light and vibration as well as temperature fluctuation.

I think the idea is lovely though and I hope I'm wrong.
posted by FlamingBore at 3:58 PM on December 8, 2011

One of the most important parts of any woodworking project is selecting the wood. I'd advise using some kind of softwood (pine); harder woods like oak are much more difficult to work with and almost always more expensive. Select wood that is straight, has an even grain, and is free from cracks and large knots.

If you want the same kind of rough-hewn texture that the pictures show, you'll want what's usually called "rough cut" lumber. This is lumber that has been cut roughly (as the name implies), and not milled down to one of the final standard lumber sizes.

Plan out what you want the final product to look like before you cut anything. I recommend making a scale drawing, or at least a careful sketch; it doesn't have to be anything fancy, but it will help you plan out the steps of the project.

Measure and mark all cuts carefully, and take the time to measure twice. I usually measure and mark a piece once at the workbench, measure again at the saw just before I cut, and then measure again after I cut it, to make sure it came out the way I wanted.

Use a hole saw to cut the holes. Use a drill press if you have access to one; otherwise use the highest power hand drill you can lay your hands on. Avoid drilling through knots; they're much harder than the surrounding wood. Clamp the wood securely to your work surface for safety and to make a cleaner, more precise hole. Be patient, and don't try to force it; more pressure won't necessarily make it cut faster. The work may start to get hot from friction; if this happens, just pull the saw out of the wood, take a break, and make sure you're not hitting a knot, a nail, or other obstruction.

When you're attaching it to the wall, make sure you attach it to a stud, and not just the drywall panel. Drywall won't hold anything heavier than a picture frame.

Finally, please be safe. Wear safety glasses when working with power tools. When you're cutting, check, double check, and triple check that your hands and are well clear of the blade, and that assistants and bystanders are well clear. Power saws can bind and throw wood with extreme force. Hole saws, too, have a tendency to bind in the hole, which can tear the drill right out of your hands, or cause the wood to start spinning with the bit; this is one reason it's important to clamp the wood securely in place. Take everything slowly and methodically; a lot of accidents are caused by rushing, or not paying attention to what you're doing. If you choose to stain the wood, be aware that many stains are flammable, give off harmful vapors, and should be kept away from bare skin.

Dire warnings aside, this looks like a great beginner project. Making stuff yourself is lots of fun, and much more rewarding than buying something from a store. Have fun, and let us know how it comes out!
posted by Commander Rachek at 4:21 PM on December 8, 2011

Size and account for the Widest of bottles side by side. Usually the widest bottles are either champagne or burgundy (Pinot Noir) bottles.

I've had racks without enough width and height for all bottles.
posted by bitdamaged at 5:50 PM on December 8, 2011

Dittoing the thing about the angle of the holes. You can really see in this picture (imgur mirror) that they're on an angle. Getting that angle consistent will be important for the look of the end result. It'll also take some trial and error if you don't have plans, because the angle of the hole is going to be steeper than the angle of the bottle. Should be easy to build a jig to hold the piece at an angle so that you can drill straight down.

One step beyond rough cut lumber for that rough look is reclaimed lumber.
posted by mendel at 6:55 PM on December 8, 2011

Thats really not the best way to store wine long term. at least they are horizontal, but being out in the open like that they are going to be exposed to greater temperature fluctuations.
posted by mary8nne at 2:28 AM on December 9, 2011

If you don't have a drill press, get a drill guide like this so you can make all the holes at a consistent angle. Clamp the board down and put a piece of scrap underneath that you can drill into so that you don't tear out the wood fibers at the back end of the hole.
posted by echo target at 11:28 AM on December 9, 2011

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