Wine bottles come in all different shapes and sizes and it wasn’t until I did the research for this project that I learned that every bottle size corresponds to a specific type of wine. They range from Split bottles at 6 oz. all the way to Jeroboam bottles at 3 liters. So the first question to ask yourself before you design your wine rack is, what kind of wine do you drink? I found this website that shows you various kinds of wine and the width of the bottle base.
I also found this website that was a little less in depth but covered bottle lengths.
My goal was to cover as wide of a range as possible without getting into the really large bottles. This ended up with me settling on 3 ½” holes for the rack. This includes everything up to a large pinot bottle.
Once you’ve decided on size, it’s time to pick out wood. Hardwood will last you longest, but softwood is easier to work with. I used maple, which was certainly challenging though not impossible.
Using a miter saw cut your wood to size. The specifics of this will depend on your design. If you’re following our pattern exactly cut two lengths at 28”. This will give you six holes with about an inch between each one. Cut five squares at 5 ½” by 5 ½” for the ends and bottom.
Next measure for the holes: with 3 ½” holes and one inch gaps I figured it would be easy to mark up, but the hole saw isn’t exactly 3 ½”. After a few failed attempts at getting the holes even I found that the most surefire way to line up the holes was to first measure the width of the boards and mark the halfway point (that is 2 ¾”) on either end. Making a line between these two points I marked the width of the circles and the one-inch gaps, but I also measured the center of each circle for the positioning of the hole saw. This ensured that even though the gaps weren’t exactly an inch, they were all equidistant. If you do the math on paper you only need to mark for the center of the circles. That being said here’s that math I already did for you: 2 ¾”, 7 ¼”, 11 ¾”, 16 ¼”, 20 ¾”, 25 ¼”.
Now that the circles are marked you’re ready to drill the holes. Clamp one of the longer pieces to your workbench your table (you’re going to want a very sturdy surface for this). Attach the hole saw to the arbor and insert in your drill. Arbors come in a couple different sizes, so make sure that yours is big enough to fit a 3 ½” hole saw. The drill also must be large enough to host the arbor; you will need at least a ½” drill.
Position the middle drill on your pencil marking and begin drilling. Now drilling with a hole saw is different from drilling normally, and the bigger the hole the more challenging it is. If you have never done this before (or not with a hole this big) I would highly recommend testing it out on a scrap piece of softwood first. It’s really something that you have to get a feel for.
Drilling with a hole saw is something that you make think takes a lot of strength, and while it does involve some elbow grease, its not as much as you might expect. Much like pulling apart a pallet with a crowbar you can either do 90% of the work yourself, or you can do 10% and let the tool do the rest. In this case I found I wasn’t strong enough to pull off doing 90% and so I was forced to let the drill do the work, which is best anyways. So the key is to have a firm, but light touch.
Pressure you put on the hole saw will cause it to catch and cause your drill to kick. The harder the wood the harder it will catch and kick. Keep your grip firm to protect against kicking, keep the drill on a high speed, but let the weight of the drill and the momentum of the saw be enough to push through the wood. It will be much more pleasant. You can also tuck the drill into your body to protect your wrist. I didn’t do this in the beginning and you may notice the wrist brace I’m wearing in the pictures. Make sure that you’re careful to protect yourself, and if you don’t feel comfortable grab a skilled friend or family member to help you out!
If you are drilling through maple or another hard wood like it don’t try to make all the holes with one hole saw. The density of the wood will dull the blade and cause problems. I got through six holes just fine and then tweaked my wrist on the seventh. I would definitely recommend switching blades halfway through! If you’re dealing with a softer wood this may not be a problem, but be aware of when it becomes more difficult drill and starts catching more.
When all the holes are drilled, congratulate yourself! That’s the most challenging part of the project and you just succeeded. It’s time to take a break and sand. We started with a 150 grit for the edges of the holes and then switched to 220 to go over all the edges and the face.
Now it’s time to assemble your wine rack. Lay out the five pieces for the bottom and sides on their ends and position the face of the wine rack on top. With a 3/32” drill bit predrill two holes through the face and into opposite ends of each square. Secure in place with the finish screws. To keep all the edges tight you may want to place some screws as you drill. It’s a pain switching bits over and over again, but it does make it easier, and it comes in handy especially with the hard maple. Turn the rack over and repeat this step on the opposite side.
Last step to make this wine rack absolutely stunning: stain. Lay out a drop cloth or newspapers to protect the surface you’ll be staining on. Following the directions on the can mix the stain and begin to apply to the rack following the grain of the wood. Wipe as needed and allow to dry. If you want to protect the rack and add a little sheen you can apply a polyurethane coating after 24 hours.
Your wine rack is complete! Time to sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy it.