I have a problem. I love to cook a variety of things, and I keep a wide variety of spices on hand, but my counters are small and my cabinets are ill-proportioned. Every time I need a spice, I have to rummage around through my shelves to find them. I needed a new way to store my spices, and this is what I came up with.

Just after coming up with the idea, I walked into the Techshop wood shop and found a pile of thin plywood scraps in the communal scrap bin. I considered this a sign, and decided to get started right away. The rack is made up of pieces with interlocking slots (half-lap joints) cut on the table saw. There is a backer board behind the spice bottles to keep them from slipping out the back.

I'm quite happy with the concept - the shelf fits perfectly, and the spices are much more organized and accessible than before. Of course, there is one obvious problem - not all the spices have labels on the tops. As a temporary solution, I'm going to put sticker labels on the tops that need them. Then I'm going to make some personalized, re-usable spice jars with labels printed on the tops.

Step 1: Tools and materials

Tools used

  • Table saw * with FTG** (Flat Top Grind) blade OR dado stack
  • Crosscut sled
  • Combination square
  • Grr-ripper - Commercial push block, allows one to safely hold cuts close to the table saw blade
  • Chisel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Clamps
* I used a table saw for speed and accuracy, but I'm sure other saws could work when used with care
**FTG blades have square teeth that leave behind a flat bottom when they cut - kind of like using a dado stack. Other styles of blade can leave behind a "V" shape wedge, which makes the parts harder to fit together.

Material used

  • 3/16" thick plywood
  • Wood glue

The only reason I used 3/16" wood is because I found a pile of 3/16" scrap. This made a bit more work for me, because none of the standard tools available to me cut 3/16" slots for the joints I'm making - so I have to use a 1/8" saw blade and made 2 cuts. If buying new wood, it's probably easier to use 1/8" or 1/4" wood, because standard saw blades, dado stacks and router bits can all make half-lap joints for those widths.

But it all worked out in the endt - the joints are perfectly tight, and I learned a lot by figuring out how to do things the hard way. If anyone has other methods or ideas, please share them below in the comments.

About This Instructable


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Bio: I'm a long time tinkerer and lover of Instructables, but recently I joined Techshop in San Francisco, and decided to really get creative. Right ... More »
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