I was asked to make a spice rack for a friend that I had made a wine rack for previously. She wanted something for her kitchen (cause thats where you use the spices) that matched the stainless steel appliances and the wine rack. I decide to use barn wood and aluminum to get a good contrast between the old wood and the shiny metal.
This is a pretty easy project - I hope you like it!
1 Piece of barn wood, about 7 inches or so wide and minimum 45 inches long
1 Piece of 1/2" plywood, 14.25" x 18"
1 Piece angled aluminum, 2 inches on the sides by about 48 inches (how they sell it)
1 Piece of wood, 4 inches wide by 15 inches long
2 Pieces of wood, 2 inches wide by 15 inches long
glue, black spray paint, spray lacquer, screws, clamps, tin snips
Step 1: Preparing the Wood
I found some old reclaimed boards at a local lumber store (I've also seen them on sale on Craigslist and on the side of the road. Anything will work.) This piece was 7.5" wide and 52 inches long, which allowed me to cut it into 3 pieces, each at 15 inches long. Because the ends of the boards were now raw and bare compared to the rest of the board I used an ebony stain on the ends of the boards to cover up the "new wood" look and keep the weathered look. It depends on what your boards look like, but ebony seems to be the best to use. Apply it and then quickly wipe it off. This is an end grain of the board, so it soaks up the stain like a straw. It will look sloppy, but we will be doing some cleaning up and you want a certain amount of messiness to the board - we're not looking for perfect here.
I had been given a piece of scrap 1/2" plywood from a friend who does bathroom remodels, so I used this board and cut it to 14.25" x 18". This will be the backing for the reclaimed boards to be attached to and to hang on the wall. Much like many of us, these older weathered boards have cracks in them. In order for the cracks of the reclaimed boards to not show the light color of the plywood underneath of them we need to spray paint the plywood black. You don't need to do both sides, but you do need to do the front and the edges (don't forget the edges like I did - otherwise you have to go back and do it later!). Use a flat black spray paint if you have it. If you do not have that, use a gloss black - it won't be the end of the world. We only need one coat, so the plywood will soak it up pretty quickly.
Step 2: Glue the Reclaimed Boards Onto the Plywood
This is exactly exactly what it sounds like! Because the boards are 7.5" high, and the board I used was 18" tall, I cut 3.5" off the height (NOT length) of one of the boards to obtain a final height of 19" overall when all 3 are pushed together. Arrange the boards onto the plywood and figure out the best order of the woods and then glue them on. I like Titebond types of glues, but Gorilla glue works as well. This does not need to be perfect, but the goal is for the boards to overlap the edges of the plywood, making it look as if were floating on the wall.
Once you have the wood glued up make sure to clamp it onto the plywood to dry - use another board to spread out the pressure from the clamps. The boards will probably creak, and potentially crack, but the glue should hold down whatever is clamped and will give a flatter surface to use for the shelves.
Once the glue is dried take the clamps off and lightly sand the board to take off any splinters. Go over the corners of the cut ends to make sure some of the shard edges will be smoother. I also like to use a stiff brush to clean out the dirt off the boards and out of the wood grain. Vacuum the board to get up any left over dust or other loose pieces.
After that you should spray a few coats of lacquer on the reclaimed boards in order to start getting a good, consistent, coat on it and fix any of the other loose pieces. I use Minwax spray lacquer because you can direct the spray much better than some other types and it doesn't clump when it comes out. (spray this outdoors - never spray lacquer inside!! Addendum - feel free to spray inside if you have proper ventilation and a mask.). I like to use a gloss lacquer because I want a light shine on it, but satin or semi-gloss will do.
Step 3: Make the Shelves
There are 3 shelves, each with a piece of aluminum that is 2" on each side. I used an angled piece of aluminum that I purchased from HD. I cut these into sections that were each 14.25" long using my sawzall, but a metal cutting handsaw will work just as well. I used the first piece I cut as the template for the next 2, and after I was done i placed all 3 together to make sure they were even. I used my random orbit sander, and 150 grit sandpaper, to flatten the ends, smooth out the rough portions, and get some detail on the side that will be the front. Two of the shelves (the 2 inch wide ones) will need to have the non-front face cut down by 1". I used tin snips, but it was not an easy process.
The shelves were made of one inch thick butternut, but any wood will work - I would recommend at least 3/4" thickness (which is the thickness of wood found at HD or L's). Cut all 3 of them to 14.25" length and then cut 2 of them to 2.25" width.
Easy part - I used my table saw to cut a groove for the metal of the shelves to fit into. On the thinner shelves it is one inch deep and runs the length of the board. The thicker shelf has the groove cut to 2 inches (and you don't have to trim to width of the aluminum). Once that is done you can insert the aluminum shelves into the grooves and spray the shelves with Lacquer (again -- OUTSIDE!!).
OPTIONAL!! PRE-Lacquer spraying - I added special nails to the sides to prevent spice bottles from falling out of the sides. The specialty nails are hard to come by, so I think the best option is grab 1/4" wood dowels from the big box story of your choice - cut to 2 inches length. Using a drill bit that is rated for both metal and wood (most of them are) drill down into the shelf at 1/2" in from the ends and 1 inch from the back on the smaller shelves and 2 inches from the back in the bigger one. The drill bit should go through both the wood and the metal. I used a drill press, but a hand drill will work too - just hold it upright (you can use 2 boards together in a V shape and use that as a guide). Clean up the hole and insert the cut dowels into the hole. This will lock the aluminum into place and prevent spices from falling off the sides when you take out others.
Step 4: Adding the Shelves
On the back of the plywood, with the reclaimed boards attached, draw straight lines starting at 1 inch up from the bottom, 6 inches up from that one, and another 6 from that one. Pre-drill holes along those lines - I used 3 holes per small shelf and 4 for the larger shelf, but you are welcome to use more if it makes you happy (Note the presence of an extra set of lines - those were my first try and I did not allow enough space for the spice bottles). Also, at this point make sure that you decide how you will hang the shelf. I used D-Hangers and a forestner bit to cut out space for the screws on the wall to hold onto the hangers.
After that I put the shelves on the front of the rack. I used my glue on the back of the shelf and clamped the boards straight, with the middle of the wood shelf placed over the pre-drilled holes (those holes are handy!). Next, place screws into the pre-drilled holes and drill into the shelves. I used Kreg pocket screws at 1.5" because they have a washer-type head that allows you to screw into the wood and not get drilled into the wood. V-neck screws will go into the wood and could be pulled out through the front, but I'm not your father, so I can't tell you what to do. Repeat this for each shelf.
I added a piece of furniture foot felt to each corner in order to prevent the screw heads from scratching the walls
Step 5: Finished!
And, thats it. You are done. You might want to spray the entire rack with some lacquer in order to ensure that the entire thing has been properly protected, but it is not really necessary. Hang your spice rack onto the wall and fill it with your spices. The larger bottom rack is for your larger bottles and the thinner top ones are for the smaller ones.
Have fun and, if you use the spices to make a hardy and delicious meal, don't forget to invite me! :)
If you like this, also please feel free to vote it up in the reclaimed wood contest! Thanks!