Introduction: The Pallet Wine Rack

Picture of The Pallet Wine Rack

I don't like wine, which is most likely due to my unsophisticated palate, and I'm ok with that. I also don't like working with pallets, but I acquire five of them every winter since I burn wood pellets.

The Warden likes wine and wants a pallet wine rack ... even without the picture and title above, I'm sure you can predict how this is going to end up.

A majority of the images I found online were the pallet as is, with a section added to the bottom for the glasses. I wanted a cleaner design ... I needed to start from scratch.

Step 1: Dissecting the Pallet

Picture of Dissecting the Pallet

There are several different methods or schools of thought when it comes to the harvesting of pallets. I personally have a short pallet attention span and don't like dealing with all the nails, so I cut the sides free using either a circular saw or reciprocating saw. It only takes one nail to damage circular saw blade, so I went with the reciprocating saw ... I have no regard for those blades.

Once the sides are free, I just use a hammer and pry bar to liberate the board from the middle support. I back the nails out with a hammer and then remove them using concrete nippers ... because they are great and removing nails and they are mine, so I can use them how I choose.

Step 2: Rough Milling the Parts

Picture of Rough Milling the Parts

Any boards with missing sections, were ripped to their largest possible width on the table saw. Bad sections were removed and parts cut to length using the miter saw. Be mindful of any broken off nails hiding in the board, which might wreak havok on your saw blades and endanger your life.

The sides of the wine rack are made from the pallet stringers. Using a table saw sled for safety, I cut a dadeo into each side, which will accept the internal shelf. I cut mine about 1/2" deep and just snuck up on the width until my desired board fit.

Step 3: Fabricating the Glass Rack

Picture of Fabricating the Glass Rack

After marking the center of my board, I laid out the hole spacing along the length by eye, using actual wine glasses ... then my OCD took over and I made the spacing match with the aid of a tape measure. A 3/4" hole was drilled at each location ... you guessed it ... Forstner bit.

I extended my lines to one edge using a combination square, and then cut out the material using the bandsaw.

Depending on your glasses, these holes/slots might have to be larger/wider.

Step 4: The Beer Opener

Picture of The Beer Opener

I like beer ... so this thing is getting my $0.05 bottle opener. 1 1/2" Forstner for the bottle hole, 1 1/4" hole for the washer, a washer, and a screw - simple.

Step 5: Assembly

Picture of Assembly

Since I was designing on the fly, I didn't cut any final lengths until I was ready to assemble. I used an empty bottle to determine a height by eye. I wanted the top of the stringer to flair back out in order to support a top shelf. Some designs leave the top open, but I wanted a shelf.

The bottle I had was 3" in diameter. I wanted room for 4 bottles, so I went with a 13" internal dimension, which determined the lengths of the captive shelf, the glass rack, and all off the slats. Depending on the depth of your dadoes and width of the stringers, your measurements might differ. I have listed my dimensions at the end of this instructable.

Assembly is done with glue and brad nails. Insert the captive shelf, attach the glass rack to the bottom, attach slats on front and back, attach top. I notched my bottom slat around the space for the wine glass bases because I liked that look, but it isn't necessary.

This project is very scalable. I made a 4 bottle and an 8 bottle version.

Step 6: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

For finish, I went with one coat of 50/50 boiled linseed oil/mineral spirits. Once dry, I installed my bottle opener.

Step 7: Glamour Shots

Picture of Glamour Shots

This isn't going in my house, so I hung it up in my workshop for the glamour shots. The shelf probably won't be used for a drill, but it should be!

Top: 5" x 18"
Sides: Length of 16"
Shelf: Width of your sides x 13" + depth of your dadoes
Front and Back Slats: Varied widths x 16 1/8"
Glass Holder: Width to match your sides x 16 1/8"
Glass Holder Holes: 3/4" Forstner bit. 3 1/8" and 6 5/16" in from each end.


davidbetz106 made it! (author)2017-07-02

Great design. Thanks for the great idea!

ChiGuy14 made it! (author)2016-05-16

Thanks for this 'ible--a simple, clean effective design. The bottle opener is quite clever.

Below are a few pics of the version that I made as a raffle prize for a local 5K charity race. The pallet had some nice rough machining marks that I tried to preserve by sanding as little as possible. It was finished with four coats of a wiping finish made with equal parts of spar varnish, stain, tung oil and turpentine.

-BALES- (author)ChiGuy142016-05-16

WOW! That is sweet looking!! I agree, the grain and milling marks really add to the look. I also like that you inset the bottom between the sides for a cleaner look than mine. The pegs/plugs look cool as well.

I've used that opener design on a coaster set, a wooden beer tote, and a work bench. I like the simplicity and the way it sits flush instead of the store bought bulky things.

How popular was it? Did the winner like it?

ChiGuy14 (author)-BALES-2016-05-16

Thanks for the kind words, -BALES-. I figured that while I was cutting the dado for the shelf, I might as well cut one for the bottom. It does clean up the look.

Regarding the wood plugs, it's a matter of preference, but I really don't like the look of exposed screws on projects like this. So I countersunk the holes so the screws were seated about 1/4" below the surface. I cut the plugs from a pallet board remnant so the grain would match closer.

The rack hasn't been raffled yet since the race is this weekend (May 21, 2016). However, there were a number of positive comments to these pictures when they were posted to the event's Facebook page last week.

petercd (author)2015-01-10

Are you standing the wine bottles upright (dry cork) :(

or did you drill holes for the bottle neck?

-BALES- (author)petercd2015-01-13

This style stores the bottles upright for whatever reason. You'll find tons of examples online and this is what the Warden wanted.

petercd (author)-BALES-2015-01-13

Ok, I was under the impression that the corks were sposed to be kept wet, but as you said, tons of pics on google with the bottle in the upright position, thanks

schnurrbart (author)petercd2015-02-27

Just to follow up on this, it can take a while (a couple of months or more) for a cork to dry out with a bottle standing upright. Often this is because of a fault within the cork, in which case it won't matter if the bottle is on its side or its end. And with many bottles using synthetic corks or screw tops these days, you don't have to worry about this unless it's a nice wine that you don't plan on drinking any time soon.

schnurrbart made it! (author)2015-02-27

Very nice, straight-forward design. I added a little colored white-wash stain to make a couple of the pallet boards stand out and match the room. Thanks for the inspiration!

chadleivan made it! (author)2015-02-19

looks great. had fun doing it with my sons

ammazzadraghi (author)2015-01-13

very nice

itobor2525 (author)2015-01-10

Great project idea! You don't like wine or working w/pallets but you made 2 wine racks? I hope that the 'Warden' rewards you exceptionally well for you labors!! Love the opener on the side.

WillC2 (author)2015-01-09

You had me up to the point where I had to buy a milling machine!

-BALES- (author)WillC22015-01-09

Probably a poor terminology choice on my part. I just cleaned up edges and cut out bad sections on the table saw and miter saw. I do wish I had a mill though .. that would be sweet.

peppypickle (author)2015-01-08

this is quite possibly one of the best Instructables I've ever seen! Great use of a pallet and awesome job on building a beautiful wine rack!

About This Instructable




Bio: Desktop Support Technician by day. Rock Drummer by night. DIY Home Improvement Enthusiast. Maker of whatever I can imagine in between it all. Professional level ... More »
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