Introduction: Apres Ski Wine Bottle Holder
We've all seen the floating wine bottle holders; the holder sits on an angle and holds the bottle parallel to the table. The bottle is the counterweight to the holder keeping everything balanced. What I'd never seen is them made with skis.
Old skis are everywhere. What better than to re-purpose them into a beautiful gift or accessory. Your actual working time is less than an hour, but because it takes several steps, you'll need to spread it out over a few days.
The bulk of the time is finishing time on the skis, cleaning the edges and sanding and varnishing the faces. If you're just looking for function, you could knock one of these out in probably 15 minutes work time, but the finish time is well worth it.
Note: I've tested this with different wine bottle shapes and sparkling wine / champagne bottles and it works for all of them. However, once the bottle is open and is not full, it won't balance because the center of gravity has changed.
- Angle grinder or other way to cut your skis (including the metal edges).
- Table saw
- Drill/ drill press
- 1 1/2 inch hole saw
- Safety gear, glasses, dust mask, gloves
- Skis (duh!)
- Hard wood such as oak or maple
- 3/4" #8 screws (I used pan head but you could use flathead)
- #8 finish washers (optional, but gives a nice look)
- Wet /dry sandpaper 400-3000 grit
- Gorilla glue clear (non-expanding) or other adhesive
- Spray on spar varnish
- Painter's tape
Step 1: Safety Stuff
This project involves using dangerous tools like angle grinders and table saw, so be careful and come out of it with all of your digits.
It also involves cutting skis which could be made of a lot of different things including wood, plastic, metal and fiberglass. Wear your eye protection, dust mask and ear protection.
You know you should, so just do it.
Step 2: Drill the Hole for the Wine Bottle
Wearing your safety gear, get ready to drill.
Because the length of the holder is going to depend on where you've drilled your hole, we're going to start with drilling the 1 1/2 inch hold in the tip of the ski. (Alternately, figure out where you'd like to cut and measure 8" toward the tip. That will be on center measurement.)
Try to center the hole left to right and not be more than 4-6 inches from the tip of the ski. Further than this may throw off the balance in your wine holder.
I used a hole saw and a drill press. This could be done with a hand drill. I would do a test cut elsewhere on the ski if you were going to use a spade bit or other type of drill bit.
Depending on the age of your ski, drilling could be easy or very difficult. Some skis are basically all plastic, while others are wood core and even layers of sheet metal.You'll know pretty quickly. If you do find there's a layer of metal inside the ski, you can try to drill through it or find a different ski.
Regardless of the type, you'll want to go fairly slow so as to not generate too much heat. (It'll likely smell like burning plastic regardless.)
Step 3: Cutting Stuff
Cut to length
Measure from the top of the hole, 8 3/4 inches and mark your cut.
Using your angle grinder, (wearing your safety gear), hold the ski firmly with one hand and make your cut. If the ski is wood, the grinding disk will likely have some trouble cutting it and you may get some smoke or burning.
Note: I used the grinder because you need to be able to cut the metal edges of the skis and its easier to cut wood with a grinder than metal with a saw.
Cutting your wood
Take your oak or maple and cut a 45 degree angle on the long edge (with the grain). 1/4 to 1/2 from the top of that cut, make a 90 degree cut in the same direction. This will give you a thin strip with a 90 degree angle on one side and 45 on the other.
Cut a piece of this the width of the bottom of your ski by place the bottom edge of your ski along the 45 degree angle and mark both sides. Cut to length. If you're doing more than one ski, be sure to keep the wood with the right skis.
Step 4: Sanding and Finishing
If you just want a quick and dirty version of this, you can sand the hole for the bottle and move to the next step. If you want a nice finish, keep reading.
Benefits of proper finishing
I've included a couple pictures of finished skis along side the original. The Rossignol ski was sanded and finished per the instructions below. The K2 (red, white and blue striped) was only lightly sanded by hand to knock off sharp edges. Because of the age, I was concerned about damaging the ski and the colors. Even just adding a couple coats of spray finish brightened up the colors. Note: The yellow Head ski is not finished yet in this picture, but you will see a finished version of it cleaned up, sanded and finished.
Skis take a lot of beating and often have scars and possibly rusty edges and you can pretty them up with a little work. .
Sand the edges of the skis to remove any rust from the metal. You may end up sharpening them in the process, so be sure to knock that sharp edge off as well.
Sand the top of the skis by hand or using a palm sander and moving up through your grits from 400-3000. I used automotive sand paper and wet sanded my skis. This will give you a beautiful finish in the end.
Note: Don't worry if the ski looks hazy during the sanding process, once you add finish it'll clear right up. Wet your ski any time during the sanding process to see what the finished ski will look like.
Clean your ski thoroughly to get all of the dust off. Any dust left could lead to a less than smooth finish. Spray the top of the ski with 2-3 coats of spar varnish, sanding lightly and cleaning between coats.
I used high gloss spar varnish to finish my skis because it's hard wearing and water resistant.
Allow to dry overnight before moving on.
Step 5: Glue and Screw- Attaching Your Wood
Attaching the piece of wood which you cut early on is a two step process. First is glue then screw.
Place your ski face down (preferably with the cut edge hanging off the table.In the picture, I put the ski on my vice which had the added advantage of getting the tip off the work surface. The same could be done with a thick paperback book on the edge of your bench.
Apply bead of Gorilla glue or other hard wearing glue to the ski and attach the wood with the 45 degree face facing the back of your ski. Be sure to line the edge of the wood with the edge of the ski on the cut edge and both sides.
Secure in place using painter's tape which is wrapped over the wood and around the front of the ski (which is why we had the cut edge off the table).
Note: I used clear Gorilla glue which doesn't expand. I didn't want foaming around the edges and it's listed as good for plastic and for wood.
Once dry, you can test your wine bottle holder and ensure that your measurements are right and it balances correctly. While the glue is pretty secure, I was able to pull the back off with some force. For longer wear, I'd recommend screwing them together to be sure they stay together.
If you find you can't balance the bottle in your holder, try adjusting the bottle in and out. If it falls toward the tip of the ski, pull the bottle out. If it falls towards the base, slide it in.
Once the glue is dry, pre-drill your holes and drive screws through the front of the ski into the thick part of your wooden support. I used 3/4 inch #8 pan head (round top) screws with finish washers.. Finish washers have a trough for the screw head and rounded edges which give a nice finish. If you don't want to buy screws, you could use a couple of the screws used to secure the bindings to the skis. I've included pictures of the finish washers and screws (yellow Head ski) and ones from the bindings (blue Rossignol ski) which I sharpened up a little using a wire brush on the head.
Step 6: Enjoy
That's it, load up with a bottle of wine and amaze people with this simple project with amazing results. I've tested this with a couple different types of wine bottles as well as sparkling wine/champagne bottles and it works for them all.
Enjoy and thanks for reading.
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