Introduction: Bar Service Cart With Wine Glass Rack (from Vintage Sewing Stand)

About: Cranky Wino is a wine critic who enjoys wine and humor the same way—dry.

My wife and I found a discarded, damaged vintage sewing stand on a neighborhood street curb and thought it would be good for something, but what? I don't sew and the last time my wife sewed, she put a needle through her finger and I had to rush home from work to remove it (the needle, not the finger). We do, however, drink wine and other adult beverages, so...

Step 1: Assess the Features & Condition of the Sewing Stand

We started by assessing the features and condition of the sewing stand.

The sewing stand had:

  1. A front door that would swing open from right to left to serve as a support for the stand's lid when you flipped the lid open from right to left. The opened lid served as a work space.
  2. A metal sewing machine support was nested inside the stand and could be raised up to be flush with the surface of the stand.
  3. A wood box and sewing thread spool storage shelf attached to the inside of the front door of the stand (which my wife wanted to keep and reuse as part of the new cart)

As for the condition of the stand:

  1. The hinges connecting the lid of the stand were damaged (but still there). The screws were loose and the lid came right off.
  2. The laminate on both sides of the lid was badly damaged.
  3. There were cracks in the wood at various places on the stand.
  4. The joints connecting the panels and sections of the stand were weak.

We wanted to maintain as much of the original stand as possible, while transforming its overall function and aesthetics.

Step 2: List Out the New Features You Want

We wanted to include:

  1. A container to hold ice for chilling wine or other beverages
  2. A small work space
  3. A wine glass rack
  4. A bottle opener and bottle cap catcher
  5. Wheels to make it mobile

Step 3: Demo Work

The demo work was next. We studied the sewing stand to see what we'd have to remove. We removed the metal sewing machine support by un-screwing its hinges and supports. Using a jig saw, I cut away parts of the top surface of the stand to make room for an ice bin (which was an aluminum cafeteria food service bin we bought online). We kept the wood we removed from the stand so that we could use some of it later.

Step 4: Add-back Work

I had to add some of the cut wood back to the top surface of the stand to match the dimensions of the metal ice bin I wanted to insert. I supported the top edges by screwing some L-brackets underneath.

Step 5: Adding Plywood Panels

I cut 1/2" thick plywood to make a new front panel and new bottom panel for the cart. The front panel would hide the insides of the cart when the front door is open and the bottom panel would provide the support for the new wine glass rack. I connected the panels to the cart using some L-brackets.

Step 6: Repairing Wood Cracks & Gaps

My wife filled in wood cracks and gaps with wood glue and wood filler and used clamps to close the cracks and gaps until the glue and filler could dry completely.

Step 7: Remove Damaged Laminate

The damaged laminate was beyond repair, so I had to remove it all. Laminate is glued on, so hot moisture helps to loosen it. I put a hot, wet towel on top of the laminate and used a steam iron to heat it up sufficiently to loosen it. Then, I inserted a large putty knife under the edge of the laminate and carefully removed the laminate in sections. Be sure to use a towel you can discard because the glue will get onto the towel. Also, keep the putty knife blade as flat as possible so you don't gouge the wood surface. (If you do, you can sand it smooth or use woof filler to repair it, like my wife did.) If the laminate doesn't come off when you push (or lightly hammer) the putty knife, then apply more hot moisture until the laminate loosens up sufficiently. You might want wear gloves to avoid splinters in your hand and fingers (I speak from experience).

Step 8: Add Decorative Details & Wheels

My wife was the overall designer for this project (as usual, since she was a designer by career). She added some decorative edge details and surface designs to the cart. She kept the original sewing thread spool storage shelf on the back side of the front door to use for storing some of the bar accessories. She got some wheels and I drilled holes in the bottom of the cart's legs to accommodate the sheaths for the wheels. With her help, we got the wheels on and working.

Step 9: Routing & Hardware Work

I had to do some relatively simple routing and hardware work. The rim of the ice bin was resting on the cart surface and the lid wouldn't close on the cart properly. I used a router to create a recessed edge to support the ice bin until the bin's rim was just flush with the cart's top surface. (You can see I was new to routing and went too deep in some places, but my wife was able to fix that with wood filler.) Then, I routed out the pattern of the hinges on the lid because the recesses became too shallow when I removed the laminate from the lid. I pounded (lightly) and bent the hinges back into their original shape and my wife filled the hinge screw holes with wood filler and wood glue to renew them so they would hold the hinge screws tightly.

Step 10: Construct the Wine Glass Rack

I studied some wine glass rack designs my wife found on the internet and then I drew up the proposed rack design. I measured the overall table bottom space (22-1/2" wide x 14" deep) and we settled on five 12" deep rows of wine glasses (running front to back). You'll want to adjust the final spacing a bit so that the rows are evenly spaced out across the width of the surface space, but you must conform to the following minimum spacing guidelines so that the wine glass rack actually works:

  1. 1/2" depth between the bottom of the table and the top of the "slats" on which the base of each wine glass rests (to accommodate the depth of the bases of most wine glasses)
  2. 1" to 1-1/4" clearance between the edges of the "slats" that support the base of each wine glass (to provide sufficient clearance for the width of the wine glass stems that hand down between the slats when the glasses are inserted in an upside-down orientation)
  3. 3-1/2" to 3-3/4" clearance between the edges of the square support "bars" (to accommodate the base span of most wine glasses)

I took some wine glasses and beer goblets (I had plenty on hand) and measured the base depth and width and the goblet width on the larges and smallest ones. I needed to have a 1/2" depth between the bottom of the cart and the top of the "slats" on which the base of each wine glass would rest. So, I used 1/2" square support "bars" to which I could attach the wider "slats" that would hold the base of each wine glass (which would hang upside-down from the rack).

I drew the layout in pencil on the bottom of the cart. I had enough space to attach six wood support "bars" to the bottom of the table (while still meeting the spacing requirements listed above.) Those "bars" were 1/2" square (cross-section) x 11" long, starting with one placed along the left edge of the space and separated from the next one by about 4" from center-to-center, and the rest of them spaced similarly with the final one placed along the right edge of the space. (That left about 3-3/4" clearance between each set of "bars" as required by the spacing guidelines above).

There was a design detail at the bottom-center of the front door that extended below the bottom of the cart, so I had to be sure to leave a gap between that design detail and the beginning of the 11" slats in order to leave room for the wine glass base to clear the design and slide into the slots. (Otherwise, I'd have to open the front door in order to use the middle rows of the rack.)

After we glued the support "bars" to the surface of the surface of the table bottom, we glued the final "slats" into place. We used four slats that were 1/4" thick x 3" wide x 11" long and two slats (for the two outer sides) that were4 1/4" thick x 1-3/4" wide x 11" long. We positioned the two 1-3/4" wide slats to be flush with the outer edges of the two outer support "bars". When the glue dried, I carefully hammered some very light gauge 1" finishing nails at the center of each end of each slat to secure them in place. (The 1" nail length was designed to go through the combination of a 1/4" slat and 1/2" support bar and penetrate 1/4" into the 1/2" plywood bottom of the table.) Use a pretty hard wood (such as poplar) or plywood as your building material so that you don't split the wood when using the finishing nails.

Lastly, we glued a 1/2" square (cross-section) x 21" long "stopper bar" across the back of the bottom of the cart to serve as a "stopper" to keep the wine glasses from dropping out the back of the rack. That "stopper bar" was located about 1" from the back ends of the wine rack "slats", so the overall length of each row of glasses would be the desired 12" (i.e., adding the 11" length of each "slat" to the 1" space between the end of the slats and the "stopper bar"). When the glue dried, I carefully hammered a very light gauge 1" finishing nail at each end of that "stopper bar" to secure it in place.

Step 11: Paint the Cart

My wife painted the new bar service cart with a combination of milk paint and chalk paint and some wood stain. We attached the hinges for the lid and dropped the ice bin in place. My wife fastened a bottle opener and bottle cap catcher (built from a larger box we found on the inside of the original sewing stand) onto the interior apron of the cart inside the front door. We hung our wine glasses on the wine rack and set up the bar cart for service. (We didn't put ice in the bin for these photos, but you get the idea.)

Step 12: Enjoy

We removed two wine glasses from the rack and filled them with our favorite wine. The rest of that evening's events are not for publication and, in any event, we'd need a separate "instructable" for that...

Before and After Contest 2016

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Before and After Contest 2016

Plywood Contest

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Plywood Contest