Introduction: Live Edge Lazy Susan Spice Rack

About: Hi! I'm Cassey. I'm a biologist, specializing in Regenerative Medicine. Trey is an Electrical Engineer, so we do a lot of "left brained activity"! To balance that out, and use our "right brains …

I've wanted a Lazy Susan Spice Rack for a long time... It's hard to keep spices organized in a cabinet! I looked around for one, but didn't find anything I really liked, so I figured "I'm a craftswoman, why don't I just MAKE ONE?" I found this excellent tutorial demonstrating how to make a Lazy Susan spice rack, and decided to follow the tutorial with a couple small changes: while the tutorial used store lumber cut into a circle, I used a "natural circle" from a 80+ year old mossy oak that fell on our property during the recent storms. I couldn't stand to let such a noble tree just lay there and rot, so I gave it new life as this spice rack. I also made the entire top of the rack available for spices, instead of making it a replica of the bottom. I enjoyed the process and result so much I have now made several of these live edge spice racks.

Here's the video tutorial I followed:

These are the general steps from the video (he uses much cooler toys-I mean TOOLS-than I used, but they're not necessary):

  1. Cut 3 Wood Circles from sheet lumber
  2. Design and drill holes for spices (also drill hole for center dowel)
  3. Sand holes using Dremel, sand wood slices, including circle edges
  4. Cut and sand dowel for center
  5. Varnish the wood
  6. Add dowel with glue and special leveling clamp
  7. Add base/Lazy Susan and rubber bumpers

These are the general steps I follow:

  1. Get 2 live edge wood slices
  2. Design and drill holes for spices
  3. Sand holes using Dremel, sand wood slices, add slightl bevel to hole edges, *don’t* sand bark off edges!
  4. Cut and sand dowel for center
  5. Varnish the wood
  6. Add dowel with glue and screws
  7. Cut base, add base/lazy susan and no slip pad.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial! If you love it, please give it a vote for the Remix Contest!

Step 1: Materials

The materials I use for this are:

  • 2 live edge wood slices - I cut mine using a chainsaw, but you can purchase them from Etsy. They should be about 1.5" thick with a 10" diameter.
  • Spice jar and pen
  • Drill press
  • 2" Forster bit (I got mine on Amazon here: )
  • Dremel with sanding heads
  • Sandpaper (I use 60 grit and 120 grit)
  • Varnish and paintbrush (you can use whatever you want here, but I'd highly recommend Miniwax HELMSMAN Polyurethane for this project. It seals the wood well, leaves a gorgeous glassy finish, protects the bark, and brings out the natural color of the wood)
  • Dowel Rod (the video uses a 2.5" dowel rod, I used a 1.25" dowel rod)
  • 2 screws (the length of the screws depends on the thickness of your wood)
  • Wood Glue
  • Lazy Susan Hardware (I got mine on Amazon here: )
  • Wood for base (I used a small piece of 3mm Craft Ply so the base is mostly invisible, but any thin piece of wood slightly larger than the Lazy Susan hardware will work)
  • No slip shelf liner
  • Super glue (optional)

Step 2: Design and Drill Holes for Spices

In the video, Makify makes a wonderful template for the spices on his perfectly round wood slices. As live edge wood isn't usually a perfect circle, I use a spice jar and drew the pattern onto the wood.

For the bottom tier I start in one place approximately 1/4" from the edge of the bark and trace the jar, then move directly across from it, trace again. I divide the wood into quarters in this way, like folding a circle of paper in half, in quarters, then in eighths. For the bottom of the spice rack, there should be at least 1/4" between each circle and each circle should be about 1/4" from the edge of the bark.

For the top tier, I trace one circle about 1/4" from the edge of the bark, then trace overlapping circles the rest of the way around the wood slice. I'm also going to drill out that center part, so it can be a little messy.

I use the drill press and 2" Forster bit to drill the holes, about half way through the wood slice, as Makify shows. I line up the bit with my template circles and go at it. Go slowly, especially if the wood is still a little wet/unseasoned! The bottom tier is definitely the easier of the two in this case. For the top, after I have drilled all the circles around the edges, I go back and drill out the center space, using the drill press and Forster bit. I thought of it as "taking bites" out of the center piece, because that's what it looked like! There were a few places that didn't come off with the Forster bit, and I used a Dremel sander on them in the next step.

Step 3: Sand the Holes and Wood

I used a jitterbug sander with 60 grit sandpaper on the wood slices to get the chainsaw marks off both the tops and bottoms of the wood slices. I didn't get too picky with the bottom of the bottom tier, as it won't be seen, but I did sand the bottom of the top tier down well. I then used 120 grit sandpaper with the jitterbug on the wood slices.

I also used a Dremel to sand out the holes, although I didn't use Makify's special tool set up. For the top tier, I used the Dremel to sand down the sharp edges where the circles overlapped. For each hole (including around the ridge of the top tier), I ran the Dremel around the top edge of the hole to give it a rounded bevel. With live edge wood, this bevel is really gorgeous and makes the piece pop! I used 120 grit sandpaper after the Dremel, to make it extra smooth.

Step 4: Dowel for the Center

In the video, Makify uses a 2.5" Dowel. I use a 1.25" Dowel. I have used a smaller dowel on another spice rack, but the larger dowel makes it feel much more stable, so I wouldn't recommend using a dowel less than 1" in diameter. Makify cut a piece of dowel 6" long. I used one that was 5" long, since I didn't drill a hole into the wood tiers for the dowel.

I drill a small hole in the center of each end of the dowel rod, where I will later attach the rod to the tiers of the spice rack with a screw.

One really important part here is to make sure the ends of the dowel rod are flat! If there's a "wonky angle" on the dowel rod, the spice rack won't be level.

Step 5: Varnish

This is the step that takes the longest, because to get that glassy finish I love so much, it takes 4-8 coats, over several days. I add a coat of varnish to one side, let it dry, ad another, let it dry, flip it, add a couple coats to the other side, etc. You get the point... I add the varnish until it looks like clear glass sitting on top of or bonded to the wood. Every part of the wood needs to be thickly coated in varnish, including the edges with the bark. I use an old toothbrush to gently brush off the bark, and then varnish over everything that doesn't come off with the toothbrush. This preserves the "mossy" part of the mossy oak. Normally, the bark only takes 3 coats of varnish before I'm happy with it, but it's the hardest part because it can get messy quickly!

I use a plain old "children's art" paintbrush from Walmart, and throw it away once I'm done with the project. I leave it sitting in water between coats, and brush the water off the paintbrush on the side of the water container when I apply the next coat. Polyurethane is very sticky on the skin, so I try to avoid getting it on myself!

Step 6: Connecting the Two Tiers

In Makify's video, he drills a circle for the rod in the exact center of the wood on the top of the bottom tier and on the bottom of the top tier for the dowel to sit in. If you want to do it that way, great! Make sure the drill bit is the appropriate size for the dowel rod.

It's challenging to find the exact center of a piece of live edge wood, as the center of the rings is not necessarily the geometric center of the circle. To find the center, I trace the circle onto a piece of computer paper, cut it out and fold it in quarters to find the center, then lay it back over both the top and bottom tier slices, marking the exact center.

Then, I drill a very small hole all the way through the center of each tier for the screws.

I add a small amount of wood glue to one end of the dowel rod, then add a screw from the bottom of the bottom tier up, screwing it into the hole I previously drilled in the center of the dowel rod.

I add a little wood glue to the remaining end of the dowel rod, then screw from the top of the top tier down into the hole in the dowel rod to connect the two. I check the balance on the top tier while screwing, and adjust the rotation of the dowel rod to make it level.

Step 7: Add Base/Lazy Susan Hardware

Once the glue on the dowel rod has dried, I add the Lazy Susan hardware. It's meant to be attached with screws, but I didn't use them on this spice rack for a couple reasons. I wanted the base of the spice rack to be very thin, so screws wouldn't have worked through it. Also, I didn't want any screws coming up through the slots for the spice rack.

I used wood glue to attach the Lazy Susan hardware to the bottom of the bottom tier, centering it around the center screw.

I cut a piece of 3mm craft ply wood just larger than the Lazy Susan hardware and rounded the edges using the Dremel. I attached it originally with wood glue, but while the wood glue stuck great to the live edge slice, it didn't stick so well to this wood, so I used Zap-A-Gap superglue. That worked great!

I cut and attached a piece of "No Slip Shelf Liner" from another project so it won't slip on the counter. I let everything dry, flipped it over, and filled it with spices.

Step 8: Finished Product

Of course, it's a Lazy Susan... Gotta spin it! It works great for holding my spices, and really helped me de-clutter my spice cabinet! I haven't knocked the salt into a pot of boiling water while reaching for another spice since making this.

I hope you love this project as much as I do! If you make it, please post it in the comment so I can see what yours looks like.

If you love this project but don't have the tools or time to make it, I am selling these spice racks on Etsy, feel free to take a look at:

Once again, as this is an entry in the Remix contest, I'd really appreciate your support with a vote.

Thanks everyone!

-Cassey & Company at SimplySerenityRanch

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