Introduction: Picket Fence Sink Scrub Brush Holder
I was tired of always having to dig the scrub brush out of the bottom of the sink and wash all the food bits and grease off before I could wash dishes. Just laying the brushes on the side of the sink leaves nasty wet spots all over the counter top and leaving the heads over the sink just leads to the brushes falling back in. So I decided to make this little stand to keep the brushes off the counter, out of the sink, and still easily at hand. Plus it looks pretty nice too! This project is made 100% from scrap material other than the fasteners holding it together. It's also a fairly quick project. I made this first one shown here in about 2 1/2 hours and then decided to make an Instructable so I made this second one in about 2 hours. Enjoy!
Step 1: Design, Materials, and Getting Started
As with all projects the first step is to lay out what you will be making. To get an idea for size I measured the brushes you see in the title picture of this project. The white brush is about 10" long and the sponge brush about 9". I wanted the fence posts to be slightly shorter than the brushes and 8" scrap was easy to come by (note that this 8" will not be the total height of the stand, only the posts. The stand will actually be the height of the posts + the thickness of the base, but I am not worried about the overall height). I chose 10" wide because it gave me plenty of room for the brushes and I thought the height to width ratio looked nice.
The materials you will need are:
- Wood for posts, rails, and base
- Wire coat hanger
- 2 short screws
- Thin ply wood
- Plastic (I will give more detail on this later)
The tools you will need are:
- Saw (I used a chop saw but you could use a table saw and hand saw)
- Screw Driver
- Needle nose pliers
- Sander (I used a belt sander but any will do)
- Tape measure
After deciding how big to make the stand and collecting material the next step is to pick out your wood. I used pallet lumber that was left over from previous projects. Most of this lumber wasn't square so before making any measured cuts I cut one end off each piece with a chop saw so that I had a better starting point. I did not square up the boards long ways because I don't have a table saw and its not easy (or safe!) to do on a chop saw. You can square up all dimensions of the lumber if you have the tools but I like the rougher look of the finished fence section myself.
Step 2: Cutting to Size
After you have squared off one side of each board you can begin cutting your pieces. For the dimensions I chose you will need:
- 4 x Posts ~1 3/4" X 8"
- 2 x Rails ~1" X 10"
- 1 x Base 3 3/4" X 10" (the width here is the width of the pallet slat)
Begin with the easy step of cutting all your boards to length. To do this I used a chop saw but you can cut them with what ever tools you have. After cutting all boards to length you need to cut the rails and posts to the correct width. This is much more difficult especially without a table saw.
The posts are made from the same stock as the base just cut in half. To mark the center I used this handy trick that I learned from someone on Instructables (sorry I don't remember where exactly I saw this to give proper credit...). Instead of doing math and reading tiny tick marks on the tape measure just line one edge up with the side of the board and then angle the tape measure across the board until the first inch mark hits the other edge of the board. Make sure that you are measuring from the same side of the tape on both ends of the board or else your measurement will be off! Now mark half of what ever inch mark you are measuring too. For example in the picture shown the first inch mark I came to was 4" since I am using 3 3/4" stock so I mark at 2". Do the same at the bottom of the board and use a straight edge to connect the dots.
Now comes the fun part.
*WARNING* this is not the best method for ripping stock! If you have a table saw use it instead. If you are not 100% confident that you can use this method safely rip the boards with a handsaw (I know this is not easy I have done it plenty of times but wouldn't you rather take a little extra time than risk your fingers?)
I decided to rip my rails and posts using the chop saw (read the warning above!) to save time and get a straighter cut. To do this I placed the board in position for cutting along with another piece of scrap the same thickness a few inches away on the saw table. With a third piece of scrap I press down very firmly (or you can use a clamp on this third board) to hold everything in place while keeping your fingers far from the blade. There is a risk here that the board you are cutting will kick so go slow and be careful! Again if you do not feel 100% confident that you can do this safely USE ANOTHER METHOD! More than likely your shop saw will not be able to cut all the way through the full length of the board so flip it over and carefully line up the cut with the blade to finish ripping the board.
Now that you have all your pieces cut to size the final cuts to make are the angled cuts on the tops of the posts. Mark a small center line on the top of the posts. Set your chop saw to 45 and cut so that the blade hits the tip of the center line. Then flip the post over and do the same thing only this time the blade will cut to the tip of the last cut. If you do not have a chop saw use a square to mark the 45 cuts and cut with a hand saw.
Step 3: Sanding and Assembling
Congratulations now you have all of the pieces you need make the main body of the stand and if you followed my warning you still have all your fingers!
I used a belt sander to smooth out each piece. Sanding such small pieces with a belt sander can be a bit tricky so I found a piece of scrap thinner than the stock I am working with and clamped it to the table as a make shift bench dog. Make sure that you sand so that the belt pushes the wood against this piece. I used a pair of channel locks to lightly hold the other end of the board in place.
After sanding it is time to assemble. Before driving any nails decide on the placement of your posts. I did not measure anything here I just laid it out how I thought looked best. Mark the position of the posts on the back of the base and then start 2 nails per post. Starting all of the nails before adding any posts is much easier than trying to start the nails while hammering horizontally into the posts. Nailing the posts on is definitely the hardest and most frustrating part in my opinion. I do not have a nail gun (which would make this task extremely easy) so I used this simple jig to hammer against. I clamped a piece of scrap to the table roughly 8 1/4" from the edge of the bench so that when I set the base against the post both pieces are setting on the bench but I can drive the nail all the way in with out hitting the edge of the bench. (Notice in my setup I got lucky and could clamp to the center of my bench through the router mount I have cut in it however you can do the same thing at the end of the bench). You have to be very careful while nailing the posts on because the nail could come out the back or side of the post so make sure you set your nails properly. Also use a little glue on the bottom of each post to help hold everything together.
Assembling the rails is much easier. As before lay the rails out on the posts to decide where you want them you can do this on the front or back of the posts. I made one of each as you may have noticed in the pictures. I prefer the look of the rails in the front better but with the rails in the back you can rest the handle of your brush between the posts easily to hold it in place better. Mark along both edges of the rails. I scored both the posts and rails where they overlap to give the glue a little more to hold on to but I honestly don't know if this will make a difference or not... Next apply glue and nail the rails in place. You may want to clamp one end down while nailing the other because the glue will make the rail want to float a little as you hammer.
Step 4: Front "Bumper"
When I made the first stand I found that the brushes would just slide off the front of the stand so I made a front bumper out of a wire coat hanger. To start cut the hook part of the hanger off. You could use this section if you wanted but I didn't want the hassle of trying to straighten it out or the look of the curly section where the two ends of the wire are joined together. About 2"-2 1/2" from one end bend the wire a little over 90. Bending this slightly past 90 will add a little tension in the wire when assembled to keep it from falling over. With a pair of needle nose add a loop to the end that is 90 off of the plane that the earlier bend made. See the pictures for a better understanding.
To find the right length either measure 10" from the 90 or lay the bumper against the front of the stand and mark. Now bend the wire slightly past 90 at this mark and try to keep the two shorter legs on the same plane. Measure the same distance as you did earlier (2"-2 1/2") down from this 90 and add another loop. Cut off the extra.
On the base measure 1" from the front edge on either side and pre-drill for the short screws you are using to mount the bumper. Screw the bumper on loosely, adjust its angle as you see fit and tighten completely.
At this point you have a fully functioning stand and you can stop here if you like but I added some plastic to protect the wood from the wet brushes and to help guide the water off the stand which I will explain in the next step.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
To keep the water from the sink brushes from just soaking into the stand I used a piece of a cheap plastic cutting board from Walmart. (Sorry but I forgot to take pictures of this step...) You can use what ever plastic you like. If you are going to paint your stand I would recommend doing so before you add this plastic piece.
Before cutting the plastic I added small pieces of thin scrap plywood on either side so that the plastic would have a sort of bowl shape to force the water to the center and out. You can make these whatever size you like. I cut mine to be about 1" wide and just short of the length of the base left in front of the posts.
Cut the plastic so that you have at least a 1/2" overhang on the front of the stand. Do not cut to length yet though! Bend about 1/4" of the plastic up along one long side to act as a "back splash". nail one side of the plastic to the plywood riser. Before nailing down the other side use a couple of clamps to hold the plastic down next to each plywood riser so that the plastic will keep a bowl shape. Now nail down the other side and trim the edges as desired. I left the front with a bit of an over hang so that the water would run onto the ledge of the sink.
Now all you have left is to put your new picket fence stand in place and fill it!
Step 6: P.S.
Here are a few things you might consider doing differently.
It might look better to use thinner stock for the rails than you use for the posts. This could also make it so that you can rest the brush handles between the tops of the posts with the rails in the front.
You can stop after assembling the posts, rails, and base and use this as a small decorative herb garden in a window sill or by the sink.
If you do put the rails in the front add small side rails to keep brushes from falling over side ways. I plan on drilling a small hole in the outside two posts and just gluing a tooth pick (with the point removed) in to act as rails but you could use more of the coat hanger too.
Paint all of the wood before adding the plastic. My wife plans on painting one of the two I made white with vines and such growing up the fence. I will try to remember to add a picture of this when she does!
Thanks for reading my first instructable!
If you have any questions or suggestions for improvements let me know in the comments!