Friday, March 27, 2015

First Venture Into the World of Building Stuff

Recently, I decided to undertake the project of building a wine rack. I have a nice one I found years ago that is very sturdy, but the problem is it only holds standard 750 mL bottles and I've been collecting the magnum 1.5 L sized bottles more often than not. I say "collecting" as if they aren't cheap pinots and merlots that get drunk quicker than an actual collection can be formed, but hey, I still don't want them sitting willy nilly on a counter top for a week or two; I want them settled in a nice orderly fashion in a rack that accommodates their fat waistlines.

After several weeks of planning it out and consulting Pinterest for some starting points, I came up with a list of Must-Haves.

1. Be sculptural and visually interesting
2. Be super inexpensive to make (I'm poor. Did you not see the bit about cheap wine?)
3. Can hold a half, a standard, and a magnum bottle, preferably more than one of each
4. Be a mix of wood and metal (I like the design style of mixing warm and cold elements. It's very au courant. It also suits my temperament. First person to get Katy Perry's Hot 'N Cold stuck in their head gets a cookie. I mean a smack. Crap. Now it's stuck in my head.)
5. Include some element of "other" that would make it neat-o, unique, and special.

I found some Pins that utilized Coffee Cans and Pallet Board and thought combining the two with my own variations might look pretty awesome so I started hunting down materials.

Turns out, finding solid metal coffee cans was really hard! Almost all the brands sold in supermarkets utilize a cardboard body with only the bottom and top being aluminum, and that was not up to par for a durable construction design. After poking, prodding, and manhandling several dozen coffee canisters at WalMart, and receiving more than a few concerned stares by leery shoppers, I found that Master Chef brand coffee is not only the least expensive but also the only brand whose cans are solid aluminum construction. Score! I can't speak to the TASTE or quality of their beans because it's all in freezer bags for future consumption, but their cans are spectacular.

Next, I had to find wood. Facebook networking came to the rescue on that matter~a relative informed me there was a pallet company less than three miles from my apartment (Thanks Sue!).  Getting there during their hours of operation took a little effort but once I barged in their back door and had a roomful of grizzled, sawdusty, bearded lumberjack-styled workers stop mid-action and turn to gape at my audacity, the supervisor was generous enough to offer me my choice of several armfuls of wood from their scrap containers. Double score.

Then, spray paint, binder clips, glue, sandpaper, can opener, screw gun....oh yeah. No idea how to use one of those...

I was prepared to buy one and spend a few hours with some tutorials on youtube but I texted my dad for some advice and he offered me one of his spares. Then we had this conversation that probably left him concerned for my safety...

Me: "Great! How about those thingies that go in it?"
Dad: "Drill bits?"
Me: "Um...whatever you put the screws into."
Dad: "The chuck?"
Me: "Who is Chuck?"
Dad: "What?"

One of us obviously didn't have a clue what was going on and it wasn't my Dad...

I ended up with a cordless Hitachi drill and a box of assorted "thingies," some of which I still don't know what they're called, but I DO know what the "chuck" is, and like most times in life when you learn something new, suddenly everywhere I go, someone is talking about chucks and I have to stop myself from going, "Hey, you! I know what that is now!" because that would be cray-cray in a big way-way.

I still ended up watching some youtube tutorials about using a cordless drill, one featured A Nice British Guy and one featured  A Nice American Girl, figuring advice from both sides of the pond as well as both genders would give me a well-rounded education. They were quite helpful and gave good basic advice, if anyone reading this needs some lessons in using one. I still had to play around with lots of scrap wood and metal bits to get comfortable with all the functions and quirks, and trying to keep a herd of cats from playing with metal shavings is no picnic either, but I prevailed.

 ^Collection of assorted sized cans, spray painted with a hammered-texture copper and burnished brass  color
 ^I quickly realized the binder clips the girl used in the Pinterest tutorial were not going to work with my design, so I switched to wooden clothes pins to clamp the cans together while the glue set. They worked like a charm.
 ^After sanding and assembling the base, I used what I had on hand to weigh down the pieces while the glue was setting...lots of and lots of heavy books!! By the way, if you've never built a wood thing before, you should know that for strength and durability, it's best to glue and screw the pieces together.
 Love the texture provided by the various cans...

 ^The bottom side of the wooden base using reclaimed pallet board and brace edging-the slats are a soft wood, likely pine as it was setting off my allergies, lol, but the braces are made from a hard wood, probably oak, so working with the two different woods was an additional challenge because of how they behave, screws needed, sandpapering, etc. I used two different sized drill bits to make a design in the bottom of two smaller cans, which would be used for decoration.
 ^The top side of the wood base-I applied clear Polyurethane to the wood, wanting its natural color and texture variations to show
 ^Almost done...
 ^Et Voila! C'est Fini! I designed the base so that four wine glasses can be hung upside down from the slats. This way your glasses and wine are conveniently paired close to each other. Because I wanted the holder to have a sculptural appearance, I positioned the drilled cans to add some drama and shape to it. A tea light can also be placed inside the can so the flame will shine through the drilled holes, or someone could customize the display with small battery operated lights for the same effect (but safer).
^My design encompasses all the goals I set out to fulfill, and can not only hold all three (most commonly) sized wine bottles, but other wine accessories can be stored in the smaller tins as well, like a corkscrew and glass charms.

I enjoyed working on this project quite a bit. There are things that would go a lot smoother if I make more along this design, which I may do, but it's extremely satisfying to create something not only useful but attractive, and from materials that were going to be thrown away no less. Continuing to pursue more projects with an environmental conscientiousness is my focus this year, so be on the lookout for upcoming ventures!

No comments:

Post a Comment