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The finished size is 745mm long and 320mm deep and we've applied a gloss varnish finish.

You'll need:

Part Material Length
rails (3) 38 x 38mm timber, DAR 720mm
bottom runners (2) 38 x 19mm timber, DAR 320mm
uprights (2) 38 x 19mm timber, DAR 240mm

You'll also need: 5 pieces 8mm dowelling, each 2.4m long; 100 grit sandpaper; 120 grit sandpaper; 150 grit sandpaper; medium and coarse sanding belts (optional); PVA adhesive (or two-part adhesive for a stronger job); 8mm dowel jointing kit; finish of choice; 100-75mm x 10 gauge screws (2).

Plate rack assembly.

End elevation.

Steel rule (600mm)
Combination square
Tenon saw
Scribe/point marker
Electric drill
Drill bit: 5mm high-speed steel (HSS)
Countersink bit
Drill press (optional)
Belt sander (optional)
Cork sanding block
Rubber mallet
Plane (block or smoother)
4 G-cramps
2 sash cramps
Dust mask
Safety glasses
Hearing protection

Here's how:
Preparing rails and dowels 1. Measure all parts and cut them to length.

2. Take the three rails. Choose the best face, and mark a centre line along this face with a combination square. On one rail (this will be the centre rail) mark a centre line on the next face around (not the opposite face). Mark the left-hand end of each piece to ensure they remain correctly oriented. Decide which rail will be the front rail and which the back rail and mark them. Starting from the end that is marked, measure 30mm increments along each centre line. Each rail should have 23 holes.

3. Use a scribe or point marker to indent each mark (this will help position the drill accurately). Using an electric drill with an 8mm dowelling bit, bore all the holes to a depth of 10mm, using a depth gauge (see end of project for 'How to make a depth gauge'). Keep checking as the depth gauge can move quite easily. Keep the drill straight. Use a drill press if available, as it will ensure the holes are straight.

4. Sand the lengths of dowel with 150 grit sandpaper before you cut them. Cut 23 lengths of dowel 205mm long and 23 lengths 225mm long. The best way to do this is to bundle the five lengths of dowel tightly together, securing them with thick rubber bands. Measure and mark the distance to be cut and slide the rubber band just behind the mark; use a jigsaw or fine handsaw to cut the lengths. Remove the sharp edges from the ends, either with the belt sander or hand-held 100 grit sandpaper, to help the dowels fit into the holes.

5. Sand the three rails with 150 grit sandpaper and take the sharp corners off the long edges with a plane or cork block. Leave the ends square. Dust off the dowels and rails, paying particular attention that you remove all the dust from the holes in the rails.

Assembling the rack

Section through dowel.

6. Using a small stick shaped to suit the hole, put a small amount of adhesive in the holes of the back rail and the corresponding row of holes in the centre rail. Place dowels in the holes on one rail and, using a rubber mallet, hammer them in enough to hold them in the holes. If they are a little uneven it doesn't matter. With all the dowels pointing up, bring the opposing rail down onto the dowels, work them into the holes and tap with the rubber mallet. Keep working the dowels in as you tap until all the dowels are in the holes.

7. Use a sash cramp at each end and two G-cramps in the middle to pull the two rails together and prevent bowing. It's very important to check that they're parallel, and using a square, make sure the dowels are square to the rails. Clean up any excess adhesive with a scraper and warm, damp rag - there shouldn't be too much oozing out. When the adhesive is dry, remove the cramps and repeat the process on the other side.

8. Take the two bottom runners. On the end that will butt up to the wall, measure in 10mm from the end and mark across the top of the runner. Cut an angle from the mark to the bottom corner.

9. Drill an 8mm hole in the end of each rail to a depth of 30mm. Put the centre markers from the dowel jointing kit into the holes and transfer the marks to the two bottom runners. Drill an 8mm hole on that point, to a depth of 10mm. Check the fit with the dowels in and the bottom runners on.

10. Hold the timber for the uprights in position on the runners and mark the required length. Cut the uprights to length. Drill a hole 10mm deep in the bottom runner, in the centre of where the upright meets it. Using the centre marker in this hole, position the upright and transfer the mark. Remove the centre marker and, placing it in the hole in the end of the back rail, position the upright to transfer the mark. Drill the holes to 10mm deep.

11. Check the fit of the pieces before pulling them apart. Cut the dowels to 18mm (always cut the dowel a couple of millimetres shorter than the depth of both holes added together). Apply the adhesive. Insert the dowels. Cramp up using sash cramps, and clean off excess adhesive.

12. Sand all the glued joins. If you are using a belt sander, use a medium to fine grade belt. Keep the belt sander level, otherwise it will dig in on the edge and cause damage to the rack. With an orbital sander continue through the 100, 120 and 150 grit paper on the rails and runners. Hand sand all the dowels, and apply the finish of your choice.

13. To fasten the rack to a concrete or brick wall, first drill a hole approximately 100mm in from each end of the back rail, with a 5mm HSS drill bit. Use 100mm or 75mm x 10 gauge screws, and countersink to suit the screw head. On a stud (timber) wall you must first find the studs to fasten into. This will determine the positions of the holes for the screws.

Making a depth gauge
You can make a depth gauge from a piece of dowel. Once the drill bit is in the drill, measure the length of the bit and subtract the depth of the hole. Cut a piece of dowel to this length, place it in the vice and bore an 8mm hole right through. Remove the bulk of the timber at one end, making it look like a pencil with the drill as the lead.

Source: Storage (Murdoch Books)


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