Building a wine rack for the daughter. She wants it to fit into a
shelf over their refrigerator. I "designed" the rack to be assembled
inside the shelf facings - put the pieces in and put it together in
Front and rear panels are held together with blind (sliding?) dovetail
joints and horizontal braces. Pics are posted at
My question: is are the joints' tails strong enough? The wood is QS
Sycamore. The tails measure about 5/16 square at their bases (smallest
dimension) and are about 3/8 in length. The joints are "tap in" tight,
not "press" fit but not a "drive it home" fit either. The pics show
the braces without being tapped in tight for clarity, they are flush
when tapped all the way in. I expect expansion/contraction of the
joints in a controlled environment to be pretty low.
I tend to over engineer things from a strength perspective, but
looking at the tails, I'm not comfortable. My intent is not to glue
these joints (for when she moves one day and wants to take the rack
out), just tap them into place and leave it as it is. Trial fits of
the joints have shown the structure to be very stable under moderate
hand pressure fore and aft. Almost all the stress should be vertical
and minimal racking forces seem likely, unless someone gets wild
pulling (or placing) a bottle. But I'm still not comfortable.
Should I recut the tails and/or pins and tails both to get more wood
in the joints? It'll be a PITA, but I have extra stock for the braces,
so it can be done.
Any thoughts appreciated.
Considering the weight of 24 bottles of wine, I'd have something beefier and
more of them. You have about 39 pounds of liquid, plus another 25 or so of
I'd also encourge putting the wine in a cooler place. Top of the fridge is
about the worst possible ploace aside from next to the oven. Aside from
damaging good wine, how practical is it to place or remove bottles at that
height? What are the chances of dropping one?
Nah, use the ones you have, just add a bunch more.
Putting aside the comments about where this rack is going to be located (she
could always just fill some empties with colored water and use it as a
decoration), I think I would do the following modification. Make the
cross-piece about 4 times as wide. The single dovetail is plenty strong and
when it has a wide shoulder on each side of it - that will help prevent any
All the weight of the bottles is straight down - unless mother nature has
changed it lately, so there is little pressure on the front and backs.
Bottles will slope towards front so the front will have some pressure but
not enough to do any harm and it will help insure the dovetails are under
Where the extra wide shoulders on the cross-pieces mate with the front and
back, if there is no material there (such as the gaps I see between the
rows, simply glue in a spacer). I think the only racking this will receive
is when the bottles are put in or taken out. But if it's used only for
decorative purposes, then that's not a problem.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< SNIP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< SNAP >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thanks - good thought.
I increased the cross pieces to 1.5" and, as an added element, squared
off the routed pins with a chisel. That way there's no need to
undercut the tails. The shoulders are about 6X wider now, the tails
are about 2X thicker at their smallest dimension, and I'm more
I got a lot of advice on reducing the sizes of posted pics (not
unwelcome, but some of the technical details were a bit simplistic. I
mean, I could have erred and posted rasterized images), some not so
uesful advice on how not to store wine (I currently have a few over 3K
bottles in the cellar, mostly Premier Cru Bordeaux of the 80's and
90's), and one good idea that answered my question - yours.
Good advice is worth what you pay for it, sometimes it's free.
Care for a glass of '82 Piche Lalande Comtesse, a '78 Mouton, or
possibly (OMG) a Yqem of the '49?
Apologize to all for not resizing the images - I simply forgot to do
They are now cropped and resampled at 72 DPI.
As for placing the wine over the refrigerator. I agree that's a lousy
place to store wine and have said so. But, given that the wines she
and her husband like are raely aged 2 weeks before being consumed and
usually have screw caps not corks, I'm not going to fight it. My
Chateau Margot has a better environment, I assure you.
Thanks for the thoughts and sorry about the sizing goof.
On Thu, 04 May 2006 20:38:08 -0500, Tom Banes wrote:
The location over a refrigerator sounds like a potentially problematic
idea for your project and for the wine. It will on average be warmer than
the rest of the dwelling and of very changeable humidity, if the location
of the cabinet is a kitchen. that could be hard on the wood, causing the
joints to work, and hard on the wine. All my serious wine consuming
friends insist on a cool temperature- less than 55 degrees F for their
"cellars." Poking around with a search engine, the recommendations also
mention a humidity of about 60 to 70 per cent for storage.
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