Spice Rack

I had a bit more of that recycled pre-used 3/8" oak left over from the CD storage case I made a while ago, and so I decided to make that spice rack we so desperately needed. It was a totally customized job,,,,customized for the spice bottles we had, so I started figuring it all out.

A drawing of my customized plan is shown below, showing dimensions and measured locations of the necessary dados & rabbetts. Bear in mind that this worked for the spice bottles I had, but if yours are different sizes (which they probably are), modifications to the plan may need to be made.

But better than that, Richard Serzy has created a wonderful new PDF drawing which you can both see and download by clicking

The bottles were 1 5/8" wide & deep by 4" tall. I decided there should be a little "wiggle room" between the bottles and from front to back on each shelf, so I decided to use 3 shelves, each being 11 1/2" x 1 7/8". I decided the shelves would be supported by making dados in the inside face of the sides. The dados would be 1/8" deep so 1/4" in total would be lost from the shelf length of 11 1/2, thereby making the useable length of the shelf 11 1/4". With 6 bottles per shelf that would be just enough room between the bottles to make for easy removal from the unit.

Since the bottles were 4" tall, 4 3/4" space between the shelves seemed about right.

The back of the unit would be made of some more leftover material, namely 1/2" oak plywood I had previously used for my serving tray, which I made a couple of months ago. I cut a piece 11 1/4" wide x 17 1/8" tall.

The sides would be made from the 3/8" oak and would be 17 1/8" x 2 3/8". See the drawing below for the location and sizes of the rabbetts and dados, and cut appropriately:

- 3/8"W & 1/8"D dados for the upper 2 shelves and a rabbett of the same specs. for the bottom shelf.

- 1/2"W & 1/8"D rabbetts cut in the rear inside face of the 2 side pieces.

From 1/4" oak or wood of your choice, cut pieces 11 3/4"L x 5/8"W. These will be used to dress up the front of each shelf, and to keep spice bottles from being accidentally pushed off the shelf.. (see photo to the left).

I wanted rounded corners on the front of the sides, so tracing around a spice bottle top, I transferred its curvature to the sides, and cut the curves on my scrollsaw. After sanding all surfaces and edges well, the unit was glued together and clamped. The letters were obtained from Lee Valley tools at a somewhat moderate cost of $.90 each. They were walnut and beautifully made - they were glued to the back centred side to side, and centred in the space above the bottles.

ADDED STRENGTH: Since the bottom shelf was not resting in a dado for support, after drying, pilot holes were drilled through the sides and into the bottom shelf. 2 finishing nails were inserted and set beneath the surface a bit with a nail set. The holes were filled with the appropriate wood filler.

Pilot holes were drilled through each side and into the back. 4 Screws (2 on each side) of an appropriate size (#8) were used to add strength & support to the unit.

I stained my red oak unit with Minwax Pickled Oak stain, and then after allowing it to dry completely, I gave it 3 coats of a water-based lacquer.

This unit can rest on a kitchen counter or be hung from the wall. I wall mounted mine with 3 - 1 1/2" #8 wood screws located in areas hidden by the spice bottles, which went into wall anchors.

This is another relatively quick & easy project which will get a lot of use by the cooks in your family.


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