Wine Cork Display Tutorials #2: Cutting and Measuring

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Blog entry by FaTToaD posted 11-18-2010 07:12 AM 4171 reads 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Intro Part 2 of Wine Cork Display Tutorials series Part 3: Assembly »

In this tutorial I’ll be making three redwood wine box displays. Two will be 12” x 12” x 3”, the other will be 10” x 10” x 2 1/4”. These are the two most common sizes I make, the 12” square box will hold ~125 wine corks, where as the 10” version will hold ~80. It doesn’t look like that many will fit in there, but I promise you they will.

Before we begin, I want to mention that these tutorials will be available on my photography site with larger images. Please follow this link if you are interested: Large Tutorial on Smugmug

I begin by selecting my stock from some Home Depot redwood. The boards are usually 8” long and 5/8” thick. The widths vary from 2 1/4” to 6” with a 1/8” round over on the edges. Most of the time I leave the round over on the 10” boxes, on the larger stock I trim them off.

Once I cut my stock to length and rip to the desired width I setup my tablesaw to make 45 degrees bevel cuts. I add a fence to my miter saw and find a clamp and stock block. You can see my stock to the right of my fence just waiting to be cut.

Since i have been making so many of these things lately, I’ve cut a few pieces of MDF to help with the measurements.

Here you can see how I use them to set the stop block.

Before I begin cutting, I mark my boards with a red pencil to indicate the top of each piece. I then make my cuts playing the top down to the left of the blade a cut a small piece off the end. I then flip the board over, top up, slide it against the stop block and make the final cut. I sit the piece I just cut off to the side then I flip the board back over, top down, and trim off just enough to get rid of the previous bevel cut. After that I flip the board back over, slide it against the stop block again the make the cut. Repeat until you have four sides.

Here you can see all four sides. At this time I usually number the boards in the order they where cut, and place an arrow indicating which edge will be the front. I also mark which board I want to be the top.

I almost always use either board #2 or #3 so the grain warps around the edges of the top.

I take the boards that will become the top and mark the center of each. I then clamp them to the bench with a sacrificial board beneath them and use a 1 1/4” spade bit to drill a hole in the center of the board. This will be were the corks go in. I’m sure a drill press and better bits would make this much easier.

Here you can see the tops with holes drilled.

The next step is to rout the inside of the hole to make make it look smoother. I do this at the router table with 1/2” round over bit and the fence removed. I lower the piece on the bit and rout in a clockwise direction until I have rounded over the entire hole. This can be dangerous process if you’ve never done it before, so be careful and have a firm grip on the the piece as you lower it. Thankfully a 1 1/4” hole with 1/2” round over bit you can lower the board on without the bit touching the wood.

Here you can see the hole after it was routed. Doesn’t that look nice?

Now it’s time to cut the dado for the glass and rout a rabbit for the back. I cut a 1/8” dado on the table saw by setting the blade to make a 3/16” cut 1/4” from the fence. I make sure the top of the piece is up and the arrow pointing towards the front edge is also pointing towards the fence.

If you’re like me and use a thin kerf blade, you may need to adjust your fence just slightly in order to get a 1/8” dado. Practice on a scrap first.

After the dado is cut in the bottom of each piece. I head to the router table to cut a rabbit 5/8” deep by 1/4” tall. I use a rabbiting bit for this, but I’ve also done it in with the tablesaw.

Here’s the pieces after the dados and rabbits have been cut.

The final step is to measure the dado so you know what size glass to get. The easiest way I have found is to place a thin ruler in the dado, place the 1” mark at the bottom left most edge of the dado, then take a reading from the other side and subtract 1”. Don’t forget to subtract that inch!

A note on that glass. I prefer glass because it’s easier to clean up after the finishing. I used plastic on the my first one and it was a disaster. I’m also fortunate enough to know a place that is friendly, fast, and dirt cheap to get my glass from. My last order was for 14 pieces of glass ranging from 9” square to 11” square and it cost me less that $30 and was ready in a couple days.

That’s it for now. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are inspired to make your own. Next time I’ll cover cutting the plywood back and assembly.

Comments and feedback our always welcome! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks.


Large Tutorial on Smugmug

-- David

5 comments so far

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 3150 days

#1 posted 11-18-2010 08:28 AM

Ah, I realized my mistake, I assembled the box first, and then tried drilling and rounding over the hole. Your assembly steps are much more logical. Great job.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View JamesVavra's profile


304 posts in 3344 days

#2 posted 11-18-2010 04:22 PM


Great blog. I’ve made similar projects and one thing I’ve always done differently is to cut the dado and rabbit on the long piece of stock before I crosscut the it into individual pieces.

For me at least, it makes it glaringly apparent which is the inside and the outside when the shorter pieces are being cut. Also, it prevents me from screwing up the grain wrapping around the edge by flipping a piece 180’. It does require that you start with a board that is long enough to make all four sides, so it’s not always an option.


View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3079 days

#3 posted 11-18-2010 07:28 PM

So far, this is an excellent tutorial. The pictures and amount of detail listed on every step is very helpful.

I’m curious to read the future tutorials through completion.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3757 days

#4 posted 11-18-2010 08:07 PM

great blog!! these would make excellent Christmas gifts, even better if one were to throw in a bottle with the first cork for the collection (-:

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3046 days

#5 posted 11-18-2010 08:57 PM

Ha, we have a friend who we make fun of (behind his back ofcourse) because whenever we see him at parties we all keep an eye out on him because he is forever surreptitiously filching corks whenever a bottle is opened and it is laying on the counter, he will walk by and without being obvious will reach out and put the cork in his pocket. Once upon seeing him do it the hostess later asked him for the cork, cause the bottle was not empty, he denied having it! That was how the cork fable got started. Whenever we see a cork laying around, we would say this is for “Charles” or look around and ask where is “Charles”? Yes it gets old after a while but almost every time someone in our circle of friends get together it will invariably come up if there is a cork around! If you hand Charles a cork he will say he doesn’t want it but it always disappears later! Always! This would be a perfect gift for him! Thanks for posting!

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

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