Bathroom Towel Rack

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Project by wing1319 posted 12-15-2015 03:57 PM 2569 views 34 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this for my wife for our last anniversary. The original inspiration was a photo of a wine rack made with painted metal loops. The upright is maple and the loops are walnut. I built and used a fixture described by Michael Fortune in an issue of Fine Woodworking for steam bending thin pieces of wood using a metal pipe and a blowtorch. I had never bent wood before but it wasn’t difficult at all. It was amazing to heat the walnut on the pipe and feel the wood ‘give’. Making the loops was actually the easy part.

Now how do I join the curved loops to the square upright? Ugh. It was the most difficult joinery I’ve ever attempted. I guess you can call it a curved bridle joint. I used a combination of a trim router with an 1/8” bit, bandsaw, and 1/8” chisel. Each loop required four different joints: Different arc between top and bottom, and mirror image between right and left sides. Finishing it was no picnic either.

I have since come up with a different joinery method if I try to make another one. Not doing that to myself again.
I think it came out pretty cool and I love the reactions of guests when they find out it really is made out of wood.

Hope you like. Thanks.

Thanks for the great comments.
Here is the link (with videos!) to the Fine Woodworking article (Issue #205 April 2009):

I added two more pics that hopefully show a little more detail.

14 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17448 posts in 2906 days

#1 posted 12-15-2015 04:08 PM

That is awesome, love the different way of thinking on this. More info in the bending would be loved by many on here I’m sure. Great post, I’m sure she loves it.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View parkprimus's profile


93 posts in 839 days

#2 posted 12-15-2015 04:10 PM

Very nice – just goes to show that if one puts there mind to it, anything can be made from wood.
Thanks for sharing!!!

View Ebro's profile


158 posts in 1453 days

#3 posted 12-15-2015 04:31 PM

That is a brilliant design. Well done!

View majuvla's profile


10589 posts in 2585 days

#4 posted 12-15-2015 06:54 PM

Impressive work with all those joinery. Very unique rack. Those curves are realy beautiful.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View pottz's profile


1752 posts in 702 days

#5 posted 12-15-2015 08:49 PM


-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View jerkylips's profile


274 posts in 2288 days

#6 posted 12-15-2015 09:13 PM

When I first looked at this, I thought that you had slots cut into the upright that the curved pieces slid into. The curved pieces are actually cut around the upright?

View jburklow's profile


91 posts in 2391 days

#7 posted 12-15-2015 09:16 PM

awesome project very creative and still functional. going to add this one to my favorites and give it a try!

-- Jeff Lemont, IL.

View Josh's profile


1217 posts in 2287 days

#8 posted 12-15-2015 10:19 PM

This is fantabulous. I love the design. Could you add a pic without the towels? I’d like to see how they are attached/joined on the underside. Nice work!

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

View Mean_Dean's profile


5541 posts in 2865 days

#9 posted 12-16-2015 12:56 AM

Great looking towel rack—probably the most unique I’ve seen!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Ted's profile


2808 posts in 1929 days

#10 posted 12-16-2015 01:59 AM

It looks really nice, the difficult joinery definitely worth the effort.

-- The first cordless tool was a stick. The first power tool was a rock.

View drewpy's profile


594 posts in 1074 days

#11 posted 12-16-2015 03:36 AM

Turned out great. Nice work and beautiful.

-- Drew in Ohio -- "The greatest wealth is health".

View cebfish's profile


144 posts in 2406 days

#12 posted 12-16-2015 02:09 PM

I would also like to see the wood bending process

View helluvawreck's profile


27192 posts in 2584 days

#13 posted 12-16-2015 02:19 PM

That is so creative and nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View MrFid's profile


836 posts in 1622 days

#14 posted 12-16-2015 03:25 PM

Great look! Love the design.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

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