Last year I started an on-again/off-again/on-again/etc. crusade to get rid of stuff in and around the house that was no longer needed, wanted or useful. I admit to being a pack-rat. I admit to being lazy (at times). But when my goat gets up, it won’t stop eating until there’s nothing left to eat. Not sure why that came out, but I am sure someone got the gist of it.
For years we had our VHS tapes sitting on this oak rack. While we still have one combo player that will work with VHS tapes, the only reason for keeping the player is because we have some home-made keepsakes I have yet to digitize. The rest will be donated to someone, or just thrown in the trash if they get into my way one more time.
The rack sides are made of approximately 1” oak. I wanted to repurpose them into a project within my means. We have a lot of blankets in this household, scattered between rooms on two floors. The rack sides were the right dimensions for such a project. This was the first time I had made a blanket rack (or what most would label a quilt rack, by design), so I treated the construction of the rack as a prototype.
The first step was to separate the side boards from the hardwood dowel shelves. I used a flush-cut hand saw for the task. Apparently mine has set to both sides of the blade—next time I will use a business card as a spacer between the blade and workpiece. I used a chisel to clean up any protrusions before running both boards through my DeWALT 734 thickness planer. This also removed the finish, saving me a lot of final sanding time on both sides.
The feet, made from oak pallet runners, were glued and screwed to the oak side boards, while the horizontal braces were only screwed to the sides. I used dark bronze self-tapping furniture screws used in pocket hole joinery which have to date done well in keeping the construction tight. The hearts I cut out with a jigsaw and hand filed and drum sanded with a Dremel.
As you can see from this picture, the hardwood dowel ends were going to be obvious. It was my intention to use oak from pallets for the slats and feet, and to give it a somewhat rustic look. I tried drilling out the stained nail holes and plugging from the same boards. Unfortunately, between my HF Central Machinery bench drill press having major run-out problems, and the box store bought plug cutters being dull as a tablespoon, the result wasn’t what I wanted. I should have left he nail holes in—lesson well learned.
Finish is Minwax Antique (oil-based stain) and several generous applications of Johnson’s Original Paste Wax.
How well has it held up the past 6 months? Just like I made it. The hand knitted herringbone design blanket in the mix is heavy by itself. All the blankets we put on the rack are pretty heavy together. I’m surprised that the top brace, mounted face up instead of edge up, has kept its shape well. Barely any bowing seen once you remove the blankets. But because I didn’t glue in the braces I can replace it, or all the others for that matter. Since the blankets hide the looks of the braces, I’m content to improve the next two racks destined for the master and guest bedrooms, and leave this as a finished prototype.
I repurposed what I would have thrown out. The wife likes it. Win-win.
-- -- Paul Bucalo, Upstate NY USA