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How to Build a Reclaimed Wine Rack

Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva and host Kevin O’Connor build a wine rack out of a reclaimed beam.

Build a Wine Rack:

  1. If using old wood, start by checking the pieces for old nails using a metal detector and pull them out before they damage any of the tools for the project.
  2. Start by cutting pieces for the top of the wine rack to size with the miter saw.
  3. Fasten the top of the wine rack together using wood glue and clamps. While the glue dries, work on the rest of the rack.
  4. Rip the legs down to 2”x2” using the table saw. Then, run all the legs through the surface planer as well. Turn each leg to ensure all four sides are smooth, but also stay square.
  5. Use the router to cut stop dados in the legs to accept the wood for the back and sides.
  6. Cut 1” stiles for the sides and back of the wine rack. Make dado cuts with the router to accept the lumber for the rails.
  7. Cut the lumber being used for the rails to size using the table saw. Make rabbet cuts in the lumber using the router.
  8. Give all the pieces a light sanding using the palm sander and 150-grit sandpaper.
  9. Drill out pocket holes in the rails and then assemble the legs, stiles, and rails together using the dado slots. Secure all the pieces together with the pocket screws.
  10. Cut the pieces for the racks down to 1x1”. Measure and mark the front and back pieces of the rack so that the dividers in the middle are evenly spaced across the rack.
  11. Cut mortises for the floating tenons in the marked locations on the front and back pieces, and on the ends of the dividers.
  12. Assemble the racks using wood glue and the floating tenons.
  13. Secure the racks to one side using the brad nailer. Then, slide the back panel into the legs and secure those with pocket screws.
  14. Add the other side to the wine rack and secure the racks to that side with the brad nailer as well.
  15. To make the glass holders, cut a few pieces of wood roughly the size of the racks. Turn the angle of the table saw blade out 15 degrees and cut the wood so it has a V shape on one side. Keep the other side straight. Ease over the curved edges with a block plane.
  16. Cut more pieces of wood to the same size but keep them flat on all sides. Glue those pieces to the V pieces so they become an upside-down T shape.
  17. Cut some support pieces the width of the wine rack. Line up all the upside-down T glass holders evenly along the support pieces. Then, nail the upside-down Ts to the support pieces with the brad nailer.
  18. Slide the wine glass holder rack into the wine rack and secure it with more brad nails.
  19. Once the top has dried, screw it onto the rest of the rack using wood screws.
  20. Apply the desired finish and allow the finish to dry.


Tom used an old piece of white pine he pulled from a job site years ago and had been holding onto in his workshop. When deciding what wood to save and what wood to get rid of, in general, Tom holds on to old wood that has a tight grain. This project could also be done with a variety of different types of lumber that can be found at home centers and lumber yards.

The wood glue Tom used to assemble the top and some of the other pieces of the rack is manufactured by Gorilla Glue.

For the top, Tom finished it with a black wood stain, sanded it down until some of the color of the wood grain came back, and then coated it with some wipe-on polyurethane. These can be found at home centers. The other materials Tom used for the wine rack can also be found a home centers.

Shopping List

  • Preferred lumber for base, top, and rails
  • Wood glue
  • 150 grit sandpaper
  • Wood screws
  • Floating tenons
  • Brad nails