A bathroom magazine rack

You know how you move into a house, throw everything in place until you can fix it later, but some things are just barely good enough that they never get fixed?

Like this:

A plastic bowl on a little stool.

Pitiful.

(My wife would want me to rush to assert that the rest of our house isn't as sloppy. She rarely uses this bathroom, which is why it didn't get her attention. Also, she's not a nag, one of the many reasons our marriage is so happy.)

I could have bought a magazine stand, of course, but what's the fun in that? Instead, I designed and built a simple rack that can be wheeled into place.

 

In its corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pulled away from the corner, the top shelf opened. Note the incline.

 

Magazine or catalog on the shelf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now isn't this better than the catalog way down on the floor or falling off our lap?

 

The rest of the photos are just for those who enjoy a little woodworking, describing the building of this "masterpiece." Sane people with full lives can safely leave now.

 

First we get the table saw out. A third of the garage is for tools. Still able to park a car.

 

Scrap wood is against the wall and in the plastic bin at right.

 

Bought this table saw about twenty years ago on my son Ben's excellent recommendation. Hope the saw lasts as long as I do. Unusual feature is the sliding table to the left of the blade. Below the saw are the fence and the adjustable miter, needing just seconds to install.

 

OK, let's start. We've bought a piece of straight pine, 1 x 10 x 3/4, 6 feet long. (The small CD player at the top right of the radio plays through the speakers. A fun project made even better with favorite music.)

 

We also bought a 20-pound block of stone, which later we find we won't need, and casters, which we will. Also a hinge if we don't have one in our parts bin, as I did.

 

I forgot to mention, because I had a spare piece already, that we'll also need a 1 x 4 x 3/4, 6 feet long. Edge join it to the 1 x 10, as the back of the rack is about 12 inches wide.

 

We start with the box at the bottom of the rack. After cutting the pieces to size (about 4 x 12 for the front, 4 x 9 for the sides), we trim their ends 45 degrees so their joints will look better and be stronger than a butt joint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gluing the box together.

 

Holes drilled for the 3/8" dowel rods. I like dowels; they add strength and they look good in contrast with the wood they're in. I don't execute dowels well, but on projects like this, it doesn't much matter.

 

Dowels inserted and glued in their holes.

 

Dowels cut flush.

 

Checking inside corners one last time. If not a good 90 degrees, might as well start over.

 

With corners OK, can proceed to sand outside smooth.

 

We also round the edges, making the rack a little better to handle than if it had sharp edges.

 

Gluing bottom of box to sides.

 

Gluing back piece to box. What the photo doesn't show is that the top of the back piece is ten degrees higher at the right side than the left. Lets the shelf, when open, tilt toward the reader.

 

Oh, here's a photo that shows the angle. (So much fun working with wood on a rainy day.)

 

If the back is angled, so must the braces. A little challenging. My high school geometry class kicks in.

 

Another photo that shows the angled braces more clearly. This reminds me, I didn't discuss making the braces. Cut triangles, not quite isosceles (see!), then use a band saw (which I don't have) or belt sander (which I do) to make a more attractive curve.

 

Dowels to reinforce the back to the box.

 

Here's how I cut dowels to consistent length. See how the sliding table is useful? (The triangle is just scrap wood that stays behind as the dowel rod slides forward. Keeps the end of the dowel from getting caught by the fence.)

 

My workshop/garage. Not the New Yankee Workshop, but I'm sure not as skilled as Norm either. Works fine for the simple projects I do.)

 

Dowels to support the braces to the fixed part of the top shelf.

 

Gluing the top shelf to the back. Not shown are two more long clamps which I'll put at the corners.

 

Same as above viewed from the other direction. Titebond III is overkill for indoors, but it's easier to have one great glue for all uses than to have many specific ones go bad.

 

I cut the dark varnished piece from some scrap wood. Was countertop grade and turned out to be a nice color contrast. I thought one row of dowels would be enough to hold up the magazines. So wrong.

 

How will we keep the piece of dark wood in place? My first thought went to dowels, of course, but even I realized that was an awful idea. Then it hit me: small braces in each corner, plus thin braces in the middle of the long sides, all the same length, to support the dark wood piece. Here they are being glued into place. Then the 20-lb stone can sit in the box, providing a low center of gravity, hidden by the dark wood piece.

 

First coat of varnish. Polyurethane. Again, overkill. Again, worth the peace of mind.

 

Installing casters. Short screw is for 3/4" bottom.

 

The weight could go in, but it turned out the rack was stable enough without it. (Yes, I over-engineered it.) Note the top shelf has the flip-half installed. Note also the screw in the end. There's also a screw at the other end, and one in the middle. Keeps the flip-half (the right side) level with the fixed side (on the left). Another thing I didn't think about but that, fortunately, had an easy solution. Part of the joy of designing your own projects is that you're always having to think about solutions to problems you didn't expect to have.

 

The bottom in place. We've added more dowel rods to let the magazines stand upright.

 

Like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And we're done.

A good woodworker could have knocked this out in a morning. A pin nailer would have eliminated all those dowels and gluing and much sanding. It took me, off and on, a week.

I think I was dragging it out for the fun of it.

 

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