We have always wanted a vintage-style wine rack for our dining room – and the frigid winter temperatures that swept through Ohio last week gave us the perfect opportunity to finally create it!

Our wine rack created for free from old barn and pallet wood.

Mary and I have never been fond of the “cabin-fever” that can set in during the cold winter months – and a project like this was the perfect recipe to pass the time.

So we braved the cold in the garage to cut all of the pieces – then hustled back inside to assemble.

We were able to create the piece for little cost utilizing reclaimed barn and pallet lumber. Even better – some of it came from my dad’s old barn to add a little sentimental value. The rough-cut of the wood really gave a beautiful rustic feel to the piece.  

The Building Process:

The wine rack is basically an assembly of small ladders. The ladders are then attached to a top and bottom strip board that create the entire rack.

The first step was to cut out (125) 3/4 x 3/4 x 10" long pieces for the wine holding strips
The first step was to cut out (125) 3/4 x 3/4 x 10″ long pieces for the wine holding strips.  The rough cut white oak boards from pallets make perfect wood for this.

We started by taking scrap pieces of white oak pallet wood and cut them down into 3/4″ strips with the table saw.  Once the strips were cut, we used the chop saw to cut all of the strips into 10″ lengths. In all – 125 of them! These would become the “rungs” of the ladder.  We then used the table saw and chop saw to cut 2″ wide x 36″ long strips for the two “rails” of the ladder.


For the "legs" of each ladder - we cut 1 3/4" wide strips that were 36" long
For the “legs” of each ladder – we cut 1 3/4″ wide strips that were 36″ long

Next came putting all of the pieces together – always our favorite part of any project!

To make assembly easy – we made a simple jig, or “guide”. Regular wine bottles will fit perfectly in a 3 1/2 x 3 1/2″ opening – and we knew we wanted our rack to stand 36″ high.  So we created the guide from two scrap pieces of wood to work with those measurements. An inexpensive nail gun set is an incredible tool for this project -we would be lost without ours!  Porter Cable Nail Gun / Compressor set

To make the jig – we placed spacer boards 3 and 1/2 ” apart to create an opening for the ladder rungs. We then nailed a straight edge guide board on each side to align the ladder rails and keep them exactly 10″ apart.

Once we had the guide jig – it was easy to assemble identical ladder sections.

The individual ladder sections assembled
The individual ladder sections assembled

We laid in each of the wine strips to the openings in the jig – placed the two rails against the edge guides – and nailed together with 1 and 1/4″ nails from the nail gun.

For a little extra strength – we did apply a drop of glue to each wine strip before nailing. The jig held it all perfectly in line, and in about 30 seconds and with the quick pop of a couple of nails at each glue point – we had a completed ladder section.

We had to create a total of 13 ladder sections, 8 of them 36″ long, and 5 that were 14″ long.  We repeated the steps using the jig and in 20 minutes, had all of the individual sections ready for final assembly.

We then assembled the "ladders" to a top and bottom board - spacing them 3.5" apart.
We then assembled the “ladders” to a top and bottom board – spacing them 3 and 1/2″ apart.

We then attached the sections by nailing to the top and bottom trim boards, leaving 3 and 1/2 inches of space between each to make room for the bottles.  We worked our way across the piece – and in 30 minutes, had them all nailed in place. We left a 4 and 1/2″ space between the middle two sections to hold 6 larger magnum wine bottles.

Once the sections were all together – we checked for square and then nailed in the top and middle shelf boards to complete the wine rack.

Once we had the top and bottom boards attached to all of the ladders - all we needed was to attach the top and middle shelf.
Once we had the top and bottom boards attached to all of the ladders – all we needed was to attach the top and middle shelf.

For the shelves – we salvaged two aged pieces of barn wood we kept when we tore down dad’s barn – and they really finished off the piece perfectly.  And with that – it was complete!

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Happy Building – Jim and Mary!

16 thoughts on “Building A Classic Wine Rack From Pallets And Reclaimed Barn Wood

  • February 1, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Hi Jim and Mary. Thanks for sharing this tutorial. I started building a similar wine rack this weekend and found the hardest part being building the “ladders” consistently. Only completed two so far. The jig you created is fantastic. I am going to construct for myself to complete the rest. This really opened my eyes.

    Thank you,

  • June 14, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Great ideas for projects.
    Went out last evening and got a load if skids to make the bench to sit overlooking the river at our house.


    • December 31, 2014 at 7:10 am

      That looks great Mike! so glad you passed along the picture of it – really love the wood you used too!

  • December 22, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    I love love loooove this and would really love to try to make something similar, although I haven’t attempted anything like it before! Any idea where I would I find the wood to make this? I live in Northeast Ohio 🙂

    • December 23, 2014 at 8:38 am

      Hi Melissa – you might try to find a local sawmill or lumber yard- a lot of times they will carry rough cut lumber on the cheap. There are actually quite a few of them in Ohio, which is great for us! 🙂

  • January 15, 2014 at 9:41 am

    This is so incredibly cool. I would like to build one of these for our living room. I love that you built the jig to ensure uniformity. I’ve started getting into the habit of using jigs when possible, and it makes such a difference. Thanks for sharing!

  • January 15, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Awesome project and great tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • January 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    wow, excellent, I have just the wine for that rack, speaking of which, I think i need a glass! c

  • January 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Love this! Thanks for posting!

  • January 14, 2014 at 8:39 am

    wonderful! I love the rustic look of it too!

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