before and after

before & after: salvaged wood riddling rack

by Kate Pruitt

I’m not a huge fan of how fences look, but I love using old fence wood for projects. When I spot a few planks in a salvage yard or on the side of the road, I always try to pick them up for future use. I love the way Sarah Hart Morgan has transformed this old fence wood into a chic salvaged riddling rack. It’s such a clever way to store wine bottles and create a cool piece of wall decor all in one. Great work, Sarah! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read more about Sarah’s salvaged riddling rack after the jump!

Time: A few hours (plus drying time for stain)

Cost: $3 (everything else was on hand)

Basic Steps: I was able to save half the time by using leftover fencing material for my Riddling Rack. My original section of fencing was 3 1/2 boards wide. I got my husband to saw off the 1/2 wide board, leaving 3 full-size boards. The 1/2 board was cut into 3 pieces to the width of the rack. Set these aside. Distress the boards if you want a distressed, old-world look. We used several different tools to distress our boards. I then measured and marked the spaces where my holes would go (7 inches between each mark down the length of each board), taking care to make sure they were even on each board. Then, using a 2 1/2 inch circle bit, I cut the holes. I then took each board that had been cut to the width of the rack and using a nail gun, attached the board to the back of the rack, covering up 1/2 the holes on each row. This is where I ran out of free wood, so I went to the hardware store and bought a 1 x 3 x 8 board of wood for $3. I cut this to the width of the rack and using the nail gun, attached these about a quarter of the way down from the first board; do this again for a total of 3 boards overlapping each board previously nailed down. This helps the bottles go in at an angle and also helps the rack hang far enough from the wall so the bottles slide into their necks for a secure fit. After everything was assembled, I sanded everything down, making sure any rough spots were sanded smooth. I then stained the entire piece. I used a mix of stains to achieve the dark color. The fence boards really soak up the stain, so I basically poured the stain on and then brushed it in. I let everything dry for about 36 hours before I hung it up with 100 lb. hangers.

Aside from trying to find a new way to use an object that might otherwise be discarded, a drill press would’ve come in handy for this project. We didn’t own a 2 1/2 inch hole drill bit but were lucky enough to borrow one from a friend. The bit sucks the life out of the drill battery, so be sure to have a backup charged and ready to go; otherwise, the project might take a little longer, as our batteries died after about 2 holes. Also, if you are lucky enough to have a drill press, you might be able to get away with doing this project even more easily. By adjusting the saw to a 45-degree angle, you don’t have to attach the extra boards on the back to achieve the angle you need to get the bottles to slide in properly. — Sarah

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  • Looks great, but please be careful using fencing that is pressure treated – that stuff is not meant for use inside the home!

  • It’s pretty and I like the idea but not the best way to store your wine… Neck-down results in sediment collecting on the cork where it is unwanted and nearly impossible to remove. This position also hides any seepage that may occur from defective cork seals, temperature spikes, or other causes.

  • Donald – Can you expand upon that statement? Is pressure-treated wood unsafe? Why would you need to be careful about bringing it inside?


    Great project, Sarah!

  • Nice job. Pressure treated wood is coated with a chemical including arsenic. In most cases you should not touch it without gloves, or cut it without a dust mask. If it had a sealer on it you might be ok. Looking at the design it doesn’t look like you would be touching the wood all that much.

  • Great idea! I am always looking for interesting DIY projects with odd materials we have left over at work. We are both in construction so projects like this are a breeze, but so rewarding. It would be cool to strip it to give it a rustic look as well.

    I would love some feedback on my site. Just starting out but check it out if you ever get a chance. This is my first time on your site and I will definitely be coming back for more!

  • I thought it had formaldehyde in pressure treated wood that “should” only be used outdoors!

  • I know its a few months later but I did want to clear up the pressure treated lumber concern. Pressure treatment is a chemical to slow down wood decay. It only lasts a few years before it is washed away from rain and snow. It can be harmful to ingest the chemicals but if it was as serious as Donald alluded to It would be band and I would be dead. I’m a carpenter and I’ve built hundreds of fences and handled thousands of PT planks. You shouldn’t bring new pressure treated wood into your house for a project but old stuff is fine.

    One a side note, that is not pressure treated wood in the picture. That is cedar which is a naturally wet wood and does not require pressure treatment because it is so resistant to rot and decay.

    The piece looks great think I will be building one in the coming days.