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Paint Rack

Joe Kutz

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I have really taken to the dropper bottles, but had a problem with them...previously all my paint shelves were set up for the various odd ball bottles that everyone used (screw caps, flip tops, square bottles, hexagonal bottles, short fat, tall skinny...). Anywho, was a bit of a mess and nearly impossible to keep everything handy and still know what everything is.


So...I looked around a bit to see what else was available. I have a paintier and don't care for it too much. When I am looking for something it is inevitably in the middle or on the back side. Normal shelves would work pretty good, but I kind of prefer to store paint upside down (keeps the air out and paint lasting longer) - dropper bottles are hard to balance on end. Storing them flat was an option...but after I built a shelf to try it out (similiar to PaintByNumbers' shelf) I kept pulling out the paints next to them (fat fingers you know).


So this is what I got:



One section is about 12" x 12" x 2 3/4". It holds 45 paints, and keeps each one on an angle in order to help make shaking the paints easier. It also keeps them top down to keep the air out. I can pretty easily see what the colors are, by looking at them on the bottom - but I am thinking of adding labels under each one with a paint dot. An added accidental benefit is that it looks like I'll be able to hinge them on the side and use them as portable paint cases as well.

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I'll take 3....


Or can this be like The New Yankee Workshop and you'll give an address at the end of the show so I can mail in for a detailed materials list and measured drawing?


And remember - always wear eye protection and be sure to read, understand and follow the safety instructions that come with your power tools!

(Virtually no woodworking skills ~to impatient~ but dang if I don't love that show...)

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Or can this be like The New Yankee Workshop and you'll give an address at the end of the show so I can mail in for a detailed materials list and measured drawing?


And remember - always wear eye protection and be sure to read, understand and follow the safety instructions that come with your power tools!

(Virtually no woodworking skills ~to impatient~ but dang if I don't love that show...)


:lol: I love the show too. Unfortunately, I have woodworking skills. I just lack the space to work, and don't have a barn full of the best equipment available like Norm does.


And, because you know it's going to be said, and I'm the smart arse to do it.


Hey Joe, nice rack!

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Way cool! I would REALLY be interested in some building instructions.


I've been debating getting some of these from Australia: http://www.miniaturescenery.com/SeriesPage.asp?Code=ACC

but they are so expensive for no more paints then they hold. I dabble in woodworking so could definitely make something cheaper - I just haven't had a chance to experiment yet.



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I will be posting a fairly detailed cut list and plans later today hopefully with a number of different tool/assembly options depending on your skill level or shop size. Hopefully that will give a few options or ideas to people who have the tools but haven't quite nailed it down yet.


Right now I am also working on a second configuration with room for brushes and tools.


Keep in mind that 6 of them (2x3) will hold 270 dropper bottles. :blink:

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I don't like storing dropper bottles upside down. The paint drips into the cap and gets messy. I prefer to store my bottles right-side up. I have two Paint Tier 80's and one 40. I'm thinking I need to replace the 40 with another 80. I like the PT's as I keep my bottles in numerical order. If I want something, I just give the PT a spin and it's right there.


The Paint Rack looks cool, but I'd probably want a smaller one to house my "working paints" and use the paintiers for main storage. The same would go for the home-made rack.

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I've also been considering getting one of those racks from miniaturescenery.com for "current project" paints (I have a shelf to store them that works pretty well for me). My current project paints can get a little out of hand and I am constantly hunting for a color again.


I like your shelf, though, and am looking forward to instructions!! =)



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You should consider whether or not you have the time or inclination to make these for sale. Might not be a huge business for you, but might bring some fun money in for you.


Considered and confirmed. While I don't think I'll be able to actually make a profit on them (at least nothing impressive), I do enjoy woodworking enough to commit a few hours a week to doing stuff like this. Hopefully it will cover the wear and tear on tools (if you think your W&N brushes are pricey - take a look at a parallelogram jointer...) and maybe have enough left over to help cover R&D on my next project (next project BTW...Picture fram mini display case with built in light ::D: ). PM me for details - I'll post a link over that direction once I get done with my current job and can get it all sorted.


At the same time - I am not looking to run a business with these...so I have no problem sharing construction techniques and methods for people who want to build there own or build one (or 6...) for friends. So without further ado:



Tools Required:

  • Saw (You can do it with a hand saw...if you do use a back saw, it will help make straighter cuts. Ideally a power miter saw or radial arm saw).
  • Drill (Make sure it has a bit of torque. Any corded drill will work, most good cordless drills will work. A lot of the cheap cordless drills will bog down).
  • 3/32" Drill Bit (used for pilot and marking holes).
  • 1/2" Drill Bit (Used for making the smaller secondary hole for holding the bottle cap).
  • 1" Drill Bit (You can use a forstner, spade, auger or even a hole saw for this. I listed them in my preference for this type of work. Keep in mind the hole saw will limit your ability to make gang drills).
  • Sand paper (80, 120, 160 and 240 grit...or a similiar combination which you prefer).
  • Straight Edge, Square and marking tools.
  • Clamps (Bar/Pipe/Quick Grip clamps capable of spanning 12 1/2").

Optional tools:

  • Router Table w/ 45° Chamfer bit (This allows for a tight fit against the back wall).
  • Bandsaw (If you have more time than money).
  • Planer (If you have more time than money).
  • Jointer (For making your joints tight and square).
  • Additional Joinery bits for your router (For advanced/optional jointing methods).

Materials List:

  • 3/4" x 2 1/2" Oak - 25"
  • 1/2" x 2 1/2" Oak - 23"
  • 1/4" x 2 1/2" Oak - 58"
  • 1/8" Oak Plywood - 13" x 13"
  • Wood Glue (Preferably Titebond III, though any good woodworking glue will work)

Step #1 - Assemble Your Materials

Whenever I do a project like this, I try to use as many materials as possible that can be found straight off the shelf. In this case, that would be everything. Lowes, Home Depot or Menards all carry wood in these rough sizes ready to go in order to minimize things like cutting, ripping and surfacing for those who don't have those luxuries. However, take your time during the selection process. You will want uniform thicknesses in order to make assembly easier, and you will want to avoid wood that is cupped or bowed. Take a combination square in with you in order to check for thicknesses and ensure that any cupping you may have to deal with isn't severe.


The only item which might be a little difficult to find is the plywood. 1/8" Oak can be a tuff find, but you can substitute 1/4" with no serious problems. I used 1/8" for my setup since I have lots of it on hand (I build custom cabinetry and furniture...so I have lots of all the woods on hand) and since I will be hanging mine on the wall, I don't want anymore weight than I need to have.


Step #2 - Measure, Mark and Cut

Measure twice, cut once. Measure three times, cut once and not have to fudge things when you get around to assembly.


For this it is important to know your tools and how they work. RTFM people. Make sure you calibrate your miter saws, and sharpen the blades. A good saw, with a good sharp blade that has been properly calibrated will not need any jointing or planing in order to make tight fits. If you are using hand tools, practice a bit with them. Learn how to best control their cut - and if needed, look for guidance. Most hand tools don't come with manuals, but luckily a lot of old guys like me are around who have been using them for decades and can give you a few tips.


So...the measurements?

2 ea. - 12 3/8" - 3/4" Oak.

2 ea. - 11 1/2" - 1/2" Oak.

5 ea. - 11 1/2" - 1/4" Oak.


The absolute most important measurement is on the 5 - 1/4" pieces. Since these will be in the middle spanning from upright to upright, you need to make sure they are all the same size. If not, well it won't work.


If you are planning on marking all the parts at once, don't. You need to take into account your saw kerf - that is the thickness of your saws cuts. Quite often this is about 1/8", however unless you are very familiar with your tools - you don't want to mark everything and then cut it only to find out that some parts are shorter than you thought.


Quick Tip: Gang Cuts and Chipout

Whenever you have multiple items which all need to be the same size, use gang cutting methods. It will save time and hassles as well. Basically, you want to rough cut your stock 1/2" or so over sized and then bundle all the pieces that need to be the same size together. Then you cut through all the pieces at the same time as opposed to cutting each individually. Since they all get cut at once, they should all be the same size.


Almost anytime I cut anything, I want to limit the ammount of work I need to do to get it ready for use. In order to help facilitate this, you don't want to have any chip-out. Chip out is when the saw blade breaks through the back of the wood and causes the wood to splinter. The cure is simple, sharp blades and blue tape. Obviously you want to use sharp blades - they will keep your tools much happier overall. The tape on the otherhand can be a little confusing. What you do is wrap the wood in the location that the cut needs to be made. By doing this, the tape helps to reinforce the wood when the blade exits it. Less chip out, less time fixing problems.


Step #3 - Drilling Holes

Ugh. 18 holes per rack shelf...90 holes per section...1890 holes in my paint room rack (no they are not all being used). So, there are a lot of holes to drill. Again, layout is the key to success. Each hole is laid out 1 1/4" on center from side to side. The front, larger holes are set back 3/4" from the front and the back smaller set of holes is set back 7/16" from the back. Take your time and make sure you are marking where it needs to be.


OK, you have your first one marked and ready to go. Take the other four and bundle them with the one you have marked (you can clamp them together with blue painters tape...just make sure there is no wiggle room and everything is lined up). Take your 3/32" drill bit and with the parts clamped on a solid flat surface with a sacrifical board under them, drill straight down through all the pieces at once. Make sure you keep the drill plump otherwise each hole will be slightly off from where it should be.


If you have a drill that can handle it - chuck up your two larger bits and finish the holes. The front gets the 1" holes, the back gets 1/2" holes. If you are using a smaller drill, unbundle the shelves and drill each individually. Yes - it is boring, especially after a dozen or so...however this is an integral part of the assembly and you want to take your time.


Step #4 - Bevel the backs

Since the shelves are on an angle - and this design doesn't use any dowel joints or dadoes, you want the backs of the shelves to meet flush with the back of the case for a strong glue joint. In order to accomplish this, the back of the shelf needs to be beveled at a 45° angle. The easiest way to do this, is to use a router table with a 45° degree bit or a table saw (when possible, I prefer to use my router table as opposed to the table saw - since the angle is machined it is more likely to be accurate). However, don't fret if you don't have those toys. You can accomplish what needs to be done with some coarse sand paper. The key though is in the jig. If you tried to put the angle on the board by hand and eyeballed it, you would likely have 5 different angles...many of which are not uniform from side to side.


The jig...

You will need two pieces of wood cut at a 45° angle which are pretty close to the same size and one longer board - about 16" long - which will be your shooting board. The two angled boards will have the shooting board attached so that when you set it on your workbench the shooting board is on a 45° angle. Take a sheet of coarse sandpaper and set it on the workbench. Set the jig on top of that so that the bottom edge is over the paper (I find setting it on an angle - kitty corner allows for a longer stroke). Take each shelf and hold it firmly against the shooting board and slide from side to side till you get the bevel you need. Don't worry - it will go quick. Keep an eye on how much edge you have...you want to stop just when the new face you are creating joins up with the top of the shelf.


Step #5 - Finishing the Shelves

Before you assemble your shelf, you will want to finish the shelves. I like to use Minwax Polysheen for stuff like this. It applies quickly and comes in a number of popular colors. Before you apply the finish though, go over everything with the sandpaper and make sure any chips and splinters are taken care of. Work your way up to the finest grit sandpaper you have - and then be sure to wipe everything down to get ride of the dust. OK - now remember to tape off the back and side edges...they will be your glue joints, so you don't want them to be weekend because the glue can stick to the finished edges.


Step #6 - Assembly

Hopefully everything has been cut to the right size and square. If it has been - the assembly will go quickly. If not - I pitty you.


While assemblying the parts I start by connecting the two side pieces to the top and bottom. Use the shelves as spacers in order to make sure everthing is lined up. Normally I will space them between the sides and hold the sides tight with clamps. When applying glue - make sure you use enough but not too much. You should just barely see a thin bead of glue squeeze out from the edges when clamped. Angle blocks are a great thing here. Use them if you have them...consider getting them if you don't. It will go a long way to make sure things are square when assembled. Measure from across the corners to make sure it is square - if the numbers are the same...you are square. If not, adjust as needed till they match.


Once the glue has dried. Attack the back. If you have a router and a bottom guide bit, just go ahead and attach it as is...a bit oversized. If you don't...mark the backing and cut it to fit. I would double check to see if the location you got it at can cut to size. If so, wait to pick it up till you are at this point - and have them cut it to fit.


The Shelves. Apply glue to the three edges of the shelves and slide them into place. Start with the top shelf. It needs to be spaced about a 1/4" from the top edge...hopefully you have a couple scrap pieces to work as spacers. In order to keep it at the 45° angle, use a scrap block cut to that angle. If everything has been done right up to this point, they should slide slugly into place. Let the first shelf dry for atleast 30 minutes before adding the next.


As far as alignment goes...I use a jig. However the top edge of the shelves are spaced 2" apart. So, if you measure and mark the back before assembly, you can line the shelves up along those marks.


Step #7 - Finish Finishing

There you go. If you left the backing oversized, once the glue has fully dried (overnight) - trim it to size with the flush trim bit. Double check all your edges and clean it up with sandpaper. Once that is done, apply the finish of your choice to the remaining parts.






That shows all the parts you will use (and get in the Kit form) to put one of these together.




Here you see the sides, top and bottom assembled. The completed form uses a bare faced housing joint (similar to how tongue and groove flooring fits together). The glue blocks which hold the paint shelves are also visible.




The backing is installed into rabbet (rebate for those across the ponds) which helps to keep the case square and provide added strength.




Glue is applied to the shelves and glue blocks and they are installed. The glue blocks are cut to align the shelves at 45° to make assembly easier. Since the bonding strength of good quality glues is actually stronger than the strength of the wood itself, you don't have to worry about the shelves coming loose if properly glued in place.




The completed case in an alternate alignment which one of my customers has come to prefer. They have one on either side of their main painting section and with each one angled towards the center, it makes it nice and easy access to their paints, but keep full use of their desk.



I need to sit down with the pictures I took during construction and with my CAD program in order to do up a set of proper plans. However this should get anyone who is interested in doing there own going. Keep in mind, that isn't quite how I do mine. However, I wanted to keep building a drill press jig and other such things out of the mix.

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You can store them both upside down or rightside up - I prefer upside down...but I know not everyone does. If you like the other way, it will save a bit of time during construction, since you have half as many holes.




I thought the picture miniaturescenery.com had was interesting...so I did my own test. What is that, about 135°?



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Keep in mind that 6 of them (2x3) will hold 270 dropper bottles. :blink:


Awesome! LOL, I have a bad paint habit - complete set of RMS, complete set of VMC, core 97 VGC, complete GW, complete P3P, etc. Like I said, bad paint habit :wacko: Needless to say

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Keep in mind that 6 of them (2x3) will hold 270 dropper bottles. :blink:


Awesome! LOL, I have a bad paint habit - complete set of RMS, complete set of VMC, core 97 VGC, complete GW, complete P3P, etc. Like I said, bad paint habit :wacko: Needless to say


And I thought I had a paint habit. Full RMS, lots of VMC but not all by a long shot, liquidated VGC (wasn't using it), no P3P yet.

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Keep in mind that 6 of them (2x3) will hold 270 dropper bottles. :blink:


Awesome! LOL, I have a bad paint habit - complete set of RMS, complete set of VMC, core 97 VGC, complete GW, complete P3P, etc. Like I said, bad paint habit :wacko: Needless to say


And I thought I had a paint habit. Full RMS, lots of VMC but not all by a long shot, liquidated VGC (wasn't using it), no P3P yet.


Why do you think I built the first set of these?


1890 holes in my paint room rack (no they are not all being used).


This weekend I got in my shipment of empty dropper bottles from Western Plastics (5 gross) and commenced to transfering paints. Right now I have the shelves about 1/2 full. Lots of complete sets - lots of custom mixes. Somewhere around 1200 different bottles or so right now. Still have a lot of sorting and transfering to go.



I was asked how I have mine set up? Using Z-Clips.


The back of each section have 1 small z-clip and I have the long sections mounted to the wall - screws in studs. This way I can move stuff around pretty easily from one spot to another if need be.

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