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Amateur Woodworker

Magazine Rack

The magazine rack

Building a magazine rack is a relatively easy project that you can complete in a weekend. It doesn't require much wood so you may even be able to make it out of the odds and ends lying around in your workshop. Your family will also be happy with the result as you can now tidy-up your woodworking magazines that are no doubt strewn around the house! We used a relative dark wood for this project, but you can easily use birch, or something similar, and stain to the desired color.


Tools required: sander, router

Wood required:

DescriptionQtyWidth ThicknessLength
Legs42 1/4" (57 mm)3/4" (19 mm)15" (381 mm)
Top supports22" (51 mm)1/2" (13 mm)16 1/2" (419 mm)
Center top support11 1/2" (38 mm)1/2" (13 mm)19 1/4" (489 mm)
Center bottom support11 1/2" (38 mm)1/2" (13 mm)16" (406 mm)
Bottom Supports22" (51 mm)1/2" (13 mm)19 1/4" (489 mm)
Side edging43/4" (19 mm)1/4" (6 mm)6 1/4" (159 mm)
Sides (plywood)26 3/4" (171 mm)1/2" (13 mm)9" (229 mm)
Base (plywood)17" (178 mm)1/2" (13 mm)16" (406 mm)
Diagram of leg

The best place to begin this project is with the four leg pieces. Take one of the four legs are make the following routs in it:

1. On the inside (3/4") edge, make a rout that is 1/4" deep and 1/2" wide that runs from 1/2" from the top of the leg to 2 1/2" from the top. This rout should be 1/8" in from each side. This slot will accommodate the top support that runs along the length of the rack.

2. On the same side as step one, make a rout that is 1/4" deep and 1/2" wide that runs from 4" from the bottom of the leg to 6" from the bottom. Again, this rout should be 1/8" in from each side and it will accommodate the bottom support.

3. On the wide inside (2 1/4") face, make a rout that is 1/2" wide, 1/4" deep and that runs from 4 3/4" from the bottom to 13 3/4" from the bottom. The rout should be 1/2" in from the outside edge of the leg (i.e. the edge that did not have routs 1 and 2 put into them).

Once you have made all of these routs, square off the rounded corners so that the sides, bottom and top slot tightly into them. Having done this, sand the leg, rounding off the edges to give a softer look to the project. Then, repeat the above steps for the other three legs. Before making the routs, make sure you have marked out the correct sides so that the inside edges all match up (i.e. face each other so that the top and bottom supports can be slotted in).

Next we need to make the slots in the bottom supports that will accommodate the base plywood. Cut a slot on the inside face (2") that is 1/4" deep and 1/2" wide. This slot should begin 1/2" from the lower edge and should be 16" long (therefore it should begin 1 5/8" from either end of the piece. Repeat this for the second of the bottom supports, squaring off the rounded ends of the slot to allow the base to fit in tightly.

center top support

Now construct one side, gluing the bottom and top supports into two of the legs to build on complete side. Then construct the second side by repeating this step. Once the glue is dry, connect these front and back constructions to the plywood sides and the base, again gluing them together. You now have the main shape of the magazine rack completed. Glue the thin side edging pieces to the top and bottom of the plywood sides, thus hiding the plywood's edging. Now cut the center top support to the correct shape by cutting out a block from each end, as shown in the diagram. Once cut to shape, sand the piece to round off the edges and then glue it on top of the two plywood sides, half way between the front and back.

Finally, sand off the center bottom support and then glue into place on the plywood base, again half way between the front and back support (and therefore matching the position of the top center support).

Give the entire unit a thorough sanding and then stain and wax.

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