Folding towel rack made out of ash wood

the folding towel rack was build out of laminated ash wood planks

While building the small bathroom cabinet (the washbasin cabinet) made out of ash wood and white painted MDF, I also built a folding towel rack to match with it. For both projects I used two frames made out of laminated ash wood to look like they are part of the same set of bathroom furniture.

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How to build a simple free standing folding towel rack out of laminated ash wood

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Preparing the two frames using laminated wood

1. For building this folding towel rack I used laminated ash wood boards. More details about how to laminate timber woods quicker and the clamping system to laminate timber you can find in the dedicated posts.

2. I planed the laminated boards with the thicknesser until they got to the final size of 4 cm by 3 cm.

planing the laminated ash wood boards so they got to the final sizes
Planing the laminated ash wood

3. I cut them to the needed lengths with the circular saw, so that:

  • the larger frame was going to be 140 cm long and 50 cm wide
  • the smaller frame was going to be 131.5 cm long and 41.5 cm wide
cutting all the laminated pieces to the needed lengths for building the wooden folding towel rack
Cutting the pieces of laminated ash wood to the needed lengths

In a few simple steps we got all the pieces needed for this towel rack.

these are all the pieces of laminated wood needed to build the simple free standing folding towel rack
All the pieces of wood needed to build the towel rack

Next, I started to build the two wooden frames. I wanted to build them using “box joints”. I chose this type of corner joint for two reasons: first, because of the strength of this type of joint, and second because the corners of the frames would look better. Another reason was to match the washbasin cabinet.

1. I marked the depth of the cuts at one end of one piece of wood: 3 cm.

I marked the end of the cuts at one end of one piece of laminated wood
Marking the end of the cuts

2. I made repetitive cuts on the ends of the long pieces of wood with the band saw.

I made repetitive cuts at the ends of the longer pieces of laminated woods
The cuts at the ends of the longer pieces

For these repetitive cuts, I used a block of wood as a stopper. The block was very useful, because I didn’t have to measure the cutting depth for each end of the boards.

this is the way I used the block of wood to make repetitive cuts into the ends of the laminated wood boards
The block of wood used for repetitive cuts into the ends of the boards

3. Between the two cuts, I made a few more (using the same block of wood as stopper), so that I can more easily make the cutouts at the ends with the chisel.

I made a few more cuts into the ends of the laminated boards
Few more cuts made in order to cutout the ends of the boards

4. I finished all the cutouts with a chisel. I am not very good in handling a chisel, but the cutouts came out well enough to be sure that the box joints will be strong.

finishing the cutouts into the ends of the laminated wooden boards with a chisel
Finishing the cutouts into the ends of the planks

5. I also made the cutouts into the ends of the shorter laminated boards. All the cuts were made with the band saw.

these are the cutouts made into the ends of the shorter pieces of laminated wood used for the folding towel rack
The cutouts into the ends of the shorter pieces of wood

6. I did the first test of the joints to make sure all the cutouts were done well:

before gluing up the frames for the folding towel rack, I made a first test
I made the first test to check the box joints before gluing them up

7. I applied the water based adhesive (PVA glue) on the ends of the boards.

I applied the water based adhesive to build the frames for the simple folding towel rack
Appling the water based adhesive

8. After checking that the two diagonals of the frame have equal lengths (which means they have 90 degrees angles), I tightened the joints with C clamps.

I used C clamps to tighten the corner joints of the towel rack frames
Tightening the corner joints

After all these, I had two wooden frames, to which I had to find a joint system.

these are the two laminated ash wood frames needed to build the simple folding towel rack
The two wooden frame

The wooden frames joining system for this folding towel rack

I chose a joining system for the two wooden frames consisting of a threaded insert and a M8 hex head screw. For that:

  • I measured the middle of the long boards on the inside face of the frame
I marked the center of the towel rack frames in order to drill the holes for the joining system
Marking the center of the frames
  • in the smaller frame I drilled one half depth hole with a forstner drill (deep enough to hide the head of the screw) and an 8 mm hole in the center of the first hole
I drilled two holes for the joining system of the folding towel rack
The two drilled holes
  • in the larger frame I drilled a 11.5 mm hole deep enough to screw the threaded insert
I will screw the insert nut into the small frame of the towel rack
The insert nut will be screwed into the larger frame

Finishing the wooden folding towel rack

With the joining system completed, we started to finish this folding towel rack:

  • I sanded all the surfaces (to remove the planer marks and the joints on the corners) with the belt sander with 150 grit sandpaper.
i sanded all the surfaces of the two towel rack frames with the belt sander using 80 grit sandpaper
Sanding the frames with the belt sander
  • I filled with wood putty any spaces at the corner joints
i filled the remained spaces at the corners with wood putty
Filling the remained spaces with wood putty
  • after the putty dried I sanded the two wooden frames with the orbital sander using 120 grit sandpaper
I sanded the two frames of the bath towel holder with 120 grit sandpaper using the orbital sander
Sanding the frames with the orbital sander
I rounded the edges of the bath towel holder frames using the router with a rounded router bit
Rounding the edges with a rounded router bit
  • I sanded the rounded edges with 120 grit sandpaper to remove the router traces
  • at the end I applied two coats of oil
I finished the two frames of the wooden folding towel rack by applying two layers of oil
Applying two layers of oil

In order for this towel holder not to fall down when it is used, we decided to use an extremely simple system, with stainless steel screws. I drilled the holes in the sides of the frames and I deepened the holes. I inserted one end of a thin string into the hole and then I screwed in a stainless steel screw. In this way, the end of the string is wound on the screw, and the string is tensioned. This system seemed extremely simple to us, because with this string, the opening of the towel rack can be adjusted easily.

this is the system we used to adjust the opening of the folding towel rack, with a stainless steel screw and a thin string
The system to adjust the opening of the folding rack
this is the system used to join the two frames of the wooden folding towel rack
The system used for joining the two frames
our simple folding towel rack made out of ash wood boards arrived at destination
The simple folding towel rack in use
the folding towel rack made out of laminated ash wood boards
Ash wood folding towel rack

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