How to make a simple folding towel rack
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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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.
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
In a few simple steps we got all the pieces needed for this 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.
2. I made repetitive cuts on the ends of the long pieces of wood with the band saw.
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.
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.
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.
5. I also made the cutouts into the ends of the shorter laminated boards. All the cuts were made with the band saw.
6. I did the first test of the joints to make sure all the cutouts were done well:
7. I applied the water based adhesive (PVA glue) on the ends of the boards.
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.
After all these, I had two wooden frames, to which I had to find a joint system.
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
- 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
- in the larger frame I drilled a 11.5 mm hole deep enough to screw the threaded insert
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 filled with wood putty any spaces at the corner joints
- after the putty dried I sanded the two wooden frames with the orbital sander using 120 grit sandpaper
- I rounded all the edges of the two wooden frames using a round-over router bit with a medium radius (first, I just wanted to bevel the outer edges, but I didn’t really like what the rack looked like)
- I sanded the rounded edges with 120 grit sandpaper to remove the router traces
- at the end I applied two coats 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.