I have been told I don’t handle inactivity well. I suspect this is why, each time we visit our daughter in Italy, I seem to fall into some mega construction project.
I first noticed this a few years ago when, upon arrival, I was presented with most of a tree and a subtle hint about it being nice if we had a table in the garden. A few doodles later and it was time to start cutting and drilling wood. This was big heavy wood but luckily a local farmer lent us his fork lift tractor to move the sections around. We were all super pleased with the result.
Slideshow  – Construction of the Garden Table
The Wine Shelves
During our visit in 2021 the subject of “the cave” and wine bottle storage somehow kept cropping up in conversation. Eventually my interest was sparked so I took a proper look. The space was pretty cramped but quickly a rather audacious plan began to form. Luckily I had taken a proper computer with me so having measured the room and the bottles I retired to the lounge to doodle in 3D.
Over the years I have built all sorts of cupboards and shelving systems but never anything for wine bottles. I knew this was going to be something special. I didn’t research anything, I just decided there and then that the shelves would have to be diamond shaped with each section big enough for 16 bottles. Not so hard to build it in the computer.
Slideshow  – The Virtual Wine Shelves
My final design had a theoretical capacity of 880 horizontal bottles plus 120 vertical jars. This was met with approval and enthusiasm all round. Now all I had to do was work out how to build it and how much wood was needed.
The corner section was a simple shelf unit so that was easy. The diamonds were something else. My biggest issue was how to do the joints in a way that was strong, invisible (I do have design standards you know!) and quick, as “holidays” are a finite length. My solution was lots and lots of dowels (little wooden pegs).
As there were going to be 15 main sections and 70 short dividers I also needed a totally repeatable way to accurately drill the 400+ holes for the dowels and screws. My plan was to make a metal template for the holes then use a Vertical Drill to ensure exactly perpendicular drilling. The shopping list was getting longer by the minute.
Amazingly the local wood merchant had a mass of “yellow” wood that was just the right width and thickness. I say “yellow” because it had already been treated with special yellow stuff as it was destined to be used in commercial building construction. Even better – they delivered !
The Vertical Drill was a little harder to find but, after a few attempts, we eventually rolled into a construction company shop that had one in stock with all the features I was looking for. Literally we bought it off the shelf fully assembled and carried it out to the car.
The actual construction took quite a few days and a couple more trips to the shops. Eventually everything went to plan though and, once again, we were all really pleased with the result.
While writing this I realised that not only do I have photographs for a slide show I also have a full 3D model already in the computer. Time for a Computer Animated Video.
Slideshow  – The Wine Shelves Build