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Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack

An apothecary cabinet style spice rack that allows standard re-sealable plastic containers to be used for internal storage, but with an external wooden framework for asethetics. The re-sealable plastic containers ensure stored contents are protected from insects, humidity etc.

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  • Apothecary Cabinet/Spice RackApothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack

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    Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack - isometric

    Plan 1: Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack - isometric front

  • Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack rearApothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack rear

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    Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack - rear view

    Plan 2: Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack - isometric rear

  • Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack detailApothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack detail

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    Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack - detail

    Plan 3: Apothecary Cabinet/Spice Rack - detail

Typically, spices are sold in small glass bottles and spice racks usually are designed to accomodate such standard products. In addition to spices, there is also a need to store 'powders' such as flour, salt, sugar and other such ingredients. These more 'bulk' materials are typically stored in 'canister sets'. Since we bake our own bread, there was a need to have such ingredients readily available. So the combination of a spice rack and canister set would be convenient for the kitchen bench top, something like an apothecary cabinet.

However, the draws of an apothecary cabinet are not particularly resistent to stopping insects or protecting contents from humidity etc. The best protection for cooking ingredients is the ubiquitious plastic container. But such plastic containers are not particularly attractive and need to stored in any case. This lead to the idea to design an 'apothecary cabinet' that would look attractive in the kitchen, yet the internals would use standard re-sealable plastic containers to protect the contents being stored.

Design Background/Plastic Containers

Standard re-sealable plastic containers are readily available in a variety of sizes. The size of containers that are desired to be used will obviously form the basis of the design of the 'apothecary cabinet'. I chose 2.5L (20cm x 14cm x 9cm) and 1.25L (10cm x 14cm x 9cm) size plastic containers, in addition, 'standard' size glass bottles for spices ( This project utilises the template used in the construction of the Paper Towel Holder to give the heart-shaped backing-plate that forms the book holder.

This demonstrates the advantage of using templates with router flush trimming bits, as a number of projects can be performed, and reproduced with relative ease. The size of the heart-shape was determined previously for the paper towel holder, but was fortunately large enough to be useful in a number of other situations.

The heart-shape has also been used as a teapot coaster, ash-tray base and a couple of other small items that make pleasing gifts.

Heart Shape Template

Firstly, print the heart shape template (Plan 2 from the Paper Towel Holder project) on paper and then cut out using scissors. Paste this cut paper template onto a suitable piece of 'scrap' fibro-board, chip-board or other approximately 5mm thick material.

Using a coping saw or similar, carefully cut the heart shape into the template material. The more precise the shape the better, as the final shape achieved will be exactly reproduced into the final material that will form the base of the paper towel holder.

Cutting the Heart Shape

Using hot-glue or similar, attach the prepared heart shaped template to the piece of timber that forms the backing plate. Using a coping saw or similar, 'rough' cut so that the piece of material that will form the backing plate is approximately the shape of the heart.

Using a router with a flush trimming bit, then trim the remaining material (make sure the bearing on the flush trimming bit runs against the heart shaped template). Once completed, remove the heart shaped template.

Using a round-over router bit, round off the edges. With successively finer grade sand-paper, sand the work piece smooth.

Base Plate

Using the dimensions given in Plan 1 and Plan 2 above, cut the necessary pieces to form the base. The size of the base-plate (and the heart-shaped backing plate) allow A4 size books to be easily accomodated by the book stand.

Using a round-over router bit, round of the edges of the base. With successively finer grade sand-paper, sand the work piece smooth.

Assemble the various pieces and attach using wood glue.

The completed work piece is then 'painted' with three coats of clear varnish, or stained and coated with a similar product of choice.


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