Begin with the "end in mind." Lay nine empty tennis ball cans on their sides and glue them together tightly. When the glue dries, hold them up to the side of a cabinet. Or hold a few galvanized double wall heat ducts up to a side cabinet or nook to test for wine bottle depth (Images 1 and 2). Got the picture?
With a fresh mental image, it's time to find a place to hang this creative and functional art piece and determine its size: six, 9 or 12 bottles.
Call around to local building rental supply locations. Ask for a portable MIG flux cored welder. Note: There is a difference between the flux cored and the compressed gas MIG welder. A welding helmet will also be needed for safety protection.
Using a welding tool has inherent hazards. The light produced is extremely bright and potentially harmful. Always wear proper attire. Sparks are very hot and burn through most fabric. Thick leather gloves are mandatory. Proper ventilation is required. The welding smoke and fumes pose health risks. The welding gun is electrically charged.Treat it as though it will deliver an electric shock. Ask the rental supplier for a detailed lesson and a safety briefing.
Create a half frame jig by screwing two 2x4s into the work table. When the ducts are aligned side by side in the jig, the tops will be resting against the jig and the sides parallel to each other. Hold ducts together with metal clamps.
Working down the line and on one side only, tack-weld the ducts together (Images 1 and 2). Place four or five tack welds between each duct. The top tack weld should be about four inches down from the top end of the duct. Take care not to burn through the outside wall of the galvanized duct while tacking.
Allow the tack welds to cool before handling. With care, transport the newly created wine rack to the mounting location.
With welds hidden, hold the wine rack up to the side wall or cabinet. If mounting the rack in a nook, add stability by pushing the bottom end of the duct rack against the wall. With an assistant holding the rack horizontally against the wall, drill a pilot hole inside the top duct and into the wall. Note: A drill bit extension may be helpful. Insert the first screw to secure the rack to the wall. For a strong attachment, sink the screws into a wall stud. Do the same for each duct opening (Images 1 and 2).
The attachment screws must firmly connect the rack to the wall or cabinet side. If the wall-mounted rack is attached to drywall, make certain the screws hit wall studs. If not, drill pilot holes and insert ribbed wall anchors to secure the screws.
The back wall of the nook can be painted with writeable and erasable chalkboard paint. This built-in chalkboard can then help label the wine bottles. The chalkboard can also be trimmed out with a small frame. Shelving can be fabricated inside the nook, with built-in shelves below and above the wine rack.
If a nook or cabinet side is not available, a wine rack can still be created. Use a self-standing pyramid shape. The ducts can be tack welded together starting with four ducts on the bottom row, three ducts connected above, followed by two, then one duct at the top.
For a bold display, tack-weld the ducts into a unique shape and hang the fixture from the ceiling. Note: The tack welds will be visible, therefore, tack both sides of the ducts cleanly. The weight will be significant, therefore, securely fasten the rack to the ceiling. If a welding tool is out of your capabilities, a rivet gun may replace the welder. Pre-drill matching pilot holes to insert the rivets at both ends of the duct, taking care to align the ducts and their holes. Feel free to be creative.