THE first casualty of the kitchen remodel--three weeks ago or something, now--was the cabinet over the refrigerator, after the new Kenmore Trio (French doors, freezer on the bottom, satinéed steel finish) proved taller than anticipated. Those cabinets were practically useless anyway, nearly impossible to reach, storage for stuff carefully chosen as to be needed only once or twice a decade. At 32" plus they were too wide to be relocated over the sink (not that I wanted them there; it's just the only possible spot). Stood upright they could have gone in between the floor cabinetry we're rearranging, but my Poor Wife's idea was to create a plate rack to sit atop the new fridge.
This seemed a fairly straightforward project (make cleats, drill holes, insert dowels). Whenever anything seems fairly straightforward what little experience I have kicks in, and I start to consider things carefully. I knew, for example, that drilling several dozen holes which needed to be more or less perpendicular and more or less evenly spaced was beyond my ability to freehand, so I went looking for a drill guide. This proved to be more of an adventure than I anticipated; even the guy at The Hardware Dump (motto: "If You Can't Find It Here You Haven't Knocked Over the Right Pile of Shit Yet") looked at me like I'd asked where they keep the spat grommets. My concern that it all seemed too simple led me to check for plans on the internet (motto: "Home of Expert Commentary from People Who Know Even Less than You Do"). The results confirmed my basic plan, but I found someone whose measurements seemed authoritative and I used that as my starting point.
Which, as you already have figured out, was my first big mistake.
I had actually figured the first attempt would be mere rehearsal, which it proved to be as the 1.75 inch on-center plan met our roughly 2.0 inch Target Moderne black dinner plates. No problem, I thought cheerfully, as I headed for the back door for more drill guide practice, only to discover that the May/June rain deficit was about to be corrected by 24 solid hours of the stuff.
(Oh, the drill guide. Found one at Sears. Shortly thereafter my wife referred to it as my "new toy". Goddam Suffragette.)
So there was a slight delay while I frantically ran around collecting every tool I own and shuttling them all into the garage, which is too full of junk to try to do accurate work in, so I waited the storms out, cut new cleats, drilled fifty-six holes 2.25 inches on center, went to dry-fit everything in the kitchen and discovered the roll of double-sided tape which appeared to contain four inches of tape in fact contained 3.75 inches of single-sided tape stuck to the cardboard roll, and 0.25 inches of usable tape. Off to Lowe's. Pick up some more dowels, and cut them 1/4 inch longer this time, since the original measurement seemed a touch wobbly. Put it all together and...
now the fucking plates are too tall. Shit. This is genuinely a problem, since a) finding lumber thinner than a nominal 1x2 is unlikely; b) there may be some molding out there which would work, but it'd be a ridiculously expensive solution; c) one could rout little plate beds into the cleats, but this would turn putting plates away into something approaching the docking of Gemini 8 with the Agena Target Vehicle; d) the difficulty would only be increased by the fact that I don't own a router.
Ultimately I bought a cheap table saw and ripped the cleats to 5/16" while losing fewer than three fingers. The new width necessitated buying another batch of dowels to cut to the new length. My Poor Wife was savvy enough not to refer to the latest purchase as "my newest toy". The fuckin' plate rack was her idea, after all.
Still, one knows too much to underestimate her. With all the pieces cut, dry-fitted, sanded, degreased, and being painted she stopped by for a progress assessment.
"You know, honey," she purred, "if this plate rack thing doesn't work out you can always use it to store your dowels in."