Kelly Mehler’s Plate Rack
by Megan Fitzpatrick
From the December 2013 issue, #208
For years, I’ve been trying to cajole Kelly Mehler to write an article for us on one of his many areas of woodworking expertise: building custom pieces that emphasize the beauty of carefully selected hardwoods.
And I haven’t given up on that quest – but one of his forms is just so appealing that I didn’t want to wait for Kelly to be convinced in order for everyone to see it. So I built it (with Kelly’s permission, of course).
Kelly and his wife, Teri, worked with kitchen designer (and renowned English Arts & Crafts furniture maker) Nancy Hiller to design this plate rack to integrate into their Berea, Ky., log home’s kitchen (see “Design Process” on page 43).
Adapt for Your Aesthetics
While Kelly built his plate rack in white oak to match the rest of his family’s kitchen, I decided on tiger maple – in part because I had a lot of it, but in truth because I’m not terribly fond of oak.
And after studying the pictures of Kelly’s, I also made some minor changes to the design of the plate dividers by setting mine back 1⁄4″ from the front edge to create an additional shadow line – but more on that to come.
In addition, before drawing my plan in SketchUp, I measured the three sizes of Louisville Stoneware plates in my collection to make sure I afforded sufficient clearance for them to slide in and out of the rack, then located my fixed shelves accordingly.
Web site: See more of Nancy Hiller’s kitchen design and furniture work at the NR Hiller Design site.
Article: Read about Kelly Mehler’s woodworking school in Berea, Ky.
Video: Build a simple plywood jig to rout shelf dados.
SketchUp model: Download the SketchUp Model for the plate rack.
In Our Store: “The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker,” by Robert W. Lang.