Mass Effect Drinks Cabinet from Recycled Wood

A friend asked me to make him a drinks cabinet recently with the ability to hold bottles upside down for use with optics and also have a large logo painted on. This was uncharted and rather scary territory for me but I pushed on and found the solutions that I needed.

If you’d like to see the video of the making of the drinks cabinet you can find it here – Mass Effect Drinks Cabinet


Gluing up the back board

I make all of my items from recycled wood and this cabinet was no different but posed many challenges due to its size. The back board had to be made from 7 pieces of pallet wood glued side by side and then planed flat. This is itself was a challenge and was only the beginning of the build!

Using some construction timber I had in my shed I started to make the frame, this was all held together with screws in a pocket hole jig style. When I had the basic frame I then fitted the shelves and gave the whole cabinet its first coat of black gloss. This colour and type of paint was specified by the customer to give the cabinet an English pub look.

The main frame of the cabinet was together and now it was time to get the front and back on. I screwed some pallet wood pieces to the front, leaving enough room for the door, and nailed some thin plywood to the back. The shelves are also made from plywood from a builders rubbish pile.

I made the door using a Z frame to keep it from sagging too much over time. The hinges were metal fence hinges which were also recycled from my own garden. I then attached the door and gave the whole cabinet another lick of paint.


Handle from an old pipe

The cabinet needed a handle for the door and as I had some old metal conduit in the shed I decided to saw a piece off and set it between two pallet wood pieces. The metal pipe would be nice to hold in the hand and also match the logo I was to paint later.

I needed to come up with a solution for having the bottles upside down and at first I was puzzled but over time I came up with a solution. The shaft of the bottle would be supported in a curved piece of wood with elastic cord holding it tightly against the curve. The neck of the bottle would snap into a pipe clip, the kind that are used to clip pipes and conduit to walls. I used clips that were 25mm wide.



The finished logo

Painting the logo was a rather painstaking and slow process. I couldn’t use masking tape because it would possibly peel away some of the black gloss and I couldn’t make a template for fear of the same happening. So in the end I just drew the design on with a ruler and painted the logo freehand.



The cabinet in its new home

All in all I was pleased with the outcome of the cabinet and so was the customer. All manner of bottles fit inside the holders (even square ones) and the whole cabinet excluding the paint, cord and clips is made from recycled materials. I’m thankful I got to make it and even more thankful that it came together rather nicely.


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The A – Z of Trees : African Mahogany (Khaya genus) [Series]

Above photo By Andrew massyn – Own work, Public Domain,

Not to be confused with Sapele and Utile trees, the African Mahogany I’m focusing on in this article are from the Khaya Genus of trees, specifically:

  • Khaya Madagascariensis
  • Khaya Ivorensis
  • Khaya Grandifoliola
  • Khaya Anthotheca
  • Khaya Senegalensis

Colours of these woods vary greatly from a dark reddish brown to a rather pale pink.



The leaves of the Khaya Madagascarensis.


Above photo By Axel Strauß (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Khaya Madagascarensis

The Khaya Madagascarensis is found, no surprise, in Northern and Eastern Madagascar. An evergreen tree  it produces valuable timber and is known for its local medicinal use. It is reddish brown in colour and its timber uses include fine furniture, carving and its trunk is traditionally used for canoes. Unfortunately, it has been overexploited for its timber and has lost its natural habitat due to human activity, this has led to it being classified as endangered by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).


Khaya Ivorensis

The Khaya Ivorensis grows in Gabon, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola; the tropical areas of Western Africa. The heartwood is a pale reddish brown and its timber is used for fine furniture and also for boat and ship construction. Its medicinal uses include being used in the treatment of whooping cough, diarrhoea, dysentery, back pain and rheumatism. Much like the Madagascarensis, Khaya Ivorensis is also under threat and is classified as vulnerable by the IUCN.


Khaya Grandifoliola

The Khaya Grandifoliola grows in Guinea-Bissau, Sudan and the Congo and is mainly a deciduous species in the dry season. The heartwood which darkens to a reddish brown after exposure is pinkish brown when first cut. The timber is used for fine furniture, veneer, ship building, toys, musical instruments and is traditionally used for furniture, canoes and household items. Medicinally the bark can be used as a washing cloth, as a treatment for the fever caused by malaria and also the treatment of gastric ulcers. A gum from the bark is used in the pharmaceutical industry as a slow release for tablets. Once again due to the high exploitation of this highly desired tree the IUCN list it as vulnerable.


Khaya Anthotheca

Also known as White Mahogany the Khaya Anthotheca is a semi deciduous tree found in Sierra Leone, Uganda, Angola and Mozambique. The heartwood can be a pinkish brown to copper red and is used for veneer and furniture making, traditionally the logs are carved out to form canoes. It can also be used to make charcoal. The bark is used traditionally to treat abdominal pain, gonorrhoea, colds and fevers. Lice can also be treated when oil from the seeds is rubbed into the hair. The bark is also sometimes used to treat ulcers and wounds and when pulverised is even used to combat male impotence and as an aphrodisiac. The IUCN rates the Khaya Anthotheca as vulnerable due to its heavy exploitation.



The flower of the Khaya Senegalensis

Above photo By Forestowlet – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Khaya Senegalensis

Found in Senegal, Sudan and Uganda, the evergreen tree Khaya Senegalensis has a dark red brown colour heartwood, sometimes with a hint of purple. The timber is used for fine furniture and boat building. Locally the wood is used for turning and railroad ties among other things. Once again the bitter bark is reported to be successful in the treating of fever but also syphilis. Bark extract is used as a disinfectant for various ailments. Unfortunately I have to once again type that this tree is also listed as vulnerable by the IUCN due to poor control of logging practices.

In Darwin, Australia there have been cases of falling branches of the African Mahogany killing people below when poorly maintained, as reported by NT News among others (African Mahogany in Darwin). One man was killed by a falling branch whilst on a golf course and a school boy was killed in the school playground in similar circumstances. It is theorised that planting African Mahogany trees in a wetter climate than their natural dry habitat causes them to grow larger faster, making them unstable.

What have I learnt about African Mahogany whilst writing this article? Well, mostly that its cultivation is poorly managed and this has unfortunately, though perhaps not unexpectedly, lead to it becoming a currently vulnerable species and perhaps soon to be endangered. I’ve also learnt that the Khaya genus produces great quality wood which is also stunningly gorgeous whilst also at the same time producing bark, oils and gum used in many kinds of medicines. Hopefully these trees will be around for many generations to come and I would think its our responsibility to make sure this is the case.

Thank you for checking out this blog post, please head on over to my Facebook Page to check out all the various things I get up to in the woodworking world.

Previous article in this series can be found here The A – Z of Trees : Acacia [Series]





Salvaged Wood Wood Store that Stores Salvaged Wood

When you first start woodworking you spend your time scrounging around for any kind of wood you can find, when people are kind enough to keep donating to you however you have to find a way to store it! I wanted to keep my wood store near to my shed and so couldn’t have anything that took up too much space. I came up with a simple design which allows air flow to drift through the wood piles. It’s not the most ideal storage seeing as its outside but its better than just laying the wood on the dirt.


Making grooves for the pallet wood slats.

Since I already had the shed and wanted the storage close to the shed, a simple lean to seemed like the perfect solution. I started with some old roofing batten, glued a few lengths together to make posts and then sawed and chiselled out some angled sections. These rebates would have pallet wood lengths screwed into them, acting as a barrier against the rain but also allowing air flow through the gaps.



All the slats screwed on.

Once this part was finished it was just a case of making a simple frame to attach to the side of the shed and an angled roof to help it shed water easily.


The frame taking shape.

In the small area below the wood storage I laid some slabs down just to stop too much moisture coming from the dirt below. I also fully cladded the back of the shelves to stop the wood hitting the less than sturdy fence behind it!

My experience in drying wood is still rather minimal but I did buy a book recently which I shall be studying soon. It has good reviews and if you want to check it out you can find it here:

Wood and How to Dry It – Fine Woodworking – Amazon

All I knew at the time of building my wood store was that it was a good idea to keep rain off the wood but also create air flow. This is why you see big piles of wood with little spacers in between each plank called “stickers”. This creates air flow between the planks to allow for more surface area to be dried.

Since I mostly store pallet wood in this area I didn’t feel the need to get too technical with it. Of course when it comes to the time of actually using the wood I have to let it acclimatise in a temperature similar to its final environment. So for example if I was making a little pallet wood box to go in a home, I would have to have the pallet wood planks sit in an environment similar to that home. So I could keep them in a warmed shed or garage for a few weeks and then make the box. This makes for minimal movement of the wood after the piece is finished.



The lean to complete with shelving.

I wanted to give myself enough space in the shelves but also lots of options for different kinds of wood. This led to me making the top section open wide. I also made the lowest shelf come a little off the ground to help air flow under it. After all the shelving was complete I concentrated on the roof. This was simply some marine ply or exterior ply from a rubbish pile and some felt leftover from the building of another shed.



The first load of wood in storage.

When it was all done I painted it with some fence paint we had left over, waited for it to dry and placed all the wood inside (except for my good stuff, that goes in the shed). It’s not the prettiest structure in the world nor it is the most ideal for drying wood but for my little shed it works. I’ve built many things from the wood stored here and I hope to build many more. It’s a salvaged wood wood store that stores salvaged wood. Say that fast three times.