A quick glimpse of one little prop in a short scene of Downton Abbey and we have a new project on our hands. Based on a handy tool in Mrs. Patmore’s kitchen, I give you our DIY egg holder.
The one on the show was very practical. It had three straight rows and held about 3 dozen eggs. Our chickens, living the life of luxury in their chicken coop, are cranking out several a day so we knew we wanted to hold about the same amount, but my wife wanted it to be a little more decorative as well.
We spent some time looking for the perfect piece of wood. We ended up finding this 5′ long 6″ wide piece of African Wenge (pronounced like wen-ghee) that we loved. It is a really hard wood with splinters that are toxic to skin. I was super careful handling it until I could get it sanded down.
My plan called for a 50″ board with two basic legs, each about 2-1/4″ tall. They needed to be 6″ wide which this board already was so that made it extremely easy to cut into the pieces I needed with my miter saw. Generally, I would have liked to have another leg with a board stretching this distance, but this wood was so hard and was about 7/8″ thick that I’m pretty sure we will be fine with the weight it needs to support.
The plan is for our egg holder to include succulents, spread out as decoration. While I worked on the holder itself, my wife found some small pots she liked, which she painted to the color she wanted.
The hole pattern we decided on was a little complicated, but repeating. I created a template using cardstock which I placed on the board and used screws to drill a small pilot hold at each mark. I then flipped the pattern and did the same for the next section, working my way down the board.
I used a 1-1/2″ Forstner bit to drill the egg holes in the board. Actually, I used two. The wood is so hard the first one barely made it through halfway. By the time I got to the end, it took me about 15 minutes to drill the last hole. It was a little frustrating but I didn’t want to spend the time or money to go get another one. For a DIY egg holder, I wanted to make sure it would accommodate different sized eggs. So I tried several and a 1-1/2″ hold seemed to be best.
My benchtop drill press came in very handy. There is no way I would want to do this by hand.
Once the egg holes were done, I used a 3-1/4″ hole saw bit to drill the holes for the pots. I had to measure carefully the diameter of the pots so they would sit all the way in with the lip resting on the wood, but not fall through.
I didn’t want any screw or pocket holes visible so I decided to glue the legs on. It was a pretty basic joint. I toyed with the idea of trying a dovetail joint or something like that but didn’t want my first time to be on this project. I used some Titebond wood glue and clamped it tight for a couple of days to make sure I had a solid joint.
Finishing is usually not one of my favorite parts. But I loved the transformation on this project. I sanded everything smooth starting with 100 grit sandpaper and worked my way up to about 600 grit. By the time I was done it was amazingly smooth.
After doing some research, we decided to finish it with Odie’s Oil. It is a beeswax finish that darkens the wood, is food safe, smells good, and is easy to use. Food safe was an important feature for a DIY egg holder. With a rag, I rubbed the oil into the wood getting good coverage, literally trying to press it into the wood. Once it was completely covered, I let it dry for about an hour, then went back with a clean rag and buffed off the extra all over. And I was done. It was such a beautiful, shiny, smooth finish.
We let it sit and dry for about 72 hours before using it, but once we put it in place on our kitchen island and loaded it with the succulents and eggs, we were blown away. Every time I walk in the kitchen and see our DIY egg holder I have to stare at it for a while.
Enjoy these pictures of the final product by One Tree Photography.
Here are some of the tools and supplies I used in this project. If you are interested in one, click to take a look. You get a fun product, I get a fun commission. Thanks!