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Paper towels are an indispensable part of the modern kitchen, but it can be difficult to find a really well made holder. This ‘how to’ explores one method of making a kitchen towel holder which will hold a standard sized roll.

What you'll need

Step 1

Prepare the material for the kitchen towel holder to the correct size, make the ends square. Leave the roller material oversize for turning.

Material preparation

Marking the tails

Step 2

Mark out and cut dovetails on the sides.

Three dovetails
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Step 3

Mark out the dovetail pins and saw out the waste.

Step 4

Test fit the joints part way.

Fitting the joint
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Step 5

Mark out the centres (arrowed) on sides for the roller. Then, drill a 35mm hole to a depth of 10mm.

Hole centres

Step 6

Clamp the sides together, rout out twin roller recesses.


Use a hand router for the recesses

Routing the recess

Step 7

Chisel the sides (arrowed) of each recess.

Using a large chisel to clean up the recess
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Step 8

Mark out, drill and countersink two 4.5mm fixing holes (arrowed).

Making the screw holes

Step 9

Clean up and sand the inside surfaces, and then mask off the joints.

Cleaning inside faces and masking joints
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Step 10

Apply two thin coats of Osmo-PolyX finish with a lacquer brush. Allow 6-8 hrs between each coat, and remove the tape when dry.


Step 11

Prepare a scrap piece to the exact inside dimension, and glue together. Remove glue ‘squeeze out’ from inside when dry.

Scrap piece insertion

Step 12

Plane off the waste on the dovetail joints.

Cleaning up the joints

Step 13

Mark out the radius on each corner, and then disc sand to shape.

Marking and shaping the corners

Step 14

Sand the exterior and all sharp edges and apply two coats of Osmo PolyX to the bare surfaces.

Exterior finishing

Step 15

Turn the roller blank to a cylinder. Use a test piece of ply (35mm hole drilled in it) to check the diameter along the whole length.


Step 16

Measure the length between the two recesses in the sides, and transfer this to the roller and part off. Apply two coats of Osmo PolyX to the roller.

Sizing the roller
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Step 17

Fit the roller to complete the kitchen towel holder.

A simple wall mounted kitchen towel holder like this works very well; this one in oak has been in continual daily use for over thirty years.

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