This is a stained plywood quilt rack, made in 2003. The quilt block pattern was done by drawing what I wanted with pencil and then painting in the stain. The redder stain was brushed on.
This is a project from when I first started doing woodworking so there is much I would do differently today. First, I would only keep the back and bottom as plywood and would use solid wood for the sides and front. I would also make sure to keep the wood species the same. For example if I used birch plywood (one of the more common in my area) I would use birch for the front and sides as well.
I would also rotate the grain on the back so it went horizontally. This way I could add a board of solid birch to the top via biscuit joint to eliminate the visible plywood edging.
One challenge would have been the dowel rod. I’m not sure it is made in any wood other than hemlock which isn’t made into plywood. Because I would do the staining again, keeping the wood species the same would be very important. I would want the consistency of grain and color quality.
Another change I would make is to make more of the joints blind so that fastener holes or putty wouldn’t be needed or seen. Dowel and biscuit joinery would be my priority with pocket hole screws only where unavoidable.
When applying the stain, I would avoid using a brush again. I have found that rubbing stain on with a clean rag produces a very nice and even color. Most stain instructions say to brush stain on and let sit before wiping away. I have found that rubbing the stain in and wiping the excess away immediately allows me to build up my color in smaller increments to give me exactly the color I want. I can also more subtly layer different stain colors over each other.
Something I would like to try is a ceramic technique using a latex resist. Latex resist is painted over bisqued clay and when stain or glaze is applied it pools and runs off where the latex has been placed. The difference between latex resist and either wax or wax resists is that the latex can be peeled off. I wonder if I could do the same thing on wood and use wood stain over the resist.