Old fence boards were installed as a backdrop for an Ikea pot rack and knife… (R. Daniel Foster )
As the son of a carpenter, I have always loved wood. When I spied faded fence boards at a writing studio I once rented, I tore them off their posts. I clad the studio’s concrete beam with the lumber, and later I used the boards as an expansive desk topped with glass.
After 25 years the planks have found a new incarnation: as a backdrop to a pot rack and a magnetic knife strip.
After taking various wall measurements, I began to affix the boards with hardened-head, 3-inch steel screws. But I had forgotten that the boards were weathered with a pattern -- dark lines at each end where posts had left marks from decades of wear.
So I laid down all six boards on my living room floor to arrange the markings into a uniform pattern. I drilled the boards into wall studs, burying the screws slightly to keep them hidden. Then I drilled extra screws into the top plank, which would carry the heft of my five pots.
I wanted a simple and unobtrusive pot hanger and knife holder. I chose Ikea's Asker aluminum 47.25-inch suspension rail ($9.99), which I pared to 24 inches with a saw. The store does sell a 23.5-inch version for $7.99. Both are designed to be trimmed. A set of five Asker hooks cost $3.99.
I attached an Ikea Fintorp black magnetic knife rack ($12.99) to the bottom left of the boards, near my sink.
I occasionally sponge the backdrop’s surface with soap and water, just like a wall. I had considered applying a sealant, but I didn’t want to diminish the wood’s natural beauty. I had owned these boards for half my life; although the paint looks ready to chip, it’s well amalgamated into the wood. Nothing crumbles when I run my hand over the surface.
Time will tell if the boards find a fourth incarnation. For now, I love cooking by their sunbaked color.
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