The cheapest wood is pine. Pine tends to splinter and crack easily, not to mention warp. It’s a lighter wood and as such is quite porous, tending to absorb excess moisture in the air, which is a bad thing since pine is susceptible to mildew. Pine can be primed and painted, or stained and sealed.
Redwood is similar to pine in many ways, though it is a distinct step up. While still rather soft and prone to splintering, redwood remains straighter than pine, and is not susceptible to mildew. Redwood is a nicely-colored wood and while it takes stain and paint well, caution must be taken to ensure that the wood is dry before application. In reality, there is no reason to treat the wood.
Mahogany is a high-end choice for cellar racking. Unlike pine and redwood, mahogany is a hardwood, making it more difficult to work with (many of these units come in some state of disassembly and require finishing, eg., nailing and/or screwing), but at the same time more stable and resistant to rot. Mahogany has a wonderful color when young and develops a great patina with age. It can be stained and painted, if you wish, but is so attractive on its own I can’t imagine painting it.
Return to Wine Cellar Racks
This article is part of a series on selecting wine cellar racks:
I. Individual Wine Bottle Racking
II. Diamond Bin Wine Cellar Rack
III. Rectangular Wine Cellar Bins
IV. Wine Cellar Case Storage
V. Aisle Wine Cellar Racking
VI. Wine Racking Wood Choices
Wine Cellar Flooring
What Makes a Great Cellar