The outside sections are black walnut and the center portion is a piece of hardwood that my dad brought back from Brazil many years ago. I'm not sure what it is but I have some more and looking forward to using it again. I used my belt sander (in an upright position moving back and forth) to make the taper keeping it at the same angle when doing both sides.
@Robzbrz1992 Thanks for sharing these details, I appreciate it. I've used a plunge router with lettered stencils but always chickened out trying to do it freehand. I'm going to have to give this a try on a future project. Thanks again.
Thanks. Yeah, the top lumber rack is attached to the wall studs. My walls are 9.5' tall and having it mounted above the cleats makes good use of wasted space. The wood scraps / cutoffs bin works great, I've found that I'm more likely to use scrap lumber when it's so easy to find.