Thanks for all your encouragement and advice. Nice community here.
I played around practicing dadoes in my test piece last night, and finally got one that was worth gluing up. Not perfect, but I wanted to see how it would look with glue.
I have a few new Marples chisels that I'm using. I don't have the proper sharpening set up, but I spent a little time working on the back and honing it with what I have. What a difference that makes over the factory edge! With the sharper chisel I was able to pare the sides of the dado to fit my test piece pretty well.
I'm already planning version 2.0 in my head, but my wife has already made this spice rack her own. She was telling me over breakfast how she is finally able to organize her bottles the way she wants.
She is very supportive of my new hobby, and already is talking about my next commission. She admitted to me that she has been talking to her father about sending me some of his father's woodworking tools. How great would that be? I'm hopeful but not holding my breath. My father-in-law likes me, but I don't know if he likes me that much.