coat rack

100% Wood Wall Hanging Coat Rack

100% Wood Wall Hanging Coat Rack

A few months ago I was asked to make a wall hanging coat rack. The only design direction I was given was a slightly modern look in a dark wood. I figured out a rough design idea in my head and went looking for some appropriate stock, and found some walnut the perfect size in my scrap bin. I had 6 scrap pieces of roughly the same size, and decided to use 3 for the base with the grain running vertically, and use the others for the actual hooks.

Walnut coat rack, wall handing, mid century modern

The walnut scrap pieces I used to make one of the wall hanging coat racks

After jointing the edges and gluing up, I flattened and trued the board using my jack plane. A couple of the pieces had live edges, and were on the outside; when I make these using pieces that don’t have live edges I make sure to place the sap wood on the outside. Nothing annoys me more than a laminated piece with sapwood in the middle, it just seems unnatural (of course, to each their own and all that…). I also planed some chamfers and rasped in some curves followed by a spokeshave for the edges of the backer board.

walnut, mid century modern, coat rack

The cavity for the hooks and spacers marked out, and the backer board shaped out

Okay, so back to the design. I decided to go with a backing board, with 9 hooks on top – 5 of them laminated in place and 4 sandwiched between fixed pieces that can fold in or out as required. I marked out a good equal distance from each end, and tried a couple of different sizes for the hooks height and width till I settled on a size that looked just right. With the space for the hooks marked out, I set about routing out a shallow cavity for the hooks to sit in. Of course, this being me, it was all done using hand tools and so the router in question was a Stanley 71 1/2. I prefer the closed mouth 71 1/2 over the open 71.

walnut, mid century modern, wall hanging coat rack

Routing out the cavity using my Stanley 71 1/2 router

I ripped the hooks and spacer pieces and planed them down to size, and drilled through each of them (except the two end pieces) to house the oak dowel that formed the hinge rod. I cut out the shape of the hooks roughly using a dovetail saw, and refined them using rasps. The top of the hooks needed to be slimmed down a bit to do a better job of holding the coats. The bottom of the hooks need to be curved to allow them to open without interfering with the backer board, while also acting as a stop to prevent them from just flopping down all the way. This was rough estimation followed by trial and error to get the final shape.

mid century modern, wall hanging coat rack, walnut

Cutting out and shaping the hooks and spacer pieces

With the hooks, spacer pieces and backer board for the wall hanging coat rack all ready, it was time for glue up. This is where an accurately cut out cavity really shines. I cut the dowel to length, assembled the hooks and spacer pieces, applied glue to the cavity and set them in place using clamps. I was very careful to set the pieces precisely, as I wanted a friction fit, otherwise the hooks won’t close properly. Obviously, no glue on the hooks themselves, only on the spacer pieces. I left the glue to set and dry overnight.

walnut, mid century modern, wall hanging tool rack

The hooks and spacers in place for a dry fit before glue up and shaping

The next day all I had to do was plane the hooks and spacers flush, and use a block plane to chamfer their outside edges before finishing. I used a couple coats of shellac followed by paste wax. The hooks work just as they should, and close flush to the spacer pieces. To mount the racks I used brass screws countersunk into the backer board – I’ve always loved the look of walnut and brass.

walnut, mid century modern, wall handing tool rack

The finished 100% wood wall hanging tool rack!

Posted by Prairie Artisan Woodshop in Builds, Wall Hanging Coat Rack, 2 comments