WALL-MOUNTED COAT RACKS

A few months back I was commissioned by Alessia’s sister to build her a coat rack. Having been on the hunt for a while without coming across anything she liked the look of, or anything that matched the required dimensions, she realized the way to go would be to have something custom built. She wanted two actually, one for her house to be mounted near the front door, and the other for her husband’s family’s small holiday apartment in the Dolomite mountains of Trento. The design would be the same for each, consisting of a backer to place the hooks, two decorative side pieces and a narrow shelf across the top for hats and gloves etc. A simple and strong, yet elegant design and a great use of some old pallet boards.
I’d had some hardwood pallet slats kicking around for a while and thought they’d be really nice to use.
I first started by removing the nails, taking care not to split the old wood. I then spent some time cleaning up the edges along the length, getting them as straight and as square as possible first on the table saw then finessing with a no.4 hand plane. This was perhaps the most important part because I was going to be  gluing the boards together to make one flat, solid panel. It was my first time edge jointing lumber so I was eager to try out my new pipe clamps. 

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Once I began planning I found that in places the wood was pinkish in colour, and in other parts more creamy white. I’ve since done some research in to what species of tree they originally came from and I believe it’s either beech or European oak. I knew it was definitely some sort of hardwood because of the patterns in the grain and the rough shavings I got from the plane. 



The glue-up was a success, producing tight, almost seamless joints. Although I wasn’t necessarily going for a smooth finish, I felt that some of the high spots needed evening out. Again, I did this with the only plane I have and a lot of sanding. 

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For extra strength I attached some vertical cleats to the back, first making pilot holes with a counter sink and then screwing.
Now it was time to pretty it up a bit. I made two trim pieces by butt joining two narrow pieces of wood along the length to form an “L”. This would wrap the corners to cover up the end grain, and to create a border when looking from the front. These side pieces would also provide more surface area for glue and screws when attaching the top shelf. Once the shelf was fixed in place I filled the screw holes with a paste made of PVA glue and sieved saw dust. 
I thought it would be cool to give the impression that the rack is floating once attached to the wall. To achieve this I made a couple of mini French-cleats. Instead of trying to explain what a French cleat is in words I’ve included a handy little diagram I found on www.woodworkingtalk.com


The stock used to make them was the same thickness as the vertical cleats, so that when the two 45degree angles meet up they would pull the whole assembly tight to the wall. I didn’t use glue on the vertical cleats because I wanted to allow for any movement in the wood. The mini French-cleats I glued and screwed since these will be holding all the weight. 
I sanded up to 220 grit in between the two coats of water based varnish I applied as directed on the tin.   
All that was left was to attach the hooks.
I’m really happy with the way both of them turned out. Alessia’s sister really likes them too. The final dimensions are:

Height 450mm  Length 650/1000mm Depth of shelf 110mm 
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PS: the nice guy over at ragnbonebrown has featured our wall-mounted coatrack alongside another project we will be sharing soon around here. If you are curious go and have a peek...

Until next time.

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