Sample of tools and materials

Tools and materials needed:

  • Bandsaw or handsaw
  • 1/2” tenon cutter
  • Wood for backing board (driftwood, barnboard, or any milled hardwood). See step 5 for size suggestions.
  • Old hammers or other wooden-handled tools
  • 1/2” and 3/8” Forstner bit
  • 1/8” and 11/64” twist drill bit
  • Electric drill (or hand brace)
  • Countersink bit
  • Two wooden buttons or plugs with a 3/8” base
  • Wood glue
  • #8 wood screws (length should be chosen to suit wood thickness – see step 8. Number of screws depends on number of hangers)
  • #6 wood screws
  • Screwdriver to fit screws
  • Ruler
  • Square
  • Level
  • Pencil

Optional tools and materials:

  • Bench plane
  • Stud finder
  • Paint, stain or finish
Collection of old hammers
  1. Collect a suitable number of old tools. Any wooden-handled tool can be used, as long as you can hang a coat on it. Old hammers work well and are readily available from garage sales and flea markets.
Measuring the piece of wood used to create the backboard
  1. You will also need a piece of wood for the backing. You can use barnboard or driftwood if you want a rustic look. Select a piece of wood that has a relatively flat back so that it will be flush to the wall after installation. If it’s uneven, the wood can be planed or shimmed. Another option is to use a piece of milled hardwood that you can stain or paint. The size can vary.
Image left) Using bandsaw to cut the hammer handle. Image right) Using 1/2" tenon cutter to create the tenon.
  1. After selecting the materials, use a handsaw or bandsaw to cut the hammer handles to any length you want. We cut ours so that the length from the top of the head to the end of the handle is 4 1/2”.

  2. Holding the head of the hammer in a vise, use a 1/2" tenon cutter on the end of the shortened handle. The tenon should be about 1/2" long.
Laying out hole positions on backboard
  1. Using a ruler and square, lay out the hole positions on the backboard. These will hold the hammer-handle tenons. Unless you want a staggered or random appearance, the holes should be in line with each other and placed so that they will be level once the rack is mounted. First measure and mark an equal distance from each end of the board (this length can vary to suit the dimensions of the materials you are using, but 3" or more works well for most coat racks).

    A hammer will go in each of these spots. We used three hammers in total, so we simply measured the distance between these marks and divided it in half to determine the placement of the third hammer.
Using 1/2" Forstner bit to drill the layout holes in the backboard
  1. Using the 1/2" Forstner bit, drill holes at the layout marks in the backing board. These should be deep enough to accept the tenons on the hammer handles (in our case, 1/2"). Using an 11/64" drill bit, drill a hole in the center of each 1/2" hole all the way through the backing board. Use the mark from the center spur of the 1/2" Forstner bit to guide your drill bit through the center of the hole.
Drilling hole through backboard and into hammer handle
  1. Holding the hammer in place, turn the board over and drill an 11/64" hole through the backing board and into the shaft of the handle. Still on the back of the board, use a countersink bit to make a countersink on each of the holes that you drilled.
Image left) Applying wood glue to hammer handle hole. Image right) Placing hammer handle into hole.
  1. Make sure the hammer is oriented correctly and put a pencil mark on the upper part of the handle and also on the board to help alignment after gluing. Put a small amount of wood glue into the 1/2" hole on the front of the board. Insert the handle tenon into the hole so that the line on top of the handle and the one on the board are aligned. This ensures that the hammers will be perfectly vertical. Make sure to fit the tenon straight in the hole to ensure that the handles will be perpendicular to the wall and parallel to each other (the holes must have been drilled square to the board). Hold the hammer in place as you tighten a #8 screw from the back of the board into the 11/64" hole in the hammer handle. The length of the screw depends on the thickness of your backing board. Screws should seat flush in the countersunk recess on the back of the board and sink deep enough into the hammer handles to hold them securely when coats are hung on them (3/4" or more is recommended). Our backing board was about 3/4" thick, so we used 1" screws.
Image left) Drilling the wall-mounting screw holes. Image right) Coat rack complete and ready for mounting.
  1. To screw the coat rack directly onto wall, make two marks on the front of the backing board at the location of the screws. These holes should be level with each other and placed so that the screws will enter wall studs (an electronic stud finder is helpful for this task). If it’s not possible to screw into wall studs, use sturdy wall anchors.

    Use a 3/8” Forstner bit to drill a hole approximately 1/4" into the front of the backing board. Use a 1/8” twist drill bit to drill a hole all the way through the backing board. As before, use the mark made by the spur of the Forstner bit to center this hole.

    Using a level to ensure your coat rack hangs properly, install #6 screws into the 1/8” holes so that they seat flush against the bottom of the 3/8" hole.
Completed coat rack
  1. The wooden buttons or plugs can be stained or painted to match the backing board. After installing the coat rack on the wall, the buttons or plugs can be pushed or glued into the 3/8” hole to cover the heads of the screws.

Hang up your coats and enjoy!

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