The coat rack

Having kids is a true blessing, but they do come with baggage. Or to be exact: jackets, coveralls, knitted caps… We needed to organize everything better, and it starts with a coat rack.


I had an idea about a coat rack with two shelves where we could put gloves and bits and bobs, perhaps a nice picture or something – basically a wall shelf so that we could decorate the hallway a bit. I am married to a wonderful woman who prove the saying “a man can build a house, but a woman makes it a home” right. And this man can make (some of) the things she needs to make a home, so there’s that.

Back in the early spring of 20Covid I felled and slabbed a big oak, which has been drying since then. I have a small stack of boards drying and acclimating in my shop, so no excuses there. Pure luxury, really!

I drew a concept drawing in Sketchup. Initially I wanted two shelves, but we just don’t have the wall space for such a wide unit. In stead, I’ll make a single shelf, and the coat rack will be slightly narrower.

This demonstrates the benefit of making a sketch of the project. My initial idea did not fit the space, so I had to change the design. My strategy forward from here is to make the shelf then fit the board for the coat rack to the shelf, taking spacing for the coat hooks into consideration.

I grabbed a nice board from my lumber stack, and started breaking it down. It was a flat sawn board, once dead flat and straight. But even though it has been well stickered with lots of weight on top, the drying process did several things to the board. Some twist, some cupping (not surprisingly on a flat sawn board) and cracks.

I cut the board in sections, aiming for as flat and as long pieces I could. I used my Spear & Jackson 9500R hand saw to break the board down. No need to flail a big piece of wood around and have a heeeuge miter saw station taking up real estate. I do own a miter saw, but I never use it. Too much dust and it takes up way too much space to be justified. Small cuts like this really do not take long either. Besides, my miter saw does not have the capacity needed for these wide boards.

And you just won’t see me taking half a cut with the miter saw then grabbing a hand saw to finish it off! That makes absolutely no sense!

I then ripped the sections further down on my band saw. As you can see, I have decided to keep a crack in one of the boards here – I will either glue in a piece or that end of the board will be cut off.

In a short amount of time – and after using my Kerberos planer/thicknesser – I was left with a decent selection of boards for the shelf.

I took another board from the stack for the coat rack. This board was very twisted, and something had gone wrong when I cut it from the log – it was rather trapezoid-like in cross-section. After cutting the plank down somewhat – looking for as flat as possible and as long as possible section while maintaining as much thickness as possible – I planed one face and jointed one edge on my combo planer/thicknesser. I then ripped the plank down to about desired thickness on my band saw. As you can see, there was quite a lot of material to take off – and in stead of wasting the offcuts as chips in the dust collector, I was left with two rather useful pieces of wood in addition to the boards for the rack itself.

The band saw is indeed a very good thicknesser! After resawing the planks, I cleaned up the surface with a hand plane.

There are some quarter sawn sections in these planks, which brings out the nice pattern of medullary rays found in QS white oak. Lovely!

I also like the knot – it brings character to the piece. I thought about cleaning the cracks and fill them with black tinted epoxy, but in the end the knot was cut away since I did not need the length.

On the next page, we’ll start making the shelf unit.

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