The coat rack

The rack

I placed the shelf and the handmade forged coat hooks onto the planks I had prepared for the rack, and played with the placement a little. Two of the hooks has a little sign holder – I’ll place some nice quote in there or something.

At this stage, I am considering the shape of the rack – I do not want a square, boring plank on the wall, so there will be some shaping and roundovers.

The rack will be made from two boards, as I did not have a long enough board ready at the time. And since I just bought a very nice Veritas tenon saw, I figured I’ll do a bridle joint. It is easy to make and it will be incredibly strong. The joint will be located inside the shelf, so it’ll not be noticed too easily.

I am also particularly found of the rays in the wood – with a bit of oil on, it is going to be absolutely gorgeous! I am thinking Osmo Top Oil, as it is well suited for counter tops – and the coat rack will be subjected to moisture from wet clothes. The Top Oil 3068 have some white pigment in it, so it’ll keep the oak from yellowing too much.

Bridle joint

A bridle joint is a relatively simple joint to make in that you just have to saw straight and fettle the fit, but it can be a bear to do at times!

The first task was to shoot the mating edges dead straight and 90° in all directions. I don’t have a shooting board big enough for a plank of this width, but the bench is an excellent shooting board if you do things correctly. Which I almost did. I forgot to put a spacer board between the plank and the holdfast, so the plank did move on me. As you might deduce from the image, I could not place the plank further back – the far end would move too far away from me, making me loose control.

Apart from that, this is an excellent method. Spacer boards lift the plank off of the bench, and the plane rides on top of the bench itself. Using a square, I strike a line to plane to (I also score it with my marking knife), and if possible I make a knife wall. This prevents tearout if I am diligent not to overshoot (!!) my marks. If possible, I just chamfer the exit edge slightly.

You just have to be careful, because if the board tears out we are in trouble.

I then made a knife wall 50mm in from the edge. I made a knife wall and cut the “tenon” using my Veritas saws.

For the “mortise”, I used the Veritas tenon back saw with rip teeth and chiseled out the waste. A flat file was used to quickly square off the bottom.

My Rider 3-in-1 shoulder plane came in REALLY handy for fettling the shoulders to a good fit. I also used a router plane to clean the surfaces.

It did not take long to get a good fit, and I could glue the boards together.

I used Titebond III again, as the glue dries to a color perfect for oak and because it is waterproof. I used three sash clamps for the glueup, and I used a straightedge to check that I didn’t introduce any twist or bend in the plank by adjusting the pressure between the clamps.

I have never done this before, so I was not surprised to find a slight error. I got a slight gap in the joint, but it will be inside the shelf and not very visible. I gave the board a once-over with the 07 jointer plane set at a very light cut, and that took care of any twist and made the sides dead straight.

A square plank does not look very good, so I rounded over the corners with a chisel and a rasp, and gave the edges a roundover using a router.

I LOATHE routers!

They are noisy, they are extremely unforgiving, they are fiddly and they make a BIG mess. I could’ve used the router table, but that means a lot of setting up for a simple cut. So I hung a few pieces of plastic and stacked two sheets of foam to stop the mess from going everywhere. A piece of gash OSB kept the tool well mostly clean. The before and after images tell the tale.

To be fair, I did not use any dust collection, but that would’ve not done much anyway.

I stopped short of the area where the shelf will be placed. I will feather the routed roundover to the shelf. The “stopped routed roundover” is incredibly ugly and screams “power tool” from afar. I will also shape the roundover to make it less “routed-looking”.

Can you tell I don’t give much for power tools? They have their place and uses, but I find them limiting in that they can only do so much – you cannot machine a shape that feels and looks “real”, or “organic”. The shadow line around the perimeter in the image below tells the tale all too well. But to me, my power tools are good for making quick work of tasks I find tedious to do, and being limited on spare time I need some help. And I find the “hybrid” way a really good one, because I enjoy the best parts from both worlds.

Purists (from either “camps”) that are purists for the sake of purism, has little to no respect from me.

Rant over.

I marked where the walls of the shelf will intersect with the rack and made two dadoes. I first scored the lines with the marking knife, then made knife walls. From there I sawed down a few millimeters and used a router plane to remove the waste. The router plane is quite old, but it works beautifully! Fine adjustments are made by tapping the top of the iron with a pin hammer. Of course the modern router planes are way easier to adjust, but this old dog knows most of the tricks.

The shelf needs to have cutouts for the rack, as I do not want to reduce the strength of the rack by having two deep dadoes.

This thing is starting to come along quite nicely!

On the next page, we’ll join the shelf to the rack and make the final shaping of the roundovers.

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