We’re heading into coat season. And if you’re tired of jackets tossed over chairs, hanging off of banisters, or flopped on the couch, it’s time to do something about it. You can build this simple coat rack in two to three hours. For materials, you don’t need anything more than some pieces of 1 x 8 scrap pine, the longest of which needs to be 43 inches. If you buy the wood, a single 8-foot piece of 1 x 8 pine will be enough. Grab some finish nails, a can of spray paint, glue, and some coat hooks, and you’re ready to build.
Coat Rack Supplies
The woodworking here is pretty simple: ripping, crosscutting, and routing a decorative edge. We used a table saw and a miter saw for our cuts. You could just as easily use a small cordless circular saw, especially guiding the crosscuts with a square.
With the miter saw, cut the parts to length as shown in the diagram, then rip parts to the width shown.
Mark a 4-inch radius on the 6-inch-long parts that will become the end brackets. Tape the parts together, and cut both end brackets at the same time. Lacking a bandsaw, you can cut them with a jig saw. Hand sand the curved cut using 100-grit sandpaper.
Next, using the router and cove bit, cut the decorative profile on the front edge and ends of the top shelf.
Mark the location of the bench hooks as shown in the drawing, and trace the outline of the first and last hook. Next, bore two 3⁄8-inch-diameter counterbore screw holes into the backboard, one behind each hook. Later, you’ll use these holes to mount the coat rack to the wall. I purposely positioned the screw holes behind the first and last coat hooks, so that the hooks will conceal the mounting screws. Space the two screw holes 32 inches apart. That way, the coat rack spans three studs, one at each end and one in the center; anchoring it at the two studs at the ends provides more than enough holding power. You don’t also need to fasten it into the center stud.
Apply two topcoats of paint to all surfaces of each part. I used Behr Oil-Rubbed Bronze Metallic Spray Paint. Sand lightly between coats with 220-grit sandpaper, removing sanding dust with a tack cloth before applying the next coat.
Glue and nail the end brackets to the backboard with 2-inch finishing nails. Next, apply glue to the top edges of the backboard and the brackets, then nail on the top shelf.
After the rack is assembled, mount the three center coat hooks. The hooks are spaced 8 inches apart (on center) and 2 inches down from the top of the backboard. This provides adequate spacing for even bulky coats.
To mount the coat rack to the wall, first locate the studs in the wall using a stud finder. Mark the stud’s location and measure 32 inches left or right to locate the other mounting stud. (Whether you measure to the left or the right from that first stud location doesn’t matter, so long as you manage to land on another stud and the rack is where you want it.) With the stud locations identified, take a level and mark a small level line at each stud, drill a pilot hole into each stud, and drive your mounting screws there.
Everyone knows, however, that wall framing can be widely inaccurate. If you don’t hit a stud at the second location, you’ll need to drive a screw into the first stud, then use a wall anchor at the second location. Given how much wear and tear a coat rack receives, we recommend using a toggle bolt there.
With the coat rack mounted, install the two coat hooks on the ends to conceal the mounting screws. Now the only challenge is to get your kids to actually make use of the coat rack.
Joe is a former carpenter and cabinetmaker who writes extensively about remodeling, woodworking, and tool techniques. He has written eight books and is a contributing editor to Popular Mechanics. He also appears on the Today’s Homeowner TV show, and co-hosts the weekly Today’s Homeowner Radio Show. Joe writes from his home in Roxbury, Connecticut.