Mission Style Coat Rack

There’s all kinds of jokes floating around the internet about guys not completing household improvements, renovations, or projects in a timely manner. I want you to completely forget about all of those as I tell you that I purchased the hooks for this coat rack over a year ago. I was just saving them for when the time is right. And considering “winter is coming” I believe it to be the appropriate time to build a coat rack. Forget about last winter…the appropriate time to build this rack is right now.

With that out of the way lets talk about the task at hand. Like most of my projects I determined the needs that the project had to accommodate (wall space, four hooks) and searched Google images for design inspiration. The design I settled upon was mission style, one shelf on top, and two arched shelf supports. My initial thoughts were to add a second shelf and some dividers to house decorative baskets but thought it would be too busy for the small wall space that I had available.

The first step in nearly all of my projects is to complete a satisfactory design in SketchUp first. That way I can work out any bugs to my design and finalize all part dimensions before I cut any wood. This also allows me to generate a custom layout diagram for my material. I rarely print anything anymore so with the completed design and material layout sent to my phone I could start marking my material and preparing for the first few cuts.

What I used in the video:

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The miter saw is almost always the first saw used on a project for me. It’s incredibly convenient having a nice miter saw station with plenty of material support on both sides to get the ball rolling on a project. And all the storage and organization included is a huge bonus. At this point I cut all of my major pieces to their final length making sure to cut on the appropriate side of each marked line.

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The sides had a long arc tangent with their long direction. After not finding anything in the shop that had an appropriate radius I could trace I grabbed a plate from my kitchen. Actually, this was straight out of the dish washer so please don’t tell my wife.

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With both sides marked I cut them at out at the bandsaw. I’ve ran a lot of material through that blade and was quickly reminded at how dull it is. I keep telling myself “I’ll sharpen it after this project” “I’ll sharpen it after this project” “I’ll sharpen it after this project” and end up never sharpening it.

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A few rip cuts at my table saw were needed to establish part widths for the shelf and both rails. It’s really nice to have someone had you your material from time to time.

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The final pieces to size were the the stiles. All nine of them. They were shorter than the stop block capacity on my miter saw so I used my crosscut sled. I prefer using a table saw sled for smaller parts.

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At this point all of the pieces are cut so a quick mock-up of the design should verify all the pieces being cut correctly. In the video I mentioned that the joinery is pretty much like underwear. There are lots of options so just choose the one that fits you best.

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I chose floating tenons for this as it’s pretty darn quick and strong as well. Each one of the stiles received a mortise on each end. One alternative to floating tenons would be to use tongue and groove joinery similar to cabinet door construction. During assembly you could use some square material sized to fit in the grooves and fill all of the empty groove space as well as evenly space the stiles.

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And a matching set of mortises is needed on the bottom edge of the top rail and the top edge of the bottom rail. Another option for joinery would be to use pocket hole screws. The entire back side of this project won’t be seen as it will be against the wall and being that this project isn’t really a structural project I don’t see any reason why pocket holes wouldn’t work.

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On with the assembly. These joints don’t need to be glued because the side pieces will prevent the rails from moving vertically. However, to prevent the top and bottom rails from moving apart from warping I did glue the middle stile into place.

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With the rail and stile assembly completed I was able to accurately mark and cut the joinery for the side pieces. This process right here was one of the main reasons why I really love a twin screw vise setup. Even if it is a complete DIY vise like mine. It works great!

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Another shameless plug for my DIY bench vise. I was able to easily clamp the lower portion in the vise and hold the project upright so I could install the top shelf.

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I went a little overboard with this part. The entire back joint is a long grain to long grain glue-up so there’s no reason why glue and a couple brad nails wouldn’t have worked. But for some unknown reason I thought it was necessary to use a few screws back there. Oh well, it’s not coming apart. Then I filled the holes with wood putty and sanded them smooth.

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Shameless plug for my DIY bench vise #3. With the project flipped upside down I was able to hold the top shelf in the vise so I could scrape and clean up the curves on the side pieces.

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After rounding all of the edges and corners with some sandpaper the painting could be started. I really, really, really, really, dislike painting. It’s right up there with sanding. On top of that, I’m not really good at it either.

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One primer coat and one finish coat of paint later and I could mount the horse head hooks. My wife loves horses and western decor so we’ve got a lot of it in our house. The screws I used to mount it were silver in color so I came back later and mixed some brown and black spray paint on some cardboard and dabbed a little on the screw heads. It turned out really well.

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In the end the relatively simple project was a big success. It looks like it belongs there and fits the space quite well. And most importantly, it’s already being well used. Having a place right next to the door for coats is very much welcomed by my wife and I. We previously walked to the other end of our house to put them in our bedroom closet which isn’t exactly convenient. Click here if you would like a copy of the SketchUp file and a couple dimensioned images.

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  1. Beauty to the senses. Looks great mate. Im sure your wife forgot all about it and was surprised when you bought it in the house.

  2. Love the first two sentences about completely projects in a timely manner. Guys and Gals. I have had to let go of my own guilt about having a project in mind/materials on hand and just not getting to it. It gets done when it gets done. Perfection takes time right? Not like I am not working on something. :) Love the coat rack. Horse hooks are perfect, being a horse person. I also enjoy the humor about how things get put together at times. I feel the same way. Some things are just a project in motion. Thank you again for sharing and say hello to the new “twin” you have in the shop. Maybe that will help you get things done faster. Ha ha. ~S~

  3. You ought to teach video editing. I am not sure what draws me to your vids more… i am sending my daughter your sponcer. She loves vid edit. Thanks for your contributions!

  4. I must say Jay you do point out and teach pretty good and you can understand what you are saying better then most.

  5. 1:20 – now you’re just showing off…
    (I notice you didn’t paint the festool black. Just sayin…)
    Another great project and video!
    Technically can go under “Pocket hole could-have-been project”

  6. Another great project and video. Thanks Jay.
    I wish you and your family a happy and safe New Year’s Eve… and a prosperous new year to follow.
    Cheers Dude !!!

  7. Great Project Jay, I would like to build one for myself, do you have any diemensions or plans for this? Its pretty simple I know but I like to see Diemensions than adjust. Like your videos, keep up the good work.


  8. Thanks for the inspiration, Jay. I made a painted version to fit my space and a mini version for keys out of some oak scraps and a Danish oil finish. Really great videos and plans. Thanks again,

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