The Motivation: So I have alot of coats and hoodies.... Heavy rugged jacket for manly winter things like chopping firewood, a nice running/hiking jacket for those days I feel motivated to exercise, more casual work jacket, plus at least 3-4 hoodies. Usually they either end up draped over various pieces of furniture or stuffed away in my closet. It is messy, doesn't look good, makes things hard to find, causes me to loose my keys, can't drive to work, loose my job, end up living on the street, etc, etc. All because of messy coats. At least that is what I can see happening if I don't clean things up ha ha. That is why I decided it was time to make a coat stand. Not only would it be practical but, if I do it well, class the joint up a bit.
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I wanted something functional but aesthetically pleasing, not super modern but not rustic tree limb style thing. My brainstorming summed it up in two words, elegant and simplistic. After much sketching and perusing the internet for inspiration I settled on doing three long curved pieces (I'm calling them "sweeps") that would be joined about a common axis. I did some rough sketching in Fusion 360 to get a better idea of things like angles and curvature.
- Some type of wood, longer than you want the coatstand to be tall (you'll loose some height with the curves, making a fusion model is great for helping with these calculations)
- I had an 8 foot long beam (2.5" x 5") of some nice curly maple.
- Some smaller cut off pieces to join the sweeps together, I used some nice cherry I had leftover from something else.
- Scrap wood for making your curving form.
- Small 1/4 or 3/8 dowel about 12 inches long (I used a black walnut dowel)
Table Saw (nice old workhorse I picked up on craigslist)
Lots of Clamps
Screws (cheap basic ones)
Lint Free Rags (I actually get mine from my work, we use them in a clean lab but these look similar)
Note: You can probably make do with alot less tools. With a bandsaw and handheld drill you could probably get by, just be a little more work.
Step 1: The Sweeps
So the Sweeps a.k.a. the long curved pieces. I wanted mine to have some moderate curves in the top and bottom of them. There are a few different ways to go about bending wood. The most common techniques are some variation on steam bending (basically get the wood hot and damp while you clamp it into a shape) and laminating up. The steam bending is more commonly used when you want to bend a larger piece, i.e. > 1/8" in thickness). Laminating is the other route and, in my opinion, a little bit easier.
Essentially you cut long thin, pliable strips of your material using a table saw or band saw. Then put glue on the adjoining faces and clamp them all together. The trick is you clamp this "stack" of thin pieces into a form. A form is a jig that has the shape you want your piece to come out as. No worries if that wasn't clear, it will be soon enough.
-- I took my maple beam and squared up an edge on my jointer, then started shaving it down on the table saw. I experimented with the thickness until I found a strip thickness that I could bend adequately. Too thick and the strip will break when you bend it. To thin and you will be there the rest of your life trying to glue up layers. Plus you will waste wood when your cutting it down. For my maple, about 3/16 was a good thickness that I could bend. I then cut out 9 strips, mark the order in which you cut them out so you can do your best matching the grain later.
-- I made my form on a big 4x8 sheet of plywood. I first sketched out with a pencil the general shape I wanted. Once happy with that I cut up a scrap 2x4 and screwed it into the plywood at semi-regular intervals along the curve.
-- Now, take three of the strips and apply glue to all of the faces that will be touching each other. You don't need to go crazy here as titebond is great stuff and you don't want a thick visible bondline in the finished piece.
-- I clamped the glued strips together just enough to hold it in one piece while I transferred it to the form. Hold it up against the wall and then start clamping the entire sweep to the wood blocks you screwed in. You need to relax your original clamps here as the strips will each need to bend a little more or less depending on their position (outside of the curve bends more, inside less). Go slowly and make sure things are pulled tight. Once you get it clamped up to the blocks, go back with small c-clamps and where possible clamp up just the sweep as tightly as possible.
-- Leave for a day...
-- Repeat for the other two sweeps.
Pro Tip: Try to clamp in all of the same spots for each sweep, this will ensure consistency between the different sweeps.
Step 2: Center Wood Pieces
Awkward name, I do apologize. These are the two wooden pieces that you will join the three sweeps together on. I forgot to take pictures while making these but if you look in the finished pictures you can see them.
I made an equilateral triangle out of a piece of cherry (about 1" thick) and cut each corner off with a bandsaw. I cut off enough so that the final sweep would match the space. The dimensions of your triangle will depend on how wide you want your coatstand to be.
I made two of these pieces that were identical.
If your feeling fancy you can engrave patterns, do some fancy styling, whatever, get creative.
Step 3: Preparing Sweeps
So after a few days of gluing the sweeps are ready for final processing.
I had cut them 3 inches wide originally. This was bigger than I really wanted, plus I really didnt want to spend hours sanding up those edges. So I used my table saw and trimmed 1/4" an inch off of each side. This got me to a final width of 2.5", just right.
NOTE: Plan ahead if you are doing this, your triangle pieces from the previous step will need to be cut to the appropriate length.
Now is the time to get most of your sanding done. I went down to 400 grit with the orbital.
Step 4: Putting It All Together
To join the sweeps to the triangle center pieces I used wooden dowels and glue.
I was going to have a long straight vertical section about 20 inches in length in the center of my stand. I decided to put one of the triangles at the bottom and one at the top.
For the bottom triangle:
I used a forstner bit and drilled a hole for my dowel in the center of the appropriate side of the triangle piece and in the back of the sweep. The hole in the triangle piece was about 3/8 deep and in my sweep only about 3/16.
I cut down a small dowel that would fit within these two pieces while allowing them to remain flush.
For the top triangle:
I drilled a similar hole in the triangle piece but in the sweep I drilled right through. (Clamp a piece of scrap to the other side so you don't blow anything out when doing so).
I cut a longer dowel that would protrude from the sweep, providing a place to hang your coats.
I found it easiest to do one sweep at a time. I would put some glue in the holes in the triangle piece and on the mating faces, then clamp and pull it all together. I would do the top and bottom triangle piece at the same time. Leave it clamped up for a day, then repeat with the next sweep.
Step 5: Finishing
Now just give it a quick once over with a sanding block to clean up and glue that might have squeezed out.
Once done with that, go over the entire thing with your finish of choice, Danish oil in my case.
And you're done!
You now have an elegant, sophisticated coat stand. Have some friends over so you can hang their coats on it and they get jealous!!
Notes in Hindsight:
Honestly it works great; however, I could have gotten creative and figured out an additional mounting spot for hats. Also, be warned it is fairly light. This doesn't seem to be a real problem; however, a big dog or kids could definitely wipe it out. One solution may be to laminate up the sweeps to be thicker. You could also get creative and suspend a weight or something from the bottom cherry mounting piece.