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As the weather begins to turn and crisp winter breezes stir the air, our thoughts shift to all things cozy. Sweaters, scarves, mittens and coats start to accumulate in our homes, work and cars. All of those items take up so much room! Where do you hang your coat? Have you ever eyed a coat rack and thought that you needed one?  Today, I am going to teach you how to weld a quick and easy coat rack that will have your friends and family asking for one in their home. Who knows- it might make a good present! This whole project takes about 30 or 45 mins from start to finish (if you don’t want to paint it). If you decide to paint it, it takes a little bit longer, but even then it’s still pretty quick.

The necessary supplies for this project are simple. For my example, I used a plate of steel 10 ½ inches tall and 4 inches wide. If you don’t have a piece of steel this size then it’s no problem. This is the size I had available, but any piece of steel close to this size will work. You will also need a railroad spike. I got my spike from a friend who lives close to some train tracks and he had a pile of 20 or more that he has picked up along the tracks. If you don’t have a friend that has railroad spikes (I know I am special), you can easily find railroad spikes to purchase online. You might have to do a little cleanup on them, but 5 minutes with a flap sander should take care of that. You will also need access to a welder of some type. That’s it! Like I said, it’s a pretty simple project.

The first step is to drill your mounting holes. These holes will serve as the place where your plate will screw into the wall. I suggest bringing a screw the same general size to the drill press so that you can ensure the screw passes through easily. Using a permanent marker to designate the desired placement of your mounting holes, place two marks 2 inches from either side and 1 ¼ inch from the top and bottom.  This should allow plenty of space to drive the screws into the wall after the spike has been welded into place.

Marked outline

.If these measurements don’t work for you, that’s fine. However, I do suggest you put two screw holes in to ensure strength and stability for your mount since it’s going to be heavy. Now find the appropriate drill bit (something slightly larger than the diameter of the screw but not as large as the head of the screw.)  Drill these holes all the way through your steel. After both holes are drilled, you can use a counter sink or a drill bit equal in diameter to the screw head to create a pocket. Drill about halfway through the steel.

Hole in metal

This will allow your screw to sit flush with the face of your coat rack. Test the fit of your screw to make sure your pocket is deep enough to be flush with the plane of the plate steel.

Screw flush

Now it’s time to prep your railroad spike for welding. I set our metal cutting miter saw at about a 30-degree angle and cut the spike roughly in half. You can adjust these measurements to suit your preferences

Cut railroad spike

Personally, I think that a 45-degree cut is too sharp of an incline. I would err on the side of leaving your spike longer. This will allow your hat to stick out a little further over your coat. But, all of that is how I like it and I always think a project is more fun when you have the ability to customize. After you have cut your spike, make sure to clean up the edges of the cut with either an angle grinder or bench-top grinder. Just take a little off the edges and clean up any sharp edges.  Now, you are almost ready to weld.

Before you jump on the welder and start connecting all your pieces, take a moment to figure out exactly where you want the location of the pieces to land. Remember, it’s much easier to weld them in the right places the first time than cutting them off and regrinding everything.  Now that you know exactly where to place your pieces, quick marks and bring everything over to your welder and weld them together. It is important to make sure you tack all four sides of the spike before you fully weld them together. on. This will help keep the spike from moving towards the heat, as metal does when it gets hot, and will also allow you to fix small mistakes you might have made while holding your piece. After you tack weld all the sides down, you can go ahead and fully weld the spike in place.  Repeat this process with the second piece.

Welded coat rack

You are getting close to being finished! At this stage, your piece would easily hold up a hat and coat, but now is the time to apply some finishing touches to make it look stellar. If you are an inexperienced welder, you can grind away any of the extra welds to make it smoother. You can also tape off your spike and spray paint the base piece or tape off the base steel and paint your spike. I ended up doing both on this one.

Partially painted coat rack

I painted the base black, let it dry, and then taped that part off and painted the spikes a nice bright red color. If you really want to be extra fancy, you can even paint the tops of your screws before you screw it to the wall.

Finished coat rack front view
There are several different ways to make this simple project. For example, making the plate horizontal instead of vertical, or arrangements of the spike, or using multiple spikes.  You have the ability to really take a simple project and make it your own.  I have personally made several of these over the last couple of days and while they are all similar, none of them are the same. I did this intentionally to play with different variations. If you are new to welding and metal fabrication, this is a great place to start. There are several aspects of metalworking that you can use; from drilling and setting screws to welding to finish work. This project uses several different techniques and hopefully it will teach you something you enjoy.  Post pictures below of the coat and hat racks you make!   

Coat Rack Side