Woodworking Project: From Tree Branch to Coat Rack

Use a found tree branch and some basic tools to craft this simple, rustic coat rack.

| March 22, 2011

  • tree craft
    Get outdoors, find some wood and make something beautiful! Among the 35 stylish, distinctive home décor projects in “Tree Craft” are table lamps, photo frames, curtain rods, planters, vases and a checker set.
    COVER: FOX CHAPEL PUBLISHING
  • Tree Branch Coat Rack
    Tired of coats, scarves and backpacks slung over your furniture? Put an end to the clutter with this coat tree. It’s easy to make, and it will add a “wow” factor wherever you choose to display it.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Fallen Tree
    Look for a strong, straight sapling that branches out nicely at the top at a practical coat-hanging level.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Tree Branch
    Trim off all little branch tips and knots, leaving only the branches you want to serve as coat and hat pegs.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Stain Tree Branch
    Stain and finish the whole piece.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Wooden Coat Rack Base
    For this particular coat tree, I chose a large, heavy slice of wood that had been lying outside my shop at the farm for a couple of years.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Coat Rack Base
    Working from both the top and bottom of the slice, drill and chisel out a hole in which to insert the stump of the coat rack. To get the size and shape of the hole correct, make a pattern from the bottom of the stump and trace it onto the center of the base slice.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Build Coat Rack
    Insert the stump of the coat rack into the hole in the base. With a rasp or chisel, make whatever fine-tuning adjustments you need to make for a good fit.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Homemade Coat Rack
    Tap a number of long wedges into the gaps. This will tighten everything up. Check the coat rack from all sides to make sure it’s straight. When you’re satisfied with the final positioning of everything, cut off the wedges flush with the top surface of the base slab. Then you can use any one of a variety of fillers to close up the remaining spaces in the hole and cement the standing rack in place.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Peeled Coat Tree
    Strip the bark from your coat tree for a different look.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Coat Rack Branches
    For a very simple standing coat rack, let’s start with the largest branch in this photo — the one on the right.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Strip Tree Bark
    Using a pocketknife, strip off the bark and remove all sharp little branches and knots on the coat branches.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Stripping Tree Bark
    Get out your drawknife. It’s been a long time since you used that, I bet! Strip the bark from the rest of the coat tree.
    SCOTT KRINER
  • Coat Tree
    Round the coat pegs and sand the whole piece.
    SCOTT KRINER

  • tree craft
  • Tree Branch Coat Rack
  • Fallen Tree
  • Tree Branch
  • Stain Tree Branch
  • Wooden Coat Rack Base
  • Coat Rack Base
  • Build Coat Rack
  • Homemade Coat Rack
  • Peeled Coat Tree
  • Coat Rack Branches
  • Strip Tree Bark
  • Stripping Tree Bark
  • Coat Tree

The following is an excerpt from Tree Craft: 35 Rustic Wood Projects That Bring the Outdoors In by Chris Lubkemann (Fox Chapel Publishing, 2010). You can tap the beauty and splendor of the outdoors easily and practically by crafting Lubkemann’s creative, charming woodworking projects. Tree Craft includes step-by-step instructions and photos for 35 earthy-yet-elegant home accents, such as kitchen utensils, photo frames, table lamps, vases and a coffee table. This excerpt is from Chapter 3, “Living.” 

I’ve made a number of standing coat and hat racks over the past several years. Some are on the narrow side and have only a few branches for hanging. Others are much wider and can accommodate a whole bunch of coats and hats. The main goal of the standing coat rack is to have a sturdy and stable piece that really serves the purpose and looks good. For a large coat rack of this type, you’ll need to look for a strong, straight sapling that branches out nicely at the top at a practical coat-hanging level. Admittedly, this particular coat and hat rack is probably way too big for my little house, but I’m sure it will eventually end up in the lobby of some restaurant or in the hallway of a much larger home where it just fits the décor.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS 

Large branch or part of tree
Slab of trunk for base
Wedges
Pocketknife
Stain to match bark
Hand-held power drill
Chisel
Rasp
Wood putty or other gap filler
 



INSTRUCTIONS 

1. The largest standing coat rack I’ve made so far came from a young Bradford pear tree that my neighbor Tim took down because it was starting to blow over. As had happened before, Tim’s loss was my gain. (One of his chopped-down maple trees provided the giant fork for my pumpkin launcher ... football field-length shots with small pumpkins). Find a tree like this for you coat tree.





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