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Build It | Metal Coat Rack with Jimmy DiResta

Maker Jimmy DiResta invites Ask This Old House general contractor Tom Silva to his shop for a welding lesson and to build a metal coat rack

1. Start by measuring and cutting the steel to the correct dimensions. For the legs of the coat rack, line each cut leg up with the steel to ensure they’re all the same length.
2. Weld the frame of the coat rack together. Jimmy shares with Tom a few tips on how to ensure a good weld:
a. ALWAYS wear protective gear. The welding process creates UV light, which can burn your skin, hands, and even blind your eyes. Never look directly at a weld unless it’s through a welding mask.
b. Placement of the weld is the most challenging part, since the welding mask makes it hard to see. Jimmy suggests resting your hand on the table to support the hand holding on to the welder to keep the movements steady.
c. Pull the trigger to release the gas around the welder and to feed more of the wire through.
d. Hold the welder about ½” away from the seam at about a 30 degree angle and move the wire in small loops to ensure the wire is bridging the seam.
e. Listen for a consistent welding sound. Jimmy describes it as sizzling bacon.
f. Before putting the mask down, hold the welder in place and practice the movements so that you get a little muscle memory before going for the weld.
3. Cut the ends of the railroad spikes at the angle you’d like them on the coat rack using the grinder.
4. Weld the railroad spikes to the frame of the coat rack.
5. Cut the wood for the top of the coat rack using a bandsaw or a jigsaw.
6. Screw the wood top onto the top of the coat rack.
7. Apply a boiled linseed oil finish to both the wood top and the metal frame.

To weld the frame together, Jimmy used a MIG welder, which is manufactured by Lincoln Electric. The light generated from welding is harmful, so be sure to wear protective clothing and a welding mask. Never look directly at the light from welding.

The structure of the coat rack was made using 2x2 square stock 16 gauge steel, which can be purchased from a metal shop. The coat hooks were made using salvaged railroad ties.

The top of the coat rack was made using a piece of 2” thick sapele, but any thick piece of wood would work.

Jimmy used boiled linseed oil as a finish on both the metal and the wood.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Jimmy DiResta.