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How to Build a Coat Rack

In half a day you can assemble stock lumber and a newel post to create an elegant place to hang your hat

If you're sick of stuffing jackets ­into the cramped hall closet but don't want them dirtying the wall beneath hooks near the front door, a freestanding coat rack could be just the ticket.

Step 1

How to Build a Coat Rack

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

At 72 inches tall, this handsome entryway accessory has enough height to hold full-length coats and long scarves, and still manages to dress up the space when left bare. Missouri–based woodworker Harvey Joyce designed and built this rack with a store-bought newel post, but you can collect and shape the pieces to assemble your own. For an extra touch of character, Joyce ­applied a crackled paint before coating the entire piece with a durable coat of polyurethane. Whether you choose a decorative finish, routered legs to add dimension, or ornate hooks that make a statement, your new addition will keep your woollies close at hand on your way out the door and promise a clutter-free foyer when you get home.

Step 2

Make the Legs

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Start with an 18-inch length of 5/4x6 oak ($3.60 per linear foot; Dyke's). Mark a 1-inch-wide-by-4-inch-long notch at the upper-left corner. Mark the 2-inch-wide foot on the lower-right corner. Sketch the leg's contoured outline from the notch to the foot (or use this template). Cut the leg using a jigsaw. Trace and cut out three additional legs. Ease all the edges of the legs—except the notch—using 100-grit sandpaper.

Step 3

Attach the Legs

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Drill two holes, one above the other, using a 3/8-inch combination bit (#10 Drill and Driver, about $9; Stanley). Make the counterbore one-third the depth of each leg. Set the notch of the first leg onto the bottom of a 58-inch-tall newel post (about $65; Lowe's). Attach the leg to the newel post using 2½-inch deck screws. Repeat with the remaining legs. Plug each hole with wood glue and a screw-hole button (about $1.45 for 25; McFeeley's).

Step 4

Apply the Finish

Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Prime and paint, or wipe on stain and apply a coat of polyurethane. Once the finish is dry, install a hook on each side of the squared top section of the newel post at varied heights to maximize hanging space.