Clothes Tree "Hang em high"

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Project by vipond33 posted 09-17-2011 07:47 PM 3046 views 6 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This piece is taken from the fascinating book “Making Swedish Country Furniture and Household Things” published in 1976 (1990) by Hans Keijser. In it there are detailed drawings and photographs for 35 ordinary items that would have been made and used in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some pieces resemble early American or Canadian styles though most have a distinctly European flavour. The book is still available and even if you don’t buy it I encourage you to read the introduction by the author at
He has some interesting things to say about our modern approach to woodcraft as compared to then.

I have deviated slightly from the plan for this tree to suit my skills and sensibilities, most notably in the base. The original plan called for diagonal braces running from the base to the centre column. I thought them to be quite unnecessary and they were eliminated in favour of a more graceful look.
Done in mahogany, all cross pieces are half lapped, with the column through mortised into the base and through mortised into the upper crosses with a stepped tenon. The clothes hook ends were hand cut with a knife while the base profiles were machined with a router and eased with a plane, chisel and file. There are adjustable feet underneath as this unit can be quite unstable because of the height. Two brass side hooks serve the younger set and the finish is Tried and True with Watco dark satin wax.

I made an interesting discovery about proportions and perspective after construction (but before finishing). When complete, the front of the legs looked much too large even though they were identical in width to the centre portion as planned. They looked like oversize bear paws and were quite disturbing. It finally came to me that the foreshortening of my vision was the culprit. I reduced the width of them by 1/16” on either side and it was suddenly perfect.

Another interesting discovery was made when I took it home. At first I thought, what am I going to use all these hooks for? Now it’s a case of why isn’t there any more room here!!?? They had some good ideas back then for this is a supremely useful item in the home whether in the bedroom or front hall.

23 1/2” x 23 1/2” x 70 1/2”
About 28hrs.
Build on LJ’s.

-- [email protected] : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

5 comments so far

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 4153 days

#1 posted 09-17-2011 07:52 PM

Great looking piece…..............

-- mike...............

View peteg's profile


4436 posts in 3874 days

#2 posted 09-18-2011 12:00 AM

That’s a fasinating piece Gene, love you workmanship & finish. Great to see also a piece that results from research, it shows thru to the build,
Well done :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 4933 days

#3 posted 09-18-2011 03:01 PM

Very nice. That would be handy.
The kids would ‘own’ it in my house as they hate to hang up things.

And your finish just looks so lustrous. I just want to touch it.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View itsmic's profile


1419 posts in 4170 days

#4 posted 09-20-2011 05:46 PM

Glad I hung around to see this one, I like it alot, the style you picked is great, seeing one with the extra suppots might be cool too, Your instints and perfection on this piece is superb, neat how such a small distance can be noticed, Your write up and explanation is exceleent, good reading Gene, thanks for sharing

-- It's Mic Keep working and sharing

View xylosapiens's profile


198 posts in 4666 days

#5 posted 10-30-2011 01:34 AM

I like the arm’s design very much. Trying to be constructive: I think the design of the foot should have been the same as that of the arms, just inverted and a bit wider. The piece deserves it. Just an opinion. Thank you for sharing.

-- Alejandro Moreno alias xylosapiens, CANARY ISLANDS

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