Random Rectangles Coat Rack

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Project by TheWoodenOyster posted 12-26-2013 05:41 PM 1594 views 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I finished this a few days ago for my mother for Christmas. I have seen patterns like this one before and have always had it in the back of my head. I figured this small application would be a good chance to give it a shot. My mom loves “funky” things, so I figured she would like this. Plus, she’s my mom, so she will love anything I make her, no matter how dumpy it looks. It is made of some left over walnut from a job site.

First, I’ll quickly describe how I went about designing this. I knew I wanted overall dimensions of 4” x 30”x 1”. That being said, I wanted the height of the rectangles to be between 1/4” and 1”, the length of the rectangles to be between 1/4” and 4”, and the depth to be between 1/2” and 1”. So, I “randomly” drew it by hand on a piece of plywood that was 4” x 30”. Well, it turns out it didn’t look so random. Too many very small and very large rectangles. I guess I am subconsciously an extremes person??? Anyway, I resorted to my old friend Microsoft Excel to generate real random number sets. I input the ranges and received random number sets from excel for the height, length, and depth of the rectangles. I translated those to a blank piece of wrapping paper and had my template.

Secondly, I’ll describe the construction. First, I dimensioned a solid backer piece that was 4” x 30” x 3/8”. Then I cut the 30” “rows” and marked the vertical breaks between the different rectangles. Then I marked the individual rectangles with numbers that corresponded to the depth of cut that I wanted to remove. Next was on to the tablesaw for mass sawdust production cutting the notches out. This took a while, and a dado stack would have been dreadfully useful. After that, I took each row and smoothed out the ridges left from the saw with a chisel. A rabbeting block plane or shoulder plane would have been nice for this, add it to the list. I did not touch any sandpaper because I knew I would start to lose the sharp 90 degree corners if I did. After that I glued all of the rows to the backer strip with all the clamps I had. The glue up for this was really difficult and I ended up with a few gaps at the end that I was able to close up with CA glue and some clamps. The pegs were drilled at a slight angle. Pegs were stainless steel 5/16” rod epoxied into the angles holes. Finish is one coat of waterlox wiped on and then off. The finishing of this piece was also pretty rough and I had to use a lot of q-tips to get into the corners.

In all, I was pleased with this and hope to use the style on some lager projects, maybe a headboard or a dresser. Giving it to my mom on Dec 28, Hope she likes it!!!

Lessons learned that are specifically applicable to this modular rectangle design:

- A dado stack and a table saw sled are the way to do the notches. (or a good router set up)
- A rabbeting block plane or shoulder plane is probably the most efficient way to smooth the notches out
- Finishing before glue up is the way to go to avoid having to get into all the difficult corners.

Photos 1,2,3 are finished product. Photo 4 is layout of notches. Photo 5 is cutting notches on table saw sled. Photo 6 is smoothing out notches with a chisel.

Hope you like it! Please let me know if you have any questions!

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

2 comments so far

View mgb_2x's profile


181 posts in 3877 days

#1 posted 12-26-2013 06:50 PM

Very nice job!

-- "aim small miss small" m g breedlove

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 2984 days

#2 posted 12-30-2013 02:59 PM

Cool coat rack! Like the unique geometric design. I’m sure your Mom will love it. Great job!

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