Introduction: Shoe Rack / Coat Rack / Bench Combo (Hall Tree)
I was tired of having a pile of shoes near my entryway, nowhere to sit when I put them on, and coats strewn all about my house. So I designed and made this piece, which I believe is called a "hall tree" in some parts. It's a bench with a shoe rack underneath and a coat rack up above.
I started by cutting the very top cross-piece for the coat rack part. I used 1" square steel tubing and cut the cross piece to 33". The sides of the coat rack part are 72" high. They came 72" so they did not need to be cut. I'm using a handheld metal-cutting bandsaw here.
Instead of cutting 45-degree miters for the joint, I notched out 1" from the 33" cross piece. That way I didn't have to cut the 72" high pieces at all-- they just slid into place.
In case the perspective is disorienting, here are the pieces I'm talking about.
It's imperative to frequently check for square when welding... especially when it's very thin gauge steel. This square tubing is only 1/16" thick, so it wants to bend and warp like crazy once it gets hot from welding.
Once I have the corner at a nice 90-degree angle, I lock it into place with once of these welding magnets and tack it with the MIG gun. These are the top two corners in the 3D model image from before.
I cut another piece at 31" inches so that it will fit inside the two 72" high pieces. This will be the back of the bench and act as another cross-brace for the tall coat rack.
I clamped the 31" long cross brace in place and got it nice and square...
...then I tacked it in place in the front and the back of both sides.
In the process of welding the 31" cross-brace.
I then used that 31" back cross-brace to reference and mark the length of another piece of tubing. This piece will be the front of the bench. It's important that this front piece is exactly the same length as the back piece, otherwise the bench will not have square 90-degree angles (it would be more of a trapezoid than a rectangle).
After marking the correct length, I made the cut with the handheld bandsaw. I also cut two pieces to 16". These will be the two front legs.
Again, constantly making sure everything is square. This picture is showing one of the front legs and the front cross piece (see next image).
Here's what we're looking at-- the joining of the 16" legs to the 31" front cross-brace.
Welding each leg to the front cross-brace.
I used 1" angle iron for the top sides of the bench. This is so I could easily attach the wood bench top with brackets without the brackets showing (more on that later). These pieces are 13" long.
I used an angle grinder to grind down the welds that connect the legs to the front cross-brace. This was so I'd have a nice flat surface to weld the angle iron to.
I used a welding magnet again to keep everything square and welded the angle iron pieces to the front piece of the bench.
This picture provides a better perspective. The structure is lying on its back. I'm welding one of the angle iron pieces into place to connect the front of the bench to the back/coat rack part.
I cut two pieces of 1" flat bar to 14" in length. These two pieces will be the sides of the shoe rack.
I drilled out 6 evenly spaced holes in the flat bar. I used a regular bit to make some pilot holes, then a step bit to make each hole 3/8".
Checking to make sure that the steel rods fit through the holes. I'm using 6 3/8" rods to make the shoe rack.
I clamped some 5" spacers to the legs to make sure that the shoe rack side pieces where the exactly level.
Then I ran the 3/8" rods through the holes and in to place.
I used a cutoff wheel in the angle grinder to cut the rods off flush with the side pieces.
After through-welding the rods in place, I used a flap disc in the angle grinder to grind then flush with the side pieces.
I figured the bench could use a support piece in the middle, so I cut one down to length and welded it into place.
I used the remaining 1" flat bar cutoffs to make some brackets to attach the coat rack wood to. These are 3/8" holes again. I drilled 4 holes, then cut the piece in half to give me 2 brackets that each had 2 holes in them.
I welded the brackets in place 1" down from the top of the coat rack. The brackets are each 4" long.
I marked and cut the wood for the coat rack using a miter saw.
Nice fit, right? I slowly crept up on the cut, checking each time to see if it was the fit I wanted.
I bought 5 of these hanger things from Home Depot. I marked, with even spacing, where I wanted each to be mounted.
Then I drilled some holes for the mounting brackets.
I also drilled pilot holes in the back of the board to where it will mount to the brackets on the steel frame.
The wooden seat of the bench need to be 14" deep. I had some boards of walnut that were 3/4" thick and 5.5" wide, so I ripped one down to 3". 2 5.5" boards plus the 3" board will give me a depth of 14".
I glued up the board using pipe clamps and yellow wood glue. Make sure you follow the instructions for dry-time on the glue bottle.
I sanded all the wooden pieces with 80, 150, 220, and 320 grit sandpaper on an orbital sander. You don't have to go all the way up to 320, but I think it makes a big tactile difference in the wood.
I just used simple wipe-on polyurethane to finish the walnut. It dries fast, and it looks great.
For the steel, I painted it flat black with Rustoleum spray paint. I ended up doing 3 coats total.
To account for wood movement, you don't want to attach the bench seat directly to the steel. That won't allow the wood to expand and contract as it absorbs/dissipates moisture from the air. I use these brackets meant for screen doors in situations like this. They'll just slide slightly back and forth as the wood moves, but they keep the wood solidly attached to the steel frame. You can find these brackets with all the other screen door hardware at Home Depot, Lowe's, etc.
The coat hanger hooks simply slide onto the brackets. It took a little fiddling to get them tight enough to have a good friction fit, but loose enough that I could actually slide them on.
To account for wood movement in the coat rack, I used a washer and a screw that was smaller than the hole in the bracket. This lets the screw move around as it needs to, but still provides enough friction to keep the wood tightly secured to the steel frame.
Last step... attaching wooden part of the coat rack through the brackets in the back.
Here's the finished product in the wild. I hope you've found this post useful... happy making!
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