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While working in the shop my brother expressed his dislike of how we throw our coats and other discarded garments over chairs, equipment, or anything that will hold them. And being easily distracted as I am, I decided to build a coat and/or hat rack.
Things I used:

  • MIG welder
  • 4 1/2 inch grinder with wire brush cup
  • Air scribe
  • Side cutters
  • Hammer
  • Big Crescent wrench
  • Drill press
  • Vise

Materials:

  • Horse-shoes
  • Scrap metal laying around the shop
  • Lag bolts

I decided to use horse-shoes, because I have a bucket full of them. And they can be fun to look at if you work them the right way. As I worked I noticed several other things in the shop that I could have just as easily transformed into a coat/hat rack.

Step 1: Clean Horse-shoes

Here is a great opportunity to talk about SAFETY. Put on those safety glasses you think are dorky. Get some good heavy gloves and put them on. Because I have chipped lenses and, burned, ground upon gloves to prove they work. While you're at it put some ear protection on too.

Used horse-shoes are usually filthy, and require cleaning. I don't much care for the idea of petrified horse pucky being in contact with my clothes. First remove any remaining nails. I find it is best to cut them short with some side cutters. Then I can give them a little tap with a hammer and work them out with pliers or a punch.

So I used a 4 1/2 inch angle grinder with a wire brush cup to clean the shoes up. A powered wire brush is a great tool for surface cleaning metal. But they tend to be really grabby, like a pervy old man grabbing nurse's butts in the hospital. Seriously, a wire brush can get a hold of an edge and quickly turn what was in your hands into a nifty missile. There are holes in my shop wall to prove this. And trying to clean horse-shoes multiplies the likelihood of making missiles. Most of the holes in the wall are from horse-shoes. In fact never have I put a powered brush to a horse-shoe without it being torn from my hands. A pedestal mounted wire brush is nice, because all you have to hold on to is the shoe. Or you could clamp the shoe in a vise and just deal with the grinder wanting to leap out of your hands.

But I don't do that. My pedestal grinder died. And I seem to think I am some sort of bad-ass. So I hold a grinder in one hand and the horse-shoe in the other. However, I do keep very close attention to the brush's direction of rotation. And in what direction the brush is moving across the shoe. I try very hard to keep from 'aiming' the shoe at myself. Whenever possible have the brush direction pulling the shoe away from yourself.

Step 2: Deep Clean

Hopefully you have managed to power brush your horse-shoes without requiring medical treatment. But you might notice that there is still something stuck in the groove of the shoe. And as hard as you worked that power brush, it is still there. I swear the stuff is like cement. I was thinking about chipping it out with a screwdriver. But then I remembered I had a powered tool that would accomplish the same thing.

Enter the air scribe. A simple little tool with a reciprocating carbide bit. Almost like a miniature jack-hammer. And it works just as well. I used the air scribe to chip the petrified pucky out of the groove. Which I thought it did a rather good job of.

Step 3: Bend and Build

With your clean shoes you can now move on to fabrication. This was a very 'In the moment' sort of build. So whatever I could get my hands on the fastest ended up being used. And for me, this tends to lead to a severe lack of forethought. Luckily I have been doing things like this most of my life, and have a sense for how to achieve a desired result. If this sounds familiar to you, awesome! If not, that's cool too, just sit down a minute or two and work out a plan of how to alter and put stuff together.

I wanted a double hook to be made from one horse-shoe. And to weld said hook onto a piece of plate or bar stock. This way the plate or bar stock would act as a mounting plate for the hook. So since I had no idea what my hook was going to end up like I started there. When I first grabbed the horse-shoes I thought I was going to have to use the acetylene torch to heat them in order to bend them. But I decided to try bending cold iron.

First I bent the horse-shoe in the middle, because I figured that would get me my double hook. But all that did was bring the ends of the shoe closer together. Next I bent the end away from one another. And was happy with the result. The second horse-shoe I bent the ends first. And that was really close to how the first ended. So the next bend was in the middle. Just to even things up a bit.

Step 4: Weld Parts

Now I have my hooks, but I need a way to mount them to the wall. After rummaging through one of the scrap buckets I found a blank circle that had been cut out. And for some reason there was a piece of flat bar on the floor that I had been kicking around. All I need do is weld the horse-shoes to my found iron.

If you can help it, save the visible welds for last. There are a couple of reasons for this. The most obvious is that you will have practiced where you can't see. The second reason is the previous welds will have effectively per-heated the steel. Cold welds are ugly welds. Hot welds flow like water, and are nice and pretty.

Step 5: Drill Holes for Fasteners

The racks have a mount point but will need some way to be mounted. As is, a industrial adhesive might work. But I am more of a nuts and bolts sort of guy. So I need to punch a hole in the plate to accommodate hardware. I had a couple of 1/4 inch lag bolts laying around. And after punching the hole I realized that my designed was flawed. Having a single mounting bolt allows too much instability. The rack could swing or rotate around the lag bolt. So I drilled another smaller hole for a screw. That way any twisting will be stopped by the screw.

Step 6: Mount Hardware

All that is left is to mount the now complete racks where they are needed. Lag bolts need to be pre-drilled. So a quick bit of work with the hand drill and I am ready to finish. Tighten the hardware and I have coat and hat racks!

<p>The design is brilliantly compact and functional - with class. Do you have any for sale?</p>
<p>I appreciate the complement, but I'm afraid I don't have any to sell. I have considered trying to sell some of my work before, and concluded that it was too much like work.</p>
I understand!
<p>This is super well done! It looks great :D</p>
<p>This is a great use for old horse shoes. Nicely done!</p>

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Bio: I am a shop body. Give me a job, the tools to do it, and I will be happy as can be. I get along ... More »
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