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Picture of Rustic wooden towel rack
This instructable will show you how to make a towel rack from scrap wood and a broom stick.

We recently added wooden frames around the doors and windows  in our beach house, made from a Brazilian hard wood called Angelim Pedra. We had lots of this beautiful hard wood left over from this project, and I decided to use it to make some towel racks. I hate to see good wood go to waste!;-)

Here's how I did it...

Materials:
• scrap wood
• broomstick
• wood glue
• varnish/paint
• nails
• screws
• plastic screw anchors

Tools:
• Hammer
• Hack saw
• Grinder (optional)
• Paint brush
• Drill
• 13/16 wood bit
• rasp (or file)
• Screw driver
 
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Step 1: Select and measure wood

Picture of Select and measure wood
measure broom stick.jpg
As I mentioned in the introduction, I had a lot of Angelim Pedra to work with. Ironically I only had two broom sticks to work with. Since I wanted to make four of these towel racks, and the broomsticks measured about 100 cm each, I decided to make my racks about 50 cm wide.

The first picture above isn't the exact piece of wood I used, but from the same wood pile. 
(This is a piece I used for my Steampunk Socket/Switchplates;-)

Step 2: Grind (or sand) wood

Picture of Grind (or sand) wood
This wood is particularly hard, and as I learned in making my steampunk switchplates, it lends itself nicely to being finished with a grinder. The grinder adds a nice rustic effect, by leaving burn marks on the wood. If you don't have a grinder, or the wood you use doesn't lend itslef to this process, you may decide to just sand your wood.

This is also a good time to drill two holes through the base, equidistant from each end, where we will later mount the rack to the wall.

Step 3: Cut end pieces

Picture of Cut end pieces
To create the ends of the towel rack, which hold the broom stick in place, measure how far out you want the towel to hang, keeping in mind that that you'll lose a bit of space when you attach these pieces to the back.

After you've cut two rectangular pieces (about 4 to 5 inches long) make diagonal cuts on the top of the ends that will face out, and then round the edges a bit with a sander, rasp or file.

(The picture above is of an end piece that I cut too short, but you can see the rounded edge).

Step 4: Prepare end pieces

Picture of Prepare end pieces
cut slots.jpg
clamp.jpg
chisel.jpg
file.jpg
finished ends.jpg
This is by far the most complicated and labor intensive step in this process.

I thought about different ways to assemble this rack, and realized I needed to mount it to the wall before I added the broom stick. (Otherwise the stick would interfere with screwing into the wall). To accomplish this, I decided to prepare the end pieces in such a way that I could slide the stick in after the rack was mounted. (Why does that sound so dirty?;-)

So what I did was use a 13/16 wood bit to create the hole. I drilled just far enough to create a small hole through the other side, to eventually put the screws which will hold the stick in place.

Then I used a hack saw blade to make slits from the drilled hole, to the bottom of these pieces, making sure that the space was slightly wider than the holes. 

Once these guidelines were cut into the wood, I placed the piece in a clamp, placing the clamp upside down. The bottom part of the clamp I used fit perfectly into the drilled hole, and held the piece in place, while I chiseled out a track to slide the broom stick into.

After chiseling, I used a rasp to smooth out the slots.

Step 5: Assemble

Picture of Assemble
nail ends to base.jpg
With the end pieces ready, it's now time to nail them to the base. Start hammering the nails in place before assembling. Once the nails are in the end piece, place some wood glue along the edge of the base and then nail on the end piece.

As the wood I was working with is particularly hard, I didn't have to worry about it splitting, but you may have to find another way to attach the ends (maybe elbow brackets or hinges?) if you are using a more delicate wood.

Step 6: Paint and cut broom stick

Picture of Paint and cut broom stick
cut stick.jpg
I forgot to take a picture of the broom stick before I painted it, but it looked just like a broom stick!;-)

I used a coffee colored (if you take your coffee with milk) enamel paint, which in Portuguese is called "Tabac," I guess because it has the appearance of dried tobacco. Select a paint color depending on your desired finished product.

Once the rack is assembled, lay the broom stick in place, and measure to make sure you have a tight fit, inside the end pieces.

Step 7: Varnish (or stain)

Picture of Varnish (or stain)
varnish 2.jpg
I used a Brazilian varnish called Sparlack Neutrex, the same varnish I used for my Instructable, Painting metal to look like wood.


Step 8: Mount rack to wall

Picture of Mount rack to wall
If you have tiled walls, you probably want to drill a hole first, and install plastic screw anchors.

Measure the distance between the holes by placing the rack against the wall, and making marks (maybe with a nail or screw) through the holes in the wooden base. Once you have the plastic anchors in the wall, you're ready to mount the rack.


Step 9: Finished product

Picture of Finished product
Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of the last step, which is screwing the broom stick into place. But if you've made it this far, hopefully you can figure out the rest on your own!;-)
Great job... well done, I solved the fixing problem by drilling the mounting holes 1/2" above the center of the rail.
Winged Fist (author)  I am in the shed!3 years ago
I thought about that, and it certainly would have been easier, but I decided to go with this more complicated method, so that the mounting screws would be less visible. I'd like to see a picture of yours, if you could post one here in the comments!
This is one I made last year... You can just make out the positions of the mounting holes. I made one recently, also from Oak but more rustic looking like yours, I'm doing an instructable on it at the moment but can't get to my shed much to finish it.
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Junophor3 years ago
Great idea

Cheers Aeon Junophor
Winged Fist (author)  Junophor3 years ago
Thanks Junophor! As you can see, I was able to sneak a few steampunk elements into our beach house;-)
Well how am I going to finish this without the last step? lol
Winged Fist (author)  Grasshopper12213 years ago
Grasshopper - Your comment made me literally "laugh-out-loud!";-)