Introduction: Track Shelving Hack
This hack covers the installation of a bar for hanging clothes in a track shelving system that I was unable to find a match for at the hardware store.
Track shelving, the ubiquitous organization system that is equal parts economical and annoying. I was under the misconception that all track shelving is made equal and that a quick run to the hardware store would score a clothing rack that fits the existing track shelving units in our new house. I was wrong, but I ended up with a solution that was even cheaper!
Total cost < $5
Total time 30 minutes (includes the time to clear the closet)
Step 1: Supplies & Tools
- Clothing bar of required length
- 1 ft. of enamel chain (65 lbs. capacity)
- 2 bar end caps (if necessary, I didn't need them)
- Hacksaw or rotary tool
- Needle nose pliers
- Tin sheers (optional)
- Leather work gloves
Step 2: Preparing the Bar
First thing is first, size up your bar to your space. Make sure it extends the length you want it to and that there is enough room to hang it. Drop it down four to six inches from the shelf you are about to hang it on and make sure there is enough room to easily get hangers on and off.
Once you have found an appropriate height for your bar, grab your chain and mark off the links you'll need. The chain to use is weldless steel chain and each link is actually half of a unit, so in order for the chain to function you will need to have an even number of links (you'll see in later steps why but it's pretty obvious once you look at it).
Now take a look at your bar. I got lucky in finding one that is supposed to mount on either side to a wall joist or wood so at each end the cap extended into the bar and had an eye hole for a screw. All I had to do was trim a flange from the cap to allow the chain to gain access to the hole, you may use the saw, rotary tool or sheers for this step (see picture).
If your bad does not have end caps like this, simply move onto the next step however you will need to double up the length of chain you need to form a loop from the shelf above around the bar. The method I'm illustrating shows only a single length of chain.
Step 3: Cutting the Link
In this step we'll turn the links into hooks to attach to the shelf above and bar end caps. In these images you can see better how the links are really a unit of two. Be sure to study the links before you cut so that you do not cut the side that provides structure to the link unit. This should be evident once you look at it for a few seconds but it's difficult to put into words.
The chain we are using is used to hang signs, plants and other medium to light duty stuff and is available in the chain section of the hardware store. This particular chain is rated for 65 lbs, more than enough for our clothes bar.
If you haven't done so by now, put on your goggles and gloves.
Cut your links at either side of the length of chain you need. Remember to cut two for each side and maybe an extra one to loop around if your bar extends further than about three feet (one meter). If you do need another length of chain to support the middle remember to add a little more than double the length for the loop, this is easy if you do the ends first then measure the middle length once you hang the bar.
I cut mine with a hacksaw because I left my rotary tool at my father-in-law's. I highly recommend using a rotary tool for this step since it would have been much easier. Just grab the link with the pliers and make the cut with a cutoff blade.
Once the links are cut, use your gloved hands and needle nose pliers to open the link up into a hook. I was able to do it easily with just the one set of pliers but you may want to employ another set if it proves too hard or too small to handle.
Step 4: Raising the Bar
Now that both ends of your lengths of chain are cut into hooks, we can attach the chains to the supporting shelf. Simply hook the chain at one end to the wire shelf that the bar will hang from and close the hook with your needle nose pliers. Do the same on the other end.
Hang the bar by passing the other hooked end of the chain through each eye hole and you're done!
A new clothes rack in your closet for next to nothing and in less time than it takes to get one of those pesky track shelves to lock in place! We've had this up now for a month fully loaded and it's still solid.
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