Coat Hanger From Railroad Spikes and Barn Board

Introduction: Coat Hanger From Railroad Spikes and Barn Board

About: I'm a 29 year old guy who's passionate about building and fixing things, sometimes if they aren't even broken. I get a great sense of enjoyment out of creating, designing and building new things. I also love t…

My wife recently picked up some old railroad spikes at a garage sale and wanted me to turn them into some sort of coat hanger. A little while later, we picked up an old piece of barn board from a flea market for $5. I finally had everything I needed to make an antique style wall mounted coat hanger!

Here's what you'll need:

-Old railroad spikes or some other sort of large nail (Quantity depends on how many hangers you want)

-Antique barn board or other wood

-Scrap piece of wood for the backing/extra support


-Tape measure



-Pen or pencil

-Wood glue

-Screws and screwdriver



-Drill with various bits


Let's get started!

Step 1: Measure and Mark Centre Point of Board and Cut

Since I was making two separate coat hangers, I needed to cut my barn board in half. If you're not cutting yours in half you can skip this step.

Just measure the centre point of your board with a tape measure, make a pen mark and then use your square to draw a straight line down the board to make cutting easier.

After that, put in in your mitre saw (or use a hand saw) and cut it on the line.

Note: Always wear safety glasses and observe proper safety precautions when using power tools.

Step 2: Measure and Mark Holes for Nails

Now you just need to decide where and how many nails/hangers you want on the board. Each of my two boards ended up being approximately 23 3/4" long, so I decided on 4 evenly spaced hangers on each. I made them approximately 4 3/4" apart from each other. After measuring and marking where each hole would be with my pen, I used my awl to make a mark for drilling.

Step 3: Drill and Glue Scrap Board On

Now you need to glue an extra piece of wood onto the back of your barn board to make it a bit thicker. The reasoning for this is to have more material for the railroad spikes to secure to, allowing them to support more weight. I used some scrap pine for this as I didn't have enough barn board left to double it up.

The scrap board is the part that will actually be attached to the wall, so I prepared it all before gluing it to the barn board. I drilled two holes 16" apart from each other through the board (16" is the standard distance between wall studs) and then used my Dremel to make a sort of 'key' in the wood so it would be able to mount flush on the wall (see pics).

Just apply a liberal amount of wood glue to the scrap piece of wood and centre it on the rear of the barn board. If you have clamps, they will help greatly in keeping the two pieces of wood tightly together while the glue sets. If you don't have clamps, you could screw the scrap wood to the back of the barn board. If you do this, just be sure to use screws that are short enough that they won't go through the front of the barn board. Also, if you use screws, make sure you locate them in an area that won't get in the way of the holes for the railroad spikes.

Step 4: Drill Holes for Spikes

Now that you've got your pieces of wood glued together, you can drill the holes that your railroad spikes will sit in. Why not just nail them in? You could, but since they have such a large diameter there's a good chance that you will split the wood if you nail them in without drilling pilot holes.

When it comes to the size of your drill bit, use one that is just slightly smaller in diameter than your railroad spikes. This will allow the spikes to fit snugly in the holes.

I also had to use my Dremel to grind out a bit of the wood within the holes to make them more square-shaped since the railroad spikes are more square than round.

Step 5: Stain

If you want to stain your wood, now is the best time. I chose to just put a coat of Varathane on to help seal it and give it a slightly darker finish.

Just mix your stain with a stir stick and brush on however many coats you decide to use.

Allow it to dry.

Note that I stained my board after nailing the spikes in. You can do this, but I would have found it simpler to stain the wood before nailing the spikes in.

Step 6: Attach Railroad Spikes

To attach your railroad spikes, just put a bit of glue in the holes (I used epoxy) and gently tap your spikes in with a hammer if necessary. Allow the epoxy to set.

Step 7: Hang It on the Wall

Find your wall studs and drill two holes in them, 16" apart (or whatever distance apart you made your mounting holes on your scrap wood). Then put a screw in each hole (use plugs if necessary) and hang your coat hanger on them!

Now you've got a unique wall mounted coat rack out of recycled materials!

I hope you enjoyed this Instructable!

Wood Contest

Participated in the
Wood Contest

Wall Overhaul

Participated in the
Wall Overhaul

Formlabs Contest

Participated in the
Formlabs Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Anything Goes Contest

      Anything Goes Contest



    8 years ago on Introduction

    My wife loves this kind of stuff, and would be thrilled to have something just like this in our house. Hopefully she will NOT see this...

    Too many project lined up, not enough time! :)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Haha I know exactly how you feel!