Introduction: The Railway Spike Coat Rack/shelf
So this was a christmas gift I gave a couple of years ago, Very simple to make with just handfuls, and some scrap.
You can substitute the railway spikes for another form of metal if they are not available right off the bat!
Step 1: Sourcing Materials.
For this project I used a twisted up length of English Oak and the Railway spikes.
You can use any old timber, I just thought this would look nice against the steel spikes.
The hardest parts to find will surely be the railway spikes, I got mine from an old disused railway line where we walk the dog, The Tracks have long since gone, and the Old wooden sleepers are totally rotten, some of these are laying on the ground, others are still in the timber, but can just be pulled out by hand. Obviously don't go playing on the railroads looking for these, you could easily substitute them for some other length of metal!
Step 2: Cut the Back Board to Length.
Cut the size of the board to suit the number of spikes you have, to what ever gap you need, or for the space you have on the wall. dimension is totally up to you!
Because I wanted the backer board to be fairly chunky I laminated two lengths together, this gave me a about a 1" thick board.
If you laminate you one, use plenty of glue, as many clamps as you can lay your mitts on and leave it over night to dry, if you already have a nice thick board, skip on.
Step 4: Cleaning Up the Spikes.
Because they had been outside in the weather for about 100 years, the spikes were pretty grubby.
Give them a goo clean with a wire brush to get the worst of the mess off. I left the surface rust in place purely because I liked the look, if you want to go back to good steel, use a wire brush attachment in a drill or angle grinder.
You can also throw the metal in a fire and heat them up then plunge them in a bucket of cold water. this will cause all the grim to come straight off the metal - BE CAREFUL WHEN USING FIRE as OBVIOUSLY THE METAL WILL BE HOT!!! Wrap some wire around the spikes before you chick them in the flames, or use some long tongs to handle them.
After that I sprayed the spikes with polyurethane lacquer to seal them up and stop them making the oak go black over time.
once the glue has dried, trim the board up if required, and mark out where you want the spikes to sit.
When you're happy with the layout, drill a hole for the spike, make it a little under sized for the spike so it's a snug fit - but only snug!
Angle the drill upwards slightly so the spikes go in at an angle for a nicer look.
Step 6: Chisel the Hole for a Better Fit.
Depending on the size of the spikes and the hole, Use a small chisel to square up the hole keeping it to a snug fit. If you go too big you can blob in some epoxy if you need to.
Making the hole too tight can cause the wood to split once you hammer the spikes in. This could take a bit of trial and error, but it's worth taking your time to get a nice fit.
Use a scrape piece of wood as a buffer between the hammer and the spike so as not to damage the lacquer finish.
Step 7: Tidy Up the Edges.
use a hand plane, scrapper, sander or what ever you have to tidy up the eyes and make them look respectable, i went for a slightly rustic look due to the state of the spikes, but it's to you own taste.
Step 8: Apply the Finish.
This is the best bit. Once your happy with the fit and look of the work, it's time for the fun bit.
Putting on the finish of your choice to bring the wood to life!
Step 9: Fixing Holes, Then It's Ready to Hang!
last up, drill some holes to give it a fixing point to the wall, you could also use mirror plates. This was a gift so I didn't get to fix it to the wall, but it looks great with a couple of coats hanging by the door.
Participated in the
Shelving Contest 2016
6 years ago
Very neat to use railroad spikes!
Reply 6 years ago
They were just lying in the mud where we walk the dog! Each time I go that way now, I end up looking at the ground to see if there are any more to pick up LOL! :-)
Reply 6 years ago
If you walk along rail road tracks you should find quite a few in the ballast (stones) by the ties because over the years some tend to vibrate themselves out, but it all depends.
Reply 6 years ago
The sleepers are mostly now just in mud due to the amount of foot traffic the line gets now, but in the winter time they are much easier to find in the mud when all the grass is dead. all the ballast has been mushed into the mud.