Build a "vintage" Barn Board Railroad Spike Coat Rack & Hat Shelf




Introduction: Build a "vintage" Barn Board Railroad Spike Coat Rack & Hat Shelf

About: My girlfriend and I run a company called Deville's Workshop in Toronto, Canada. We build weird props for film and television and love this website - such a great resource for inspiration and discussion!

I saw one of these that someone had made and really liked the idea, so I decided to try it myself (and I added about six more feet to the length). There's all sorts of safety hazards with this Instructable so please be careful if you decide to make one. Also, I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to wander around train tracks collecting discarded spikes, so please exercise more common sense than I did and, I dunno, maybe buy the spikes from a flea market or something.

If you're diggin' this Instructable, please check out this one I worked on with a good group of knuckleheads (we built a full-scale vintage WW2-era town and then blew it up all to heck). I sometimes get called on to make film props look vintage and aged and so forth; if anyone has examples of how they make things look worn and beat up I'd love to hear about it (I'm always trying to find new ways to make things look old!!!). Please post links to your Instructables in the comments section. Mucho mucho!

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Here is a a pretty complete list of stuff that I used:

  1. Old barnboard (I cut one 8' piece in half and used the offcuts to make little gusset brackets)
  2. Nuts and bolts (to secure the metal to the wood)
  3. an 8' length of steel flatbar
  4. railroad spikes (I found mine on the ground along some tracks near my shop)
  5. crown staples (long enough to go through the thickness of your boards)
  6. shellac (I used concrete sealer but shellac would prolly be better)

  1. Compressor and crown stapler
  2. angle grinder with wire cup
  3. hand saw
  4. welder
  5. metal chop saw
  6. vise
  7. ninja stars (just seeing if you're paying attention)

Step 2: Build It!

First I wandered around the tracks with a burlap sack. Once I had collected a dozen or so railroad spikes I make a little jig in my metal chopsaw so that I could cut each spike at about 20o, just about where the end tapers. I did this so that later when I'm welding them on the flat bar they will be angled slightly upward (to help hold the jackets that will be hung on them).

Step 3: Finish It!

I cleaned up all the spikes by carefully clamping them in a vise and scrubbing them rust-free with an angle grinder and a wire cup brush. Make sure you wear ALL the proper safety gear here; those mean little grinder wires fire off little a machine gun and stick in you.

Next I welded the spikes on the bar, leaving about six and 3/4 inches between each spike. I discovered that between my poor welding and the contorted shapes of the spikes they didn't uniformly protrude from the bar. It's ok, it's a "vintage" piece, this just helps with the aesthetic.

The final step was simply to bolt the bar to the barnboard shelf. Oh, and to coat the whole thing (to keep rust and board dust from getting on my coats and hats). I had concrete sealer in the shop but I would probably suggest using shellac or varnish. Anyway, I think it turned out alright.

One note! Make sure to screw it directly into studs because of the weight when all the coats start getting added to it. Also, it makes sense to screw through the metal bar into the studs, just to add extra support.

And that's it!! Cheers,


Be the First to Share


    • Bikes Challenge

      Bikes Challenge
    • Remix Contest

      Remix Contest
    • Make it Move Contest 2020

      Make it Move Contest 2020

    6 Discussions

    Nice build, now if only I can remember where I put my box of railroad spikes.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    yeah, our shop backs out onto about 7 lines of track so there's probably hundreds of discarded spikes on the ground as soon as I step out my back door. I've seen some great blacksmithing photos of knives that some people make out of the spikes, they look amazing! I'm kind of itching to try making some knives now.