Rustic Shelf With Hammer Head Hooks




About: I'm not an expert in anything. I just enjoy making things sometimes for the process sometimes for the end product.

In this Instructable I make a rustic shelf with hammer heads for the clothes hooks. I thought about making this out of a nicer wood but I had some leftover pallet wood and decided to use it instead. If I don’t like it I can always unscrew the hammer heads and attach them to a nicer shelf. I purchased the hammers awhile ago at Harbor Freight for around $3-$4 ea. I bought them because they were cheap and thought I could use them for something other than their intended use. I didn’t have a set design or plan for these I just put it together as I went along. There were no major issues except for the split wood. That was something I should have fixed before I glued and screwed it on to the back. This is also the first time I tried adding a hammered texture to metal which I feel really added to the overall look of the piece. If I were to make this again I would probably add something to the bottom edge it feels like it is missing something but I don’t have any ideas at the moment.

Build video.

Step 1:

These are the three hammer heads that I used for this project. As I said in the intro I bought these for about $3-$4 each at the time, which I don't consider terribly expensive considering what "nice" coat hooks can cost.

Step 2:

The first thing I did was cut off the hammer heads. I setup a stop block on my miter saw and cut off the handle at what I thought looked like the right length. I probably should have put some type of spacer in the gap under the handle to support the piece while I made the cuts. In the end this didn't affect the cuts but it probably would have been safer.

Step 3:

I didn't have an actual plan for the shelf so I just tried a few different things placing the wood in various configurations until I found one that I liked. I also played around with the positioning of the hammer heads to see what looked best. At this point nothing is glued or screwed.

Step 4:

Since this is pallet wood I didn't measure the lengths to cut, instead I just placed each piece where it would be attached and marked where I would need to make the cut. The pallet wood is far from perfect and it is easier and probably more accurate to mark the cut then measure it.

Step 5:

I used a square to transfer the mark across the front of the board and used my miter saw to make the cut for all three pieces.

Step 6:

After making the cuts I check the fit again and then added glue to the vertical pieces and then placed the horizontal pieces on top of them.

Step 7:

Next I pre-drill all the pilot holes and screwed the horizontal pieces to the vertical ones.

Step 8:

Its the same process for the center vertical piece. I find the center of all the pieces and then add glue making sure to pre-drill pilot holes and then finally add the screws.

Step 9:

Next it was time to add the piece on top that would make the shelf. I added glue to the top edges and here again made sure to pre-drill pilot holes and attach the shelf with screws. I used a clamp to hold the shelf in place while I screwed it together. The last picture shows what the shelf looks like from the top once it has been screwed.

Step 10:

I should have fixed this crack before screwing the shelf to the rest of the piece. It was a simple fix I just added glue to the crack and used a brush to shove the glue in to the crack and then clamped it for 24 hours to let the glue dry. The cracks add to the rustic look.

Step 11:

I didn't think the top shelf joint was very strong so I added some metal support pieces. This is just some 1/2 inch wide mild steel that I cut to length. Here again I didn't use a tape measure to get the length I just held the steel up to the two corners and marked where I would make the cut. I used my angle grinder fitted with a cut off wheel to make the cuts.

Step 12:

I felt the steel bracing looked a little too new and decided to add some character to the metal. So I took my ball peen hammer and began randomly hammering the entire surface of the steel, front and back. After quite a bit of hammering I got the look I was after.

Step 13:

I used my belt sander to round over the edges.

Step 14:

After rounding over the edges I marked where the screw holes would go and center punched the marks and then drilled the four holes. I also countersunk the holes so the screw heads would sit flush which can be seen in the last picture.

Step 15:

To bring out the hammered texture I sanded the support pieces with some 150-220 grit sand paper. The second picture shows the difference the sanding makes. The top piece is not sanded the bottom one is after sanding.

Step 16:

Next I attached the support pieces first making sure to pre-drill pilot holes and then screwing the support pieces to the shelf.

Step 17:

Next I pre-drilled the hammer heads for the screws that I would use to attach them to the shelf.

Step 18:

Now it was time to attach the hammer heads to the shelf. First I found the centers and drilled holes all the way through the back piece. I used long screws with washers on them to attach the hammer heads from the back. I did not use glue on the hammer heads because I thought that I might want to make a nicer version of this and reuse the hammer heads sometime later.

Step 19:

I attached some d-rings to the back so that I could hang it on the wall. The second picture shows what the shelf looks like from the rear.

Step 20:

Lastly I sprayed a clear coat on the entire piece including all the metal to help protect the wood and also the bare metal.

Step 21:

Here are a couple of pictures of what the shelf looks like on the wall. Overall I really like the way it came out it is definitely rustic and a fairly simple project to build. I hope you enjoyed this Instructable and find it useful. Thanks for taking the time to read all of this.

Build video.

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    22 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Very nice! If it were me, I'd've put the claws up and the heads down, and used the heads for . . . . I've got no immediate idea! BUT I want to offer a LARGE TYVM b/c I've got a very old rake head I want to mount with teeth up to hang things (like brooms) from. (Please pardon dangling participle; tyvm, your zero-tolerance grammatical error 'ible commenter :). Back to comment.) Esp. I thank you for showing how to use the D-rings for hanging the shelf itself. Little by little it comes together . . .

    3 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    I thought about putting the claws up but they seemed to have a bit of a sharp edge to them so I was afraid that with time they might begin to tear at the fabric. Its always neat to hear an idea come from another. Good luck on your build. Thank you.


    Reply 2 years ago

    Oh, you are right, they are not kindly in the edge department! Maybe I'll intentionally dull them . . .


    2 years ago

    A bat near here has all rustic, chunky, wooden stuff. They'd do well to have one of these for sure! Great idea, great execution!

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    I loved all the tools you have to work with. Can I live next door to you? Great pellet idea I loved it.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    I really like the look of this, but if you were to do it again i would use some rusty hangers to give it more of a rustic feel. You could probibily coat them in resin so they don't get rust all over your house. otherwise thats a very solid build!

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    super cool man - this is very rustic. Harbor freight tools at their best.

    1 reply