Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DIY Pull out pants rack

When we commissioned the joinery for our walk in robes (my personal favourite room in the house) I thought I would be able to put a pull out pants rack, I was wrong.  The length wasn't standard and my only option was an enormously expensive brand (around $250 for the mechanism) that I would still have to rejig to fit the space.
Armed with my Kreg jig and google I decided to make my own.  I am thrilled with the results, I was nervous about getting a good finish but it fits seamlessly into our walk in robes.  To find out how scroll below the pretty pictures.

I would never have attempted this project without my fabulous Kreg jig (from Carba-Tec).  With the Kreg I knew I could create the square frame the entire project is based on.  Making the square frame with the Kreg was the easy bit, the rest of the project was a bit fiddly.  Not difficult but time consuming with many trips to the local hardware store.  It cost around $70 (I had some scrap wood) but it looks like it was made with the rest of the joinery, overall it was totally worth the effort.

Measure the dimensions & cut frame pieces:  
I wanted the the front of the rack to run the entire width of the space so that you can't see the drawer mechanism.  So I made the front piece of the frame as long as the width of our space.
The back piece is shorter to allow for the width of the drawer sliders.  
The side pieces are shorter than the full depth to allow the front of the rack to sit flush with the rest of the joinery when the rack is closed.

The Japanese Z handsaw was invaluable for getting the frame perfectly to size.  It allows you to cut a sliver of wood off, a millimeter at a time.  And I find the saw action where the cut is made on the pull towards you, rather than away from you as in a traditional saw, far easier for fine work.  This was a gift from Carba-Tec, they assured me I would find it useful and it truly is.

Mark the position of the dowels:Once you have cut the pieces for the frame mark out the positions of the dowels (see center top below).  Using a straight edge I marked across both pieces of wood to make sure the dowels will line up exactly.  I allowed a gap of 8cm between the center of each dowel and it allows plenty of room for the pants to hang neatly without being crushed.
Join pieces to create the frame:
This is where the Kreg jig comes into its own.  I have bought a right angle clamp (bottom left above) which makes the process even easier as it holds the frame together on the opposite side to the one you are joining.  I am still amazed at how quickly you can put together a really solid piece of woodwork with limited skills.  This is only my second woodwork project and if I can do it so can you.  

Drill holes for dowel sticks:
Use a spade bit for these holes to make sure they are an even width and depth.
We have a dowel jig which allows you to drill straight down into the wood, very useful if you are worried about going straight like I am.  It also held the frame steady while I was working on it.

Cut dowels and put frame together:
Cut your dowels to length with the Japanese handsaw.
Putting the frame together is fiddly!  I found it easiest to loosen the top piece of the frame and then wiggle the dowels into position (very technical wood work language as you can see).  
They fit snuggly so I didn't need to glue them, although glueing one side may have made the assembly process easier.

Paint your product:
I first stained the rack but battled to get the finish even and as dark as I wanted, I was matching to black stained oak.  In the end I used a semi-gloss black spray paint and it worked really well.  I did several light coats and didn't have any drips.  It did mean that I had to create a spraying booth from several cardboard boxes (another trip to the hardware) but the finish was worth it.

Attach drawer sliders to wardrobe:
The sliders were fairly easy to install, they come with reasonably good instructions.  To summarise they come in two pieces.  One piece is attached directly to the wardrobe, the other is attached to the side of the frame.  Then it really is as simple as sliding the two parts together.
What does take a little time (and several trips to the hardware for free boxes) is getting the right screws for each piece.  Your local hardware will be able to advise you depending on the materials you are drilling into and using.

As I said before its fiddly, and it takes a while, but its worth the effort.

All photographs by Eva Burgess.  This post was not sponsored.


3 comments:

  1. hey nice pants rack made for home and its take small place in home.

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  2. Eva, I've never seen a pants rack in a closet before (perhaps they don't have them in the US?! ha!). That is so cool, and even cooler that you built it yourself!

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  3. I have never seen one here either, except in the showrooms of Italian wardrobe designers. Now that I can make them I will always have one.
    Next to add more pull out drawers in the kitchen!

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