How I Create Art - The Build Process

How to Build a Coat Rack

How to Build a Coat Rack

For my latest project, I found myself inspired by a unique technique showcased on the TV show “Redwood Kings” around a decade ago. The episode demonstrated how to create crooked posts from a straight 4×4, basically turning it inside out to make the crooked post.  Intrigued by the possibilities, I decided to try and incorporate this technique into crafting a coat rack with a whimsical touch reminiscent of something you might find in Whoville.

The Furniture Design Phase and Inspiration

Redwood Kings Sculpted Post on Tree House
Redwood Kings Sculpted Post Tree House

The idea for this project was born years ago while watching Redwood Kings. The concept of transforming a 4×4 into a crooked post lingered in my mind, waiting for the perfect project to bring it to life. Although the technique is relatively simple, finding the right use case in furniture design presented a unique challenge.

To merge craftsmanship with creativity, I decided to design a coat rack with a playful aesthetic that mirrors the fantastical world of Whoville. Planning involved laying out the joinery carefully to ensure the coat rack would stand upright while maintaining visually pleasing curves throughout its structure.

The Inside-Out Transformation

Woodworking Rope Clamp for sculpture -

Executing the inside-out transformation involved cutting curves on the bandsaw to create the crooked post for the main body of the custom coatrack. To ensure a secure bond, I utilized a clamping method involving rope; you have to be resourceful in woodworking.

The Castle Joint

Cutting Castle joint by hand

Assembling the base involved using a modified castle joint, a combination of a half-lap and bridal joint. Hand-cutting the joint added a personal touch to the craftsmanship, but really, the joint was too deep for my table saw dado blade, and the post was too tall to cut it safely at the table saw.

Crafting the Arms or Coat Hooks

Wood coatrack hook

With the base structure in place, my attention turned to the arms of the coat rack. Each arm was meticulously shaped and sized, ensuring functionality while adding an artistic flair. The decision-making process involved experimenting with various designs to find the perfect balance between form and function.  To enhance the aesthetic, I incorporated curved elements into the arms, adding to the functionality of the hooks by making it harder for a coat to slide off and creating a visually appealing form.

Final Design Touches

Power carving the sculpture

The feet of the coat rack were crafted to ensure stability and style. By flipping the arm shape upside down and adding spacers, I achieved a design that not only supported the coat rack but also added an extra layer of visual interest.  Then, the whole thing was power carved and sanded to smooth everything out and create a beautifully sculpted coat rack.

The journey from a simple 4×4 to a whimsical Whoville-inspired coat rack was both challenging and rewarding. The blend of traditional woodworking techniques with creative design resulted in a functional piece of art. While the initial reaction from the household may have been mixed, the joy of the craft is in the process, and the endless possibilities for future projects.

Project Type: Sculptural

Project Location: Colorado Springs

Finished Portfolio pictures: Sculpted Coat Rack

Key Tools I Used

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.