Pot Rack

As I’ve mentioned before, we decided to build a pot rack as part of our kitchen remodel. Our pots and pans take up way too much storage space in our new cabinets, and they look too nice to keep hidden. This was the design:

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I already had these decorative L-brackets that match our aged bronze hardware, and I was determined to work them into the design:

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I think my mother bought these at a garage sale and gave them to me as a Christmas gift. They’re wrought iron and a little rusty, which I think makes them look better now than when they were new. If you’re planning to make something similar, I highly recommend buying brackets with some character. Amazon has a nice selection, and they’re not as expensive as you might expect.

I bought some oak at the hardware store and this ‘Union Jack’ style sheet metal for the backing:

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I cut the sheet metal with some snips and spray painted it with a faux-metal color that matches the L-brackets. Next, I cut all the pieces to size and glued the joints before inserting screws:

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Once the piece was sturdy, I routed out a channel for the sheet metal backing and used clear-drying caulk to hold the sheet metal in place. That was on Thursday, and I couldn’t get back to this project until Sunday. Since I had a lot to get done, I threw myself back into this project at dawn.

One problem with intricate pieces like this is that you have to put it together in just the right order. This has to be glued before that can be screwed, and that has to be stained before those things can be added. For this project, the dowels and under-mount bracing had to be stained first:

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When staining different parts of the same piece at different times, you have to be very careful not to get any excess on the virgin side or it’ll look dark and smudgy when you finish the entire piece. Here’s a view of the under-side of the pot rack, which had to be stained before all the pieces could be attached:

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That color looks great, right? I wanted it to be similar to the finish on our cherry cabinets, but I went with a Red Mahogany stain instead. Finally I attached the rest of the pieces and stained the whole thing. They say you’re supposed to let it dry for about eight hours before putting on a clear-coat. I was determined to get it in the kitchen last night, so I sped up the drying process:

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I remembered to brand it:

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I bought some copper pot rack hooks online last week. They help tie in the pot rack with the rest of the hardware in the kitchen. Here’s how it all looks:

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Now we just need to make a matching island on wheels to rest beneath it.

This was actually a very easy build. The only problems I ran into resulted from my miter saw not being properly calibrated. The angles aren’t perfect, but they’re good enough for me.

I might try staining more of the pieces I build. I’ve been using paint as a crutch for a long time. Painting means I can rely on wood filler to cover over all of my screw holes and mistakes, but this project inspired some confidence that I might be getting better at doing it right the first time. Also, I’ve discovered that paying more for good wood and using a dark stain makes all the difference in the world. There’s a fine line between good-looking homemade furniture and cheap-looking thrift store furniture, and that line is money. If you start with good materials, then you’re halfway to a good result.

UPDATE: Click here to see the homemade Kitchen Island. And click here to see how the Pot Rack & Island look in the finished kitchen.

Pot Rack
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9 thoughts on “Pot Rack

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  • December 20, 2009 at 11:54 pm
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    Wow! what an idea ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing

    Reply
  • December 28, 2011 at 4:52 pm
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    Chad ;
    I wanted ask what where your exact dimensions for the boards that hold the dowels?
    This project looks great and I’m going to surprise my wife with one; I also have some older looking brackets that where passed down from father’s old collection of things that I found after he passed away some years ago.

    Thank you;
    Leo

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  • December 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm
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    Hey Leo, I’m glad to be of help.

    It’s a 1″ x 2″ piece of red oak I cut to about about 14″ (which is really 3/4″ x 1 1/2″ x 14″). I just used the size of the corner brace to set the depth of the shelf and dowels. If the brace had been bigger, I might have made the boards a little longer.

    I get so many compliments on this thing, but the best part is that it gets all of our awkwardly shaped pans out of the cabinet. Not only do they take up a lot of space, but good pans get scratched and warped by stacking them one on top of the other. This pot rack solves that problem.

    But I wouldn’t do the dowels the same way again. I used white oak dowels and they bend a bit more than I’m comfortable with. If I had it to do over again, I’d use some old rebar or thin lengths of electrical conduit for added strength. I don’t hang my cast-iron pans on the rack right now because of the flex in the oak.

    It might be fun to go to a salvage yard and see what kind of metal rods you can come up with. It sounds like some old brass rods would complement the antique braces you’re already planning to use.

    Good luck, and send me a picture of the finished product.

    Chad

    Reply
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