Im designing a coat hanger/umbrella holder for a new client. Theyve given me a lot of creative freedom and Im taking full advantage. They like my kibako bookstand so thats a good start. Ill use the 1.5″ bamboo countertop material ripped into 1.5″ x 1.5″ strips.
They also like my use of the sumi ink for contrast. Their criteria function wise are somewhat relaxed. They have a closet for coats right by the entry so this coat hanger would be mostly for sculptural purposes. They require it to hold 2-3 coats and 2 umbrellas with the reality being that most of the time there would actually be nothing on there at all. Nonetheless, the design of this piece is driven by function. What are the different ways to hang coats and umbrellas? How is the structure going to be stable and not fall over? I need to consider the possibilities of free standing, wall mounted, suspended, and any combination.
My initial inspiration is the form of a tree. I like the idea of branches holding the coats. Another gesture that comes to mind is a field of long grass or a bamboo grove. Upwards movement would be nice in this space. There is a window at the height of 67″. The horizontal line of the sill is something I need to fight to get the feeling I want.
I narrowed the possibilities down to three concepts and made 1/3 scale models out of plywood scraps and my trusty hot glue gun. The overall height is about 7ft
I met with the clients and we have decided to proceed with the center design direction. Time to input the model into sketchup and play around with proportions and color.
Here is the latest edition modeled in sketchup in two colors. I concentrated on staggering the distances between the “branches” to create more movement in the piece. At the bottom they are closer together and become more spread apart as you go upward. I was looking for a progression similar to a sine curve or fibonacci sequence. The height has been increased quite a bit to go over the window sill plane.
The latest design change. Client has requested it handle 3 coats and 2 umbrellas. I raised the whole thing up by 10″ so that the third one up is at 40″, an acceptable height for hanging coats.
Construction commenced! Dadoing out the slits for the splines with a tenoning jig in this photo. Splines are made with katalox, a dark mexican hardwood. The splines create the joint at the elbows and also create some visual interest.
Lowering the center of gravity on this piece is a concern. Its really tall and I dont want it tipping over under a load of coats. The base needs to be made heavier. I drilled multiple 1/2″ diameter holes on the undersides of the base and filled them with molten lead which i melted down using a camp stove outside my shop. Lead has a very low melting point for a metal.
Dont try this at home kids. Notice I am wearing a respirator, safety glasses, and welding gloves. I have never done this before so I had no idea if the lead would splatter or explode or anything like that.
I figured out through trial and error that the lead pours best if you let it cool down slightly. When its too hot it boils when you pour and it also catches the bamboo on fire (not good)
Crazy idea but it worked! The base is very very heavy now, and you cant see that there is metal in there at all from the top. I chiseled away the excess and sanded it down. I covered eve
rything with a thick epoxy to keep the lead sealed, just in case. What a fun day of experimentation. And just think… the brain damage wont hit me for years down the line. YEs!
Detail of the base. I added a corner brace of sorts. The lead filled legs really lower the center of gravity.
Looks right at home outside my shop!
Here it is in action. This will be a fun piece for the clients to play with.