We’ve had a large steel hanging pot rack ever since we moved into this house in 2001. Sure, it was kind of ugly, but a hanging pot rack is incredibly useful. Mostly, it is really handy to be able to grab a pot or pan without having to dig through a stack in a cabinet. Also, if you have quality cookware, stacking them can ruin their finishes. There’s also something to be said about the aesthetic appeal of a hanging pot rack: It says, “This is a serious kitchen!”
I made my hanging pot rack using some scraps of walnut I’ve had for a while. One of the boards was terribly twisted, but fine for this project. Ripping it to narrow widths helped to reduce the overall twist and by using half-lap joints, I was able to pound the boards and force them straight.
After ripping the 2″ (50mm) strips (there are only five boards in this project) I used my crosscut sled to make all the remaining cuts. First, I cut all the boards to their final lengths.
To make the notches for the lap joints, I first set the depths of the cuts. I used a couple of short cut-offs for testing. Using a regular table saw blade, I made a series of cuts, crating a notch. Note that at this point I am not concerned with the width of the notches, only the depth.
Raise the blade up a teeny bit at a time after cutting and testing the notch until you get a flush lap joint. Here you can see that I still need to raise the blade a bit.
Eventually I got a good fit and made sure that I didn’t touch the blade height adjustment:
Next, I set the widths of the notches using the actual work pieces. If you aren’t brave enough, you can use full-length test boards. If I was using an inexpensive wood, I would do that, but I didn’t want to waste any walnut.
Basically, the notches are created by setting up two stop blocks that determine the edge of each lap joint. Here you can see the small block beneath my left hand. I made the first cut on this side, then made a series of cuts, testing after each increment, until I got a tight fitting joint. The trick here is to go slowly and not overshoot!
Here you can see the second stop block clamped to the rip fence.
After making the notches in the three long boards, I made the notches in the two short boards. They were short enough to clamp the stop blocks to the sled. They also get a notch in the center.
After cutting all the lap joints, it’s a good idea to dry-fit everything together. A good joint will require a few taps with a mallet. If you have to pound really hard, you might crack the wood. Resist the urge and make the notches slightly wider. Don’t worry if they are a little loose though. The glue will hold them together.
To drill the holed for the threaded rods, I set up stop blocks on my drill press table and adjusted them to make each hole. Make sure to use the same edge of each board against the fence for each hole. This will ensure they all line up.
To add a decorative touch, I routed a chamfer along the edge of each board using a 45º chamfer bit. A roundover would look nice too.
Using a hacksaw, I cut 1/4″ (6mm) threaded rod into seven lengths.
And glued all the pieces together.
I finished my hanging pot rack with Doctor’s Woodshop Pens Plus. It’s a blend of walnut oil, wax, and shellac.
I threaded the rods through the holes and secured them with nuts. The middle rod keeps the longer rods from sagging.
Finally, I screwed in some eye-screws and hung the unit to my ceiling. The pots hang from s-hooks.