Old cast iron hard barn wood is one of the latest trends in wood working. I guess it’s always been hot but it seems the last few years it has been the talk of the town. I’ve had a piece or two here and there but never really did much with it. Until a few weeks ago when a good friend brought me a large chunk and wanted to make a display for a couple of wild turkey fans he had preserved. I jumped on the opportunity to create a one of a kind wall mounted coat rack out of an antique piece of history.
Working barn wood is a test on the ability for you to keep your tools sharp and a test of your patience. Not only is barn wood typically a hardwood species (here in the Midwest it’s usually oak) but it has been seasoned for maybe a century or more turning it into a petrified shell that is very hard to bend or work with. With that said it makes it perfect for flooring or cabinets or in this case a coat rack. It is almost impervious to changing levels of humidity or temperature which sometimes warp other woods or newly milled lumber.
The actual piece that would be the rack and hold the hooks and fans was not a problem to work. I keep a fairly fresh blade in my saws at all times. It makes for fast, easy and in my opinion safer work. The hard wood would test the edge of my flush trim bit in the router table though.
After a little design work from the dimensions sent to me of the fans I set out to make the router templates to use for making the mounts that the fans would set behind. These mounts are there to cover the fleshy middle of the tail left attached to the fans and it gives the fans a clean look by only exposing the round shape of the tail feathers. I finished off the mounting pieces with another trip around the router table for a nice roman ogee edge to soften the edges so they didn’t appear so thick.
In the midst of all this wood work I had to find a suitable looking hook to attach to this rustic piece. My first thought was cast iron would be perfect for this. After a couple of hours of scouring the internet a cast iron turkey hook was just a figment of my imagination. Damn the luck. Until I ran a cross a guy named Sid Bell. He makes animal hooks out of pewter and had three different ones to choose from. We decided to go with the hook featuring the strutting turkey seen here.
As far as the main board goes I decided not to rout the edges of it. As seen in the picture above it has nice checks in the ends. It has nail holes. It even has a splintered chunk missing out of one of the corners. All these flaws give it the perfect rustic look this friend was looking for and routing it would have taken away from that look. All in all I think it turned out nice and will be a beautiful addition to his wall.
Thanks for reading. Be good. God bless.