Peg Racks

Bet you can’t build just one

Peg racks have huge convenience and de-cluttering value—there’s no better place to stow hats, coats, sweaters, purses, backpacks, and other gear. Outfitted with metal hooks or (as shown here) Shaker pegs, this simple organizer can team up with an entry bench (see Get Organized with an Entry Bench) or be used on its own in a bedroom, hallway, closet or any place you find empty wall space.

Apart from their utility, peg racks make sense because they’re inexpensive and easily customizable. Size the backer board to fit your wall space, detail the edges on the router table, then mount your chosen pegs or hooks. Although a peg rack can be installed by driving screws through the face of the backer board, it looks nicer to keep mounting screws hidden. You can do this by routing keyhole slots in the back of the board, as shown here.

Simple ingredients. To make a peg rack, all you need are wooden pegs, a backer board, and a drill bit that matches the size of peg tenons. For pegs and bits, see Buyer's Guide below.

Begin with the backer board

Dress your lumber square and flat, and trim to final size. Choose your profile and rout the edges. Mark the centers, then drill the holes for the peg tenons.

Get spaced out. Large Shaker pegs should be placed 4-6" apart.
Then go straight. No drill press? A short, square-cut 2×4 with one rabbeted corner can serve as a guide and depth stop for straight cutting. After boring all peg holes, final-sand the board and apply finish. Wait to glue pegs in their holes till after routing keyhole slots (right).

Invisible installation

Routing keyhole slots on the back of the completed peg rack will enable you to hang the rack on a pair of hidden installation screws. To do this, you’ll need a keyhole router bit, a guide bushing slightly larger than the bit’s large diameter, and a shop-made jig (shown below) to align and guide the router. Start your installation by marking on the wall a level line to which the top edge of the peg rack will align. Use a stud finder to locate two studs on your installation line, and transfer the stud locations to the back of your backer board. A jig for plunge-routing the keyhole slots is easy to make from 1⁄2" plywood. Test your jig and technique on scrap stock before you set up and rout the peg board.

Circle and slot. Select a router bushing with an inside diameter that accommodates your keyhole bit (inset photo). The routing jig consists of a plywood platform with a rectangular slot that controls the movement of the circular router bushing. Screw a right-angled fence to the platform to ensure accurate positioning of the slot. With the jig clamped to the backer board and the bushing seated in the slot, plunge down to make the larger hole, then rout the narrower slot by moving the router till the bushing hits the opposite end of the slot. Slide the router back carefully before raising the bit out of its hole.

Trapped heads. A #8 flathead screw will be a good match for a typical keyhole slot. Choose installation screws long enough to extend at least 11⁄2" into studs.

Buyer's Guide

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