Gourmet’s Delight: Hanging Pot Rack

If your kitchen is short on cabinet space, you know how tricky it can be to find enough storage for pots and pans. Sure, you can purchase a hanging pot rack from a gourmet kitchen-supply store, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one for less than $100. Instead, why not save some money and build one yourself?

For about half of what you’d pay in a store, you can build a stylish pot rack that hangs from elegant, slender stainless steel rope. Besides lots of hanging storage, it also provides an area to keep pot lids, freeing more cabinet space for other kitchen accoutrements.

Fabricating parts
First, cut the square tube, the flat stock and the solid rod to length (see cutting list, below). Depending on the type of device you use to make the cuts, you may be able to gang the parts together to speed the cutting process (photo 1). Next, use a drill press or a handheld drill to bore a 5/32-in.-dia. hole through each of the hollow square-tube sections that serve as corner posts (see drawing, below). These holes will be mounting points for the cable-attachment rods.

Depending on the tool you use to cut metal stock, you may be able to gang cuts to save time and enhance accuracy. I used a Triton metal-cutting saw, but you could use anything from a jigsaw to a hacksaw.

Hanging Pot Rack

To simplify construction, you’ll create two mirror-image sub-assemblies, each consisting of a front/back piece, a side piece and two corner posts. To create the sub-assemblies, start by welding a corner post onto one end of one of the front/back sections of 2-in. flat stock. (To ensure proper position, I built an alignment jig made from scraps of 3/4-in.-thick hardwood; see photo 2). Weld a side piece onto the adjacent face of the corner post; then weld a second corner post onto the end of the side piece. Pay particular attention to the orientation of the corner posts so that the 5/32-in. holes are all in alignment.

Two short lengths of 3/4-in.-thick hardwood screwed together at a right angle create a great placement jig for centering the 2-in. flat stock against the corner posts.

Position both sub-assemblies on a flat surface such as a smooth concrete floor, check for square and then weld them together – two 3/4-in.-thick spacers will help to properly align the sub-assemblies (photo 3). Insert the cable-attachment rods through the holes of the corner posts, weld them in place and then grind all of the welds (photo 4). Finally, weld into place the five lengths of solid rod that run between the two front/back sections (photo 5).

When welding the two sub-assemblies together, make sure you lay them out on a smooth, flat surface. Check for square before making the welds.

Because the support rods will block access to the inside welds at the corner posts, make sure you grind those welds smooth before welding the support rods in place.

Use scraps of 1-in. hollow square tube as spacers when welding the support rods in place. It’s not necessary to drill holes through the flat stock for the support rods; instead, simply weld the rods to the inside faces of the front/back pieces.

Finishing and installation
You can paint the pot rack with a variety of finishes. After the finish has cured, insert 1-in.-sq. plastic end caps into the bottoms of the corner posts. (I found the end caps hanging next to the hollow tube stock at my local Home Depot.)

Measure how far from the ceiling you want the pot rack to hang; then cut four lengths of 3/32-in.-dia. stainless steel wire rope to the appropriate length – for a standard 8-ft. ceiling, you’ll need at least 12 ft. to allow for attachment and waste. Use ferrule and stop sets to attach the wire rope around the attachment rods (photo 6); then attach clamp sets to the other end of the wire rope sections.

After feeding the wire rope around the attachment rods, use ferrule and stop sets made specifically for wire rope to lock everything together.

All that’s left is to mount four hooks into the ceiling and hang the rack from the hooks. Remember to use hooks that are appropriate for the type of ceiling and for the weight of both the rack and its contents.

Custom Hooks
I purchased pot-rack hooks from a local kitchen-supply store; a pack of 10 cost a little less than $8. However, if you have a hammer and a metalworking vise, you can create your own hooks out of 1/8-in.-dia. solid rod or 1/2-in.-wide flat stock. Simply cut the stock into 5-in. lengths; then bend one end to hook over the pot rack and the other into a curve to hold a pot handle. If you have a scrap of 1-in.-dia. steel pipe or wood closet rod, you can use it as a form to help shape the curve as you hammer.

Cutting List
Key; No.; Description; Size
(All parts steel)
A; 4; Corner posts; 1 x 1 x 3-1/2 in.
B; 2; Front/back pieces; 16 gauge x 2 x 32 in.
C; 2; Sides; 16 gauge x 2 x 14 in.
D; 4; Cable-attachment rods; 1/8 in. dia. x 1 in.
E; 5; Support rods; 1/8 in. dia. x 14-15/16 in.

Shopping list
2-in.-wide 16-gauge flat stock (8 ft.)
1-in. hollow square tube (1 ft.)
1/8-in.-dia. solid rod (7 ft.)
1-in. plastic end caps (4)
Wire-rope clamp sets (4)
Wire-rope ferrule and stop sets (4)
3/32-in.-dia. stainless steel wire rope*
*Length depends on ceiling height (12 lf. minimum)