By Michael Swiderski, Ph.D.More in Blog Cabin
Walk into the kitchen. Look at the walls and side cabinets. Find any space to hang a rack? You will need 16 inches or more for width and 18 to 48 inches below the rack for hanging area.
On the chosen wall space, locate and mark the center of the wall stud(s) or side of base cabinet. Most modern houses are built with 16-inch-on-center (o.c.) wall studs. Older homes have wider spans between studs. The rack must be attached to at least one wall stud, preferably two if heavy pots and pans are to be hung. If the wall stud is in the middle of the wall space, the design can be modified to accommodate the load.
Builder's Tip: To locate wall studs, tap the wall with a knuckle, continually rapping horizontally across the wall. Listen for the difference in sound and feel as the tapping sound alternates from a hollow knock to one of solid connection. This is likely to be a stud behind the drywall.
First, measure the desired width of the wall rack. This will determine the length of galvanized pipe to purchase. Then grab the biggest pot or pan that will be hung on hooks. Hold it near the wall, by the handle end. How far away is the handle from the wall before the pot actually touches the wall? This measurement will determine depth, or how long the galvanized pipe nipples (threaded) lengths will need to be to keep pans from hitting the wall. Will 1/2" or 3/4" diameter galvanized steel pipe be preferred? Either size diameter pipe will hold plenty of weight. The comparative size can be determined while shopping. With these measurements, create your shopping list.
Locate the galvanized steel pipe section, not the black (BLK) pipe section, at your local hardware store.
Determine the choice in pipe diameter. Hold the1/2" diameter pipe up next to the 3/4" diameter pipe. Which would look better in the kitchen? Note: The 1/2" size will be strong enough, even for heavy cast iron frying pans and cast iron Dutch ovens. Threaded galvanized steel pipe comes in different lengths with pre-threaded ends (often referred to as pipe nipples). If the most popular lengths of pipe nipple (16", 24" and 30") are not stocked, ask the salesperson to cut a pipe to the length of your choice and have both ends threaded. The shorter pipe nipples are often found in a variety of popular lengths (2" to 12"). Select two short galvanized pipe nipples that match the depth measurement away from the wall. It's easy to get confused and overwhelmed looking at a seven-foot display rack of galvanized plumbing supplies, packed in small boxes. Take your time. Be mindful to match the galvanized floor flanges and galvanized 90-degree elbows with the chosen pipe-size threads. Grab a bag of wood screws for the flange attachment into the wall stud(s) and a bag of wood screws for the drywall attachment. Near the screws, you will find ribbed plastic anchors to insert into the pilot holes you drill into the drywall. S hooks will round out the shopping list.
S hooks come in different sizes, both in length and hook opening width. The 2 1/2" and 3" S hooks open to fit the 3/4" galvanized pipe without any modification. The 2" S hook opens to fit the 1/2" pipe. If a smaller hook is preferred, the S hook can be modified and opened to accommodate the pipe size using a table vise and pliers. Be careful not to gouge or scratch the S hook with the pliers.
Note: If the kitchen wall space that's been selected has a stud in the middle of the width dimension, there will be a slight modification to the design. Remember, at least one flange must connect to a wall stud. To modify the design, place a pencil mark on center of the wall stud (best estimate). From the wall stud mark, measure the horizontal distance to the right and left ends of the rack. A galvanized T, with three threaded openings, should be purchased. In addition to the galvanized T, you will need three floor flanges, three short pipe nipples of desired depth and two pot rack lengths, both ends of which will screw into the T and respective 90-degree elbows. These two pot rack pipe lengths may need to be cut and threaded at the store, depending on the rack width measurements.
Assemble the rack before attaching the flanges to the wall to visualize a test fit or dry fit. To assemble the rack, screw the flange to the pipe nipple, which is then attached to the 90-degree elbow. Screw the rack pipe into the elbow. Repeat the assembly on the other end.
Builder's Tip: The flanges, which will be wall mounted, typically have four screw holes. The flange holes should be aligned vertically so two flange screws connect with at least one wall stud.
Ask a helper to hold the assembled rack horizontally up to the wall at the desired height. Use the 24" level to confirm horizontal. Holding the rack steady, scribe all eight flange holes with a pencil onto the wall, outlining the inside of each screw hole. Remember, at least one of the flanges must be screwed into the wall stud with two screws sunk on center.
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