How to build reclaimed wood and railroad spike wall hooks

Aaaand we’re back! It’s week two of the One of these Days Challenge and I’ve been super excited about this one. If you’re just joining us and want to catch up a bit, check out the details of our One of these Days Challenge. It’s crazy how long we can put projects off for years, even those that only take a few minutes. Like the wool dryer balls from last week that were a literal 7-minute investment that they say should last for years. But, enough about that, we have projects to do, right? We actually made this week’s One of these Days Challenge a few weeks ago in Dad’s barn, and today I’m sharing how to build reclaimed wood and railroad spike wall hooks.

How to build reclaimed wood and railroad spike wall hooks

We have a spot all picked out for them in the new bathroom in the basement. With room for up to six guests, we needed a way to hang towels that didn’t take over the wall décor of the entire bathroom. There are not a plethora of ideas for hanging 6 towels in a bathroom without them being the entire décor of the room.

Photo from Carmella Rayone – owner of, formerly of

I first saw bathroom towel hooks years ago at my friend Carmella’s  home. Her boys were young at the time and they each had a hook and a towel with buttonholes that she had stitched in the corner. It was one of those Aha! moments that we’ve borrowed ever since. Thank you, Carmella!

Photo by Shayna of Wood Grain Cottage

The industrial farmhouse theme has been great fun when it comes to decorating with all things old and cast off.  The moment I saw the pin of these railroad spike wall hooks, I loved their rugged uniqueness, and the barn wood added even more character.  Shayna at Wood Grain Cottage wrote an entire post on how she and her husband created these little beauties for their powder room.

The supplies & the process

We pulled some old school tongue and groove paneling off the walls of a rental house we purchased last year. The guys looked at me like I was crazy when I said I wanted to keep it, but they’re starting to get used to such things. We ripped one piece near the middle, leaving two long pieces of wood, one being 6” wide and the other 4” wide. For a more rustic look, we opted for the rough backside of the wood instead of the high sheen thick varnished front.

We changed the original technique that Shayna used for a quicker option that required fewer tools and less time. And with the perk of Dad’s shop, we were ready to do what would have been impossible at home, due to the lack of said tools. A few minutes of pilfering through Dad’s wire basket of railroad spikes and we had our spike collection.  Steve used the grinder to knock off some of the rust without destroying their aged patina. Then Dad sawed the spikes off to a length of about 4” and used the grinder to make a very slight angled “point” at the bottom of each spike.

Next, came a pilot hole in the wood with the drill press, just a bit smaller than the diameter of the spikes themselves. A few hefty strikes with a hammer and that was it. We usually add some spray on lacquer to the spikes to keep them from further rusting. And then a little matte finish wax or sealer on the wood should do the trick.

Final thoughts

Here’s the breakdown for these bathroom towel hooks

Wood – salvaged from rental property

Railroad spikes – rescued from Dad’s collection

Tools – Dad’s

Time together – priceless

So there you have it. A slightly more involved project in terms of tools and time, but such a fun project. And the best part is the “test towel hooks” that we did on an old piece of barn wood. Because one of these days, we’ll downsize from this house but this little guy gets to come with us. Not only does he just ooze character, he’s another reminder of making memories in the barn with Dad.


About Beth Moore

A Christ-follower, wife, mom to 4, lifestyle blogger, seamstress and seeker of daily glimpses of God's grace and redemption.

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