The very first pot racks were forged by hand, pounded and shaped using tools to create durable metal racks for storing cookware. Due to the process by which they were made, these first racks would have had a deep rich black finish rather than the sleek silver that we typically associate with metal.
Hammered steel racks are made to resemble the color found in these early handmade racks, but today’s manufacturers have incorporated the look of hammered steel into a variety of modern styles as well as classic designs, so there are pieces to match every type of kitchen decor.
We created our Buyers' Guide to Hammered Steel Pot Racks to help you select the perfect style with a beautiful finish for your home. The guide is based around questions that we commonly receive from customers about the finish and about selecting racks in general. Read over the guide in its entirety and then set a bookmark so that you can return to it as you shop. What is the finish exactly?
The finish starts as a type of carbon steel that is exposed to a series of treatments to change the color of its surface. As a result of these treatments, a coating or intentional tarnish called a patina forms on its surface. The patina has a dark gray color that looks rich and is slightly lighter in shade than wrought iron. Typically, the patina is covered with a protective barrier to seal it in place and prevent it from flaking off.What styles of racks are available with the finish? How do I know what style will work the best in my home?
Racks in the finish are available in hanging, wall and standing styles. Standing styles work best when you have three to eight pieces of cookware in different sizes to store and have both floor and wall space available. Wall and hanging racks come in a variety of dimensions to hold different sizes of cookware collections.
When deciding between wall and hanging styles, you'll need to determine if you have adequate wall space available or any decorative bulkheads, lighting or ceiling plasterwork that might make one style preferable to the other. Keep in mind that plaster and masonry ceilings and walls typically require professional assistance for installation; if your kitchen features these materials on either the walls or the ceiling, you may want to opt for the opposite style so that you can install the piece yourself. Another factor to consider is which style will keep your cookware the most centrally located within your kitchen space.How do I determine what size rack to buy?
Measuring for a standing style
is a simple task as typically, the dimensions of the piece will be dictated by how many pots and pans the rack can store. When you find a style that will hold the right number of pieces of cookware, measure the length and width of the space available in your kitchen to ensure that you have adequate room.
For hanging and wall styles, you'll first need to determine the exact spot on the ceiling or wall where you'll need to install the rack. To ensure a safe installation, you'll need to find either the ceiling joists or wall studs, as the strength of these beams is necessary to support the weight of your rack.
With drywall walls and ceilings, you can use a tool called a stud finder to locate the studs and joists. You can typically purchase a stud finder at any hardware or home improvement store. When you use a stud finder, you'll run the tool slowly along the ceiling or wall from right to left. As soon as the stud finder senses a joist or stud beneath it, the device will notify you with a message on its display screen, an indicator light, or a sound. If you have plaster or masonry ceilings or walls in your home, contact a contractor for assistance with determining the best location for your new rack.
Once you have located the joists or studs, use our Buyers' Guide to Hanging Racks
or our Buyers' Guide to Wall Racks
to determine what length, width and height dimensions will fit your kitchen.What brands produce the finish?
Two brands that are well known for their hammered steel styles are Enclume and Rogar. Enclume is an American company based in Port Haddock, Washington, which produces hammered racks almost entirely by hand. The name of the company is inspired by the French word for "anvil" and is a tribute to the first pot racks ever to be made, which were produced in the country and resembled the modern version of the finish. Enclume offers racks in the finish in standing, wall and hanging styles.
Rogar was founded in 1975 and produces its range of racks at a facility in Petersburg, Virginia. The emphasis of the design of Rogar models is highly useful simplicity. Their line of wall and hanging styles in the finish is versatile enough to fit in with a wide variety of decors.What features and shapes are available in wall racks?
Wall-mounted hammered style racks are available in a variety of shapes to suit your personal tastes. Some also have special features to enhance their utility.
What features and shapes are available in hanging pot racks?
- Bar wall pot racks consist of a flat metal bar that is mounted to the wall and outfitted with hooks for hanging your pots and pans. This style is excellent for creating rows of several wall racks.
- Grates constructed from stainless steel or another metal are found in some hanging models and allow you to hang items from the centers of the racks. Pieces with grates can also often be used as shelves. Some wall styles with the finish have grates available for purchase separately rather than having them built into the design.
- Corner wall racks are made to fit perfectly in the corner where two walls meet.
- Circle wall racks are actually half circular frames designed so that their backs fit flush against the wall.
- Crown racks have an oval or round frame for hanging pots and pans, and arms that extend overhead and meet above the design. The construction gives the racks the shape of a crown.
- Book shelf racks are wall-mounted styles that feature a grid designed to store cookware, decorative items, or books on top while cookware and utensils hang from hooks mounted underneath it.
Like wall styles, hanging racks come in an array of shapes and may have special stylistic features.
How do I care for my hammered steel rack?
- Grids are available for many hanging styles and may come included with the rack or be sold separately. With the right frame shape, the grid can be used as an open overshelf.
- Basket styles feature a built-in grid and have raised sides that partially obscure items stored on top of the piece. While this adds to the beauty of your kitchen, the sides can make it difficult to retrieve shorter items.
- Rectangle hanging styles offer the largest storage space along their frames and at their centers.
- Oval hanging styles provide a large amount of frame and center storage area, but with their rounded ends, have slightly less space than rectangular styles.
- Square racks in the finish are available from some manufacturers. They feature four sides of equal length and have a uniform, symmetrical appearance.
- Round racks are appealing to many home chefs due to their circular appearance, which looks clean and balanced when finished in hammered steel.
- Bar hanging styles are similar to wall styles in that they are a simple bar crafted with the finish. Some designs feature two bars that run parallel to one another for added storage space.
- Crown hanging racks are elegant round racks with curved arms that reach up to form a domed shape.
- Arch hanging racks are similar to bars in that they are simple pieces of metal; however the style features curved bars rather than straight ones.
Hammered steel racks that are treated with a coating to protect their patina are virtually maintenance free. To remove dust and dirt, use a dry microfiber cloth, and occasionally wash the rack with warm soapy water. The protective coating should protect the finish from rusting, and its patina ensures that the metal will not tarnish. Your rack will come with a care sheet, which may have additional instructions. Make sure you read over the instructions carefully to keep your rack looking great year after year.