log [drying] racks #1: the initial build

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 06-02-2009 01:05 PM 8821 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of log [drying] racks series Part 2: finished! »

This is a bit old now, as I built these starting in late March this year, but I’m expanding them a bit now, and wanted to post some updates on that. That requires getting off my butt and posting the original stuff I’ve dragged my heels on. With the trees that have fallen over, and the random large branches I’ve managed to find here in LA, I had an awful lot of logs for a 0.18 acre lot. I recently mapped out my tiny 0.18 acre lot, breaking it into 30 equally sized squares, and have gathered the following figures, with included mapping:

map of my property

8/30 = 0.267x = 0.048 acres front yard (cyan – top right)
8/30 = 0.267x = 0.048 acres driveway (yellow)
7/30 = 0.233x = 0.042 acres house (red)
2/30 = 0.067x = 0.012 acres garage (blue)
5/30 = 0.167x = 0.030 acres back yard (green)

I can’t help myself with the charts, figures, and diagrams :) Anyway, 0.03 acres isn’t much space for several trees worth of logs. The 2 leftmost squares of the driveway (yellow) are hidden behind a tarped chain-link gate, so I decided to build some 6ft.-tall log racks along the cement wall that separates me from my neighbors.

I designed everything in Sketchup. Click the image for the .skp file, if you want it.

log rack designed in Sketchup

I used Sketchup as a reference later when I started building, especially for how and where to cut the angled tops of the posts, which I’m testing out here, spaced one 2’ panel’s width apart, as they will be when assembled:

testing the post top angles

I had to finish up the first section in the dark that night, with my headlamp on:

finishing up some log rack work in the dark

It was 20 minutes after I laid in the 4 plywood panels seen here in this night shot that the police stormed my yard and climbed on top of it! Good thing I overengineered it. The officer was about 290lbs with his gear on. I detailed everything in this post back in March.

plywood panels laid in, but not nailed down

Here it was the next day, after the police had walked around on top of it for awhile. The plywood looks warped as I haven’t yet nailed it down. That officer was dancing around on an unfinished platform!

first section mostly done in the light

Side note: this was back in the days of the hatchback, before I got the truck. I’m so glad to have a truck finally.

lumber in old hatchback

The first rack section sits fully on a cement pad in front of the garage, with just enough clearance for the door to open. The front leg of each additional rack sits on cement tire tracks, however, and the back would be on the dirt, so I sunk some cement pads flush with the cement tracks.

adding some cement pads to level the back legs

I had to test it out by loading it up with some of my logs, of course. I also put in the crossbars for later holding the roof. The plywood was just to keep the hot sun off the top logs while I finished up this day, as it was boiling the Rockler green wood end sealer on the little branch cutoffs.

first logs in place

The long boards are screwed straight into the posts, and the short pieces are pocket-hole screwed into those. I didn’t realize until much later that this will make it super hard to disassemble if (more like when) I move. I’ll have to remove the short pieces, then the long pieces, instead of just taking it apart in movable sections. Having the plywood nailed down makes it even more crazy. Bad foresight on my part here.

clamps and pocket holes join the short beams for the second rack section

For the roof, I wanted corrugated plastic. I picked up a couple of long pieces at Home Depot.

white corrugated plastic

I cut it into 2’+ sections so I could turn each sideways to orient it the right way for rain runoff. It was a little tricky to measure. I measured inside of each groove. The tape measure’s curve fit nicely in them. Then I eyeballed a straightedge with one eye directly over it to line them up. Then I ran a pencil held as vertically as possible up and down each sine wave. Finally, I simply cut along the lines with a hefty pair of Titanium Nitride scissors from Fiskars (I love those things).


roof installed

I would need another piece of corrugated plastic to finish off the rack, so I used the scraps from both pieces, taped together for now to finish it off. When I build more sections, I’ll get another piece or two and make proper pieces and replace these.

roof finished

Loading begins…

loading up the log racks

By early April it was pretty full:

full racks

Time to build some more, and I’m also adding something quirky soon. More on that later.

Don’t get too excited ;)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

4 comments so far

View bowyer's profile


340 posts in 4728 days

#1 posted 06-02-2009 01:49 PM

Nice looking racks and their Load tested by the Police! You don’t have to pay extra for that service do you?
Looking forward to seeing Quirky.

-- If at first you don't succeed...Don't try skydiving

View PurpLev's profile


8653 posts in 4980 days

#2 posted 06-02-2009 04:14 PM

looks fantastic. I wouldn’t worry about those 2 pieces of curr. plastic making the last section – as long as it’s protecting the wood – it’s all good.

aaaah…. miss the CA weather, where you can actually make something outdoors like that…. won’t work on this side of the continent :(

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 4851 days

#3 posted 06-03-2009 09:50 AM

Thanks alot for this post
I was just about to make the exact same thing for the exact same reason

looks good

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4722 days

#4 posted 06-03-2009 11:52 AM

Should work great Gary!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

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