French Cleat Hung Lumber Rack

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Project by BobAnderton posted 12-18-2010 12:49 AM 17906 views 9 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

No one would mistake this for fine woodworking or anything, but I thought that it might be helpful to show how this came together in my case. This lumber rack is made from 2×4 pine that I jointed a face and an edge and planed the other face and edge to get straight and square 5/4×13/4 stock out of. 2×4s cost $2.12 each for the 8 footers, which makes this whole project cost about $15. Props go to twobyfour16 for showing us his lumber rack here, which got me thinking in this direction. I’m limited in the space the rack can extend out into the space and still get cars in there, so the arms only extend out about a foot, and there is about a foot between the arms vertically, all of which limits the overall weight that may get stacked onto this rack. This is a consideration since I’m only hanging this from a french cleat. The advantage of it being on a french cleat is that I can relocate the rack to somewhere else in the garage if I get a new tool or something and need this space back. Also, it makes it easy to take this with me the next time I move. Even with it loaded up with wood I can still hang on it and bounce and it seems solid enough.

This lumber rack is really 5 independent pieces, each of which hang on a strip of my french cleat system that runs along the walls of my 2 car garage shop. Each unit is a pair of vertical 5/4 boards that sandwich the 3 elements that make up each arm. There is the arm itself, a lower support block that is cut at a 45 degree angle, and an upper support block that is just cut off square. The entire thing is held together with glue and no fasteners. My thinking in the design is that for one of the arms to shift it would have to break the 2 face to face glue bonds on either side of the arm, as well as the 2 face to face glue bonds on either side of either the upper or lower blocks. As a result, I’m really not worried about the strength of the joint of the arms in the vertical supports.

If you look at my workshop photos from before I had lumber on the floor leaning up against the wall all around the garage and it’s really nice to have all that stacked up on the wall and out of the way now. I even have room to slide a couple of cutoff scrap bins under it, which I’ve never had room for before. This was a simple 1 day kind of project that did a lot to organize my space. Thanks for looking at it!

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

6 comments so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


775 posts in 4003 days

#1 posted 12-18-2010 01:03 AM

Nicely done, Bob. It’s a great addition to your shop. I like your use of French Cleat systems in your shop. Seems like you keep things organized and make best use of the available space. I’m sure you’ll like this addition as well.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 3544 days

#2 posted 12-18-2010 07:05 AM

I like. I am not familiar with French Cleat systems or should I say, “systi franca”? lol. Nice looks and functional.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View BobAnderton's profile


311 posts in 3521 days

#3 posted 12-18-2010 11:59 PM

Sorry Scott. I didn’t include anything in the pictures about the French Cleat mounting. There are 3 inch wide strips of 3/4 inch thick plywood that run along the walls of my shop at 4 different heights. These strips have a 45 degree angle cut in the top surface that angles towards the wall. These lumber rack sections, as well as the cabinets, tool racks, and pegboard panels, all hang from these strips, or “cleats” via a mating 45 degree cut strip on the items to be hung. If you look at the second photo you can see one of these cleats near the top of the photo that has a curb picked cabinet hanging on it. The lumber rack hangs from the next cleat down by a mating clip at the top of each lumber rack section. The advantage of this is that you can move stuff around easily. I’m always moving things from one wall to another or scooting something over to optimize the usage of the space.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

View twobyfour16's profile


70 posts in 4215 days

#4 posted 12-20-2010 05:49 PM

Well done Bob. Now that I see yours, I almost wish I would have used a French Cleat on my lumber rack! Thanks for posting.

-- Allan, Portland, OR

View jeth's profile


262 posts in 3568 days

#5 posted 10-08-2011 02:01 AM

Just yesterday I did a forum, as well as google, search for “lumber rack french cleats” as I had about the same idea and wasn’t sure if the cleats would be strong enough for the purpose. Having found nothing I had come to the conclusion it was probably not such a good idea, was just looking up other options and this came up, now I’m back to pondering the cleats again :)
Yours looks good, if you’re still around, any long term usage issues? Have the cleats stood up to a years extra hoarding?

View BobAnderton's profile


311 posts in 3521 days

#6 posted 10-10-2011 03:25 AM

Yep, she’s still hanging in there. I guess it’s going to be as strong as the attachment method you use to hold that cleat to the wall. I don’t know how much force it would take to rip -through- a cleat by hanging another cleat on it, but I think the attachment of the cleat to the wall would fail first. I used 2 screws on each stud the cleat crossed. This rack is designed to provide flexibility in location, with the idea that it won’t be loaded super heavy. There’s only about a 12” deep x 12” high area that lumber can occupy on each arm. If a guy was going to load a rack heavily, maybe he’d want to have vertical supports touching the ground or hanging from joists overhead. For my purposes though, this serves well.

-- Bob Anderton - Austin, TX - Nova 3000 lathe, Alaskan Mark III mill, Husqavarna Saw

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