Virtual Designs in Sketchup #5: Rolling Wood Storage Rack

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Blog entry by rance posted 06-06-2011 07:22 PM 99983 reads 22 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: File Size (WATCH OUT!) Part 5 of Virtual Designs in Sketchup series Part 6: 3 Legged Workbench »

I’ve seen several variations of these rolling wood storage units. Inspired by them, I came up with this one for a friend of mine:

It incorporates storage for long lumber, sheet goods, and small turning blocks as well. About the only thing I might add would be dowel storage of some kind. Truth be told, I’d probably just put them in tubes and store them on one of the shelves.

It is a typical A-Frame design with half lapped joints. For economy, most of the stick material is 2×4 lumber. The sheet goods are 1/4” Luan, largly because I have access to lots of it for free. Obviously you should substitute for what you have plentifully available. Note the Rope on the left to keep the sheet goods from tipping out too far when moving the cart or rifling through the sheets. It can be quicky detatched at the top from the eye hook.

In the center are 4 shelves. As depicted, I might store turning blanks and such on the Top and Upper shelves. For the Lower and Bottom shelves, plastic bins might be used. I would adjust the width of the Lower shelf to fit the bins you plan on using. Same with shelf height. The bottom center could still be used to store traditional long lumber, but getting it out could be a problem in a smaller shop.

By simply laying a piece of paneling on that Upper shelf, this would make it easier to get access to the inner section by just sliding the panel out. No fancy rollers needed, just wax the panel before putting it in place.

The Middle and Lower inner shelves could contain bins for additional storage of smaller offcuts. Or the bins could be used to store projects away at the end of the day or until a back ordered part arrives. To access the inner bins, take one out of one end and shove it back in the opposite end.

I’ve designed one corner so it could be temporarilly tied to the wall. I would imagine that access to sheet goods would not be needed as often. By raising the short rod, the whole cart could be moved. FWIW, the handle on that rod must be screwed in place after the rod is slid in place.

You could also go with non-swiveling casters but you’d need to mount them at a perpendicular angle to the pivot rod as shown here.

As an alternate, I might suggest moving the two outer supports(blue) for the top, to the next inner A-Frames. This might better balance the top and allow easier access for long pieces stored on that upper shelf.

Here you can see the design of the individual A-Frames.

Many variations could be made here, smaller top, eliminating the shelves on the sheetgoods side, etc. I rarely build strictly by ‘plans’, and I’d expect you to ‘make this your own’ as well. All comments and suggestions are welcome. Enjoy!

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

12 comments so far

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 4506 days

#1 posted 06-06-2011 08:26 PM

looks pretty good. my only suggestion would be to go with the largest casters possible. i made a similar cart using 5” casters and it can be a bear getting it rolling, id imagine the weight of your cart would be somewhat more then the one i built fully loaded.

View Woodbutcher3's profile


463 posts in 4126 days

#2 posted 06-07-2011 11:07 AM

@ Mike – the red wheel casters Woodcraft sells work pretty well – I think they’re 6”

@Rance – cut the center shelves in half so you don’t have to pull te whole shelf out ~ especially if it’s loaded with wood or some other project.

You putting up any measurements or angles??

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4967 days

#3 posted 06-07-2011 03:43 PM

Just a couple thoughts from someone that had one of these.
1) they get very heavy. Just like I can still push a car in neutral, you can still push one of these carts when fully loaded, but mine was approaching 1500 lbs at one point. It isn’t easy. Don’t let this stop you though as long as you don’t expect to push it with one finger.
2) If you use casters, go with polyurethane. Rubber ones will quickly develop flat spots. Poly is pretty good at resisting this.
3) get the biggest wheels you can. It makes moving items much easier.
4) reconsider the 6 wheel design. I get that you want to distribute the weight, but when you go with 6, the wheels often cause each other to jam up. They all inevitably end up pointed in a different direction. Your experience might be different, but this has been mine.
5) Be prepared for how much space this will take up. Even if you know it in your head, it can sometimes look different in reality. That was the case with mine.

I’m sure you’ve already thought of most of this. I just wanted to put it out there in case. Excellent sketchup work and I’m looking forward to seeing the build!

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4399 days

#4 posted 06-08-2011 12:52 AM

I understand the concern with smaller casters, and the type too. On this drawing, I used 5” casters. If/when I get around to building this I’ll put more thought into specific caster selection. As for the weight, after considering what this really would be used for, I’m thinking of reducing it to five A-Frames instead of six. Not a lot of weight reduction, but it might be less of an overbuild. This would bring them from about 19” up to about 24” on center.

Rod, good idea on the half-shelves. The footprint as well as the top shelf are 4’x8’, and all angles are 10 degrees. I’m considering narrowing the top platform just a bit though.

All good points Hokie. In addition, the particular type of floor this would be used on should be taken into account, even to the point of how level it is. I’m already thinking of reducing the overall size to 42”x72”. Never ending changes huh?

Thank you all for sharing your input.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View JL7's profile


8787 posts in 4204 days

#5 posted 06-08-2011 02:03 PM

This is really a nice design – too big for my little shop but I like it. One thought, to maximize the space utilization, you could devote one of the lower shelves for shorts, stored perpendicular to the length of the cart which utilizes that hard to reach center section. Of course, not everybody saves as many shorts as I do….....or do they??

Your Sketchup skills are impressive!


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View ajosephg's profile


1898 posts in 4800 days

#6 posted 06-08-2011 03:15 PM

As others have mentioned, weight may be a problem.

I built a similar cart but with less capacity in that I don’t have the top shelf. I’ve got it fully loaded, and can barely get it to start moving. Admittedly I’m not that strong in my old age, but if it’s tight against the wall it’s tough to get it rolling because I have no place to brace my body. Once it starts moving no problem.

Mine has four 6 inch polyurethane swivel casters. I think Hokiemojo is right on about not using six casters. Even with just four, one of the problems in getting it moving is that the casters must usually swivel to get moving after being parked. For example my parked position is in a corner of the shop. When rolled into the corner at least two of the casters will have to rotate 180 degrees to back out of the parking place.

I used four 2×4’s on edge to make the bottom frame, which provides enough strength to prevent bending, therefore, only 4 casters are needed. In addition, consider that the weight of the heaviest lumber (sheet goods on edge) load is going to be distributed along the length of the cart, so that in itself won’t cause bending if you get my drift.

-- Joe

View chodgson's profile


37 posts in 3923 days

#7 posted 06-28-2011 07:55 PM

Funny enough, I just built something very similar to this, to get all the wood currently stored all over my garage out into the shed and better organized. Mine was 4’ tall, 6’ long, and 3’ wide at the base, Instead of the A-Frame, I went with straight-vertical supports, with no shelves on one side for all plywood storage – so kinda it would look kinda like an “HF” on the end, if the right side of the H and left side of the F were a single post.

There were 3 shelf levels (2 feet deep each, 1’ on the outside, 1’ between the supports) plus the 3’ feet on the bottom. I stood my 2-by-4 shelf supports on end, and mortised them fully into the side of the uprights, which should have significantly more weight capacity than this design, but sacrificing some vertical space on each “shelf”. I also put a cross-brace (2 2-by-4s in an “X” with an angled half-lap in the middle) across the “flat” (no shelves) plywood side to prevent racking.

With the measurements all 2’/3’/4’/6’, I was able to make the whole thing out of a dozen 2×4s with no waste (well, the odd-length ends of the angled cross-braces were extra). While my shed is quite large (10’x12’) I had no illusions of being able to roll this thing around on the exposed-aggregate concrete floor, so it just sits flat on the feet. So far I’m pretty happy with it.

View TheSniper's profile


5 posts in 2398 days

#8 posted 03-25-2015 04:22 AM

I just built one based on your sketchup design (thanks) to replace a metal one I had. it can be seen here.
Thanks for the Info Rance!

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4399 days

#9 posted 01-18-2016 02:03 AM


I would love to see your build. Unfortunately the link you posted is broken.

Funny thing is I found this on Pintrest and thought “Hmmm, that looks familiar”.


Edit: Well, a little speelunking and I found it here:

Don’t know why but its kinda funny to see your project built by someone else. :P

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View TheSniper's profile


5 posts in 2398 days

#10 posted 01-18-2016 02:29 AM

First, THANKS! for the inspiration. 2nd Thanks again for alerting me to the broken link. (its working correctly now)
My Hosting svc some how changed all my permalinks ?1#. ut now their all back to working order. so the first link is now working. but not the second. Also. now that I have had the rack for some time. and I pretty much filled it up straight away. no room left on it! It is really quite heavy. So for those of you endeavoring such a build? REALLY dont skimp on the wheels. “REALLY”.. I did not I in fact put 6 wheels on my rack. and spaced the 2 middle wheels so they kind of act like a teeter~totter of sorts. but even then its quite heavy to get rolling. Did you ever build yours?

View rance's profile


4279 posts in 4399 days

#11 posted 01-24-2016 05:51 AM

Sam, I’ve not built it yet. I’ve down-sized so I may not ever. Maybe a smaller version. Glad it is working for you. Build on…

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View CurtJoy's profile


1 post in 1832 days

#12 posted 10-11-2016 12:42 AM


New to LumberJocks, how to I get the sketchup files or detailed design info to build this?

Thanks, Curt

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