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How to store Plywood sheets in a small workshop

40988 Views 24 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  OzarkJim
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I am in the process of looking for a space to build in my new workshop.
So most of my ideas I always CAD them in detail and fit them in the space. If it works in the 3D CAD design it will work in reality too, so it's like a safe factor for me.

Here's what I came up with for plywood and MDF storage. The storage system is an upright design and can hold up to 18pc of 6×8 foot sheets. It's mainly constructed by plywood and 2×4s and is on casters. It's been hold onto the wall with a metal water pipe system that allows it to pivot away from the wall, and its footprint is 80×28x108" with the shelves, without the 6 shelves it's 80×17x108". The shelves are about 72×12" There's a PVC pipe rolling system under the plywood base for easy roll-out action and it has 3 long clamping removable lumbers for keeping the sheets flat.

Hope you like it and maybe get some new ideas out of it.


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I like the PVC pipe rollers. Not sure I get how it can pivot away from the wall. Seems like the shelves would hit the wall before it turned very much.

Good overall concept.
The pipe can be a bit longer if you like, but this will give you a 45 degrees clearance to remove your sheet and roll it back in place. Also it depends on which wall you are mounting it, the vertical one or the horizontal behind it. So its flexible.
One more thing. If the space is too tight you can always make a 45 degrees cut from the far edge od the shelves. That will give you even more pivoting angle.
looking good so fare
now lets se it in action …lol

thank´s for sharing the idea
The PVC rollers may not work well if you have more than one sheet. Either all your sheets will want to move if the rollers turn or if the other sheets present enough weight and friction then the rollers won't turn to remove one sheet.You might think about using UHMW strips instead of the rollers. I use them and sheets slide as smooth as glass.

Just a thought.
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I always say that two heads are better than one and shipwright prooved me right because he is right. UHMW is inpossible to find here but there is another way around this problem. Instead of having a hole pipe as a roller you can have lots of 3/4 circles with a washer between them so that they act and move independently.
Good point shipwright thanks.
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Ok I think this correction will set things right now.


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I think you might be happier with the UHMW rather than all those individual rollers. When you start loading different thicknesses of sheet goods and saw dust starts dropping in and you don't get the back of the sheet as tight as the front of the sheet and (insert any number of other issues) . . .

Also, I understand from your description, that the rack is somehow attached to the wall and pivots on axis. So long as that is correct, that will work fine as long as the casters can take the load. HOWEVER, if the rack is not attached securely to the wall, I would be most concerned about it tipping over. With just a few full sheets of plywood or MDF, you will find that it will weigh enough to severely injure or even kill someone onto whom it might fall. I'd hate to see that.

Sincerely, I don't want to sound all gloom and doom. I like the layout and the concept. I store my sheet goods in a similar layout but mine does not pivot. My bottom plate has a sheet of UHMW and the sheets slide in and out with no problem, even if I'm picking from the middle. And I figure that if it gets worn out at some point in the future, I'll either just turn the other side up or put a new sheet in.

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FirehouseWoodworking has a good point in the push stack area, need to address this problem. Understand that UHMW would be the best solution but is unavailable over here and most companies don't ship internationally and if they do it costs 3X+ untill it gets here. I will keep searching if I can found anyone in Europe whos willing to ship in my country.
- One question here. Would you think that 5-6 strips 4" would do or do I need to cover the whole base with UHMW.
As for the pivot system that is solid, no way of tipping and our walls here are from concrete. It goes without saying that the choice of casters should hold the load and more.
My PW storage rack has only three or four 1" strips of UHMW and it works very well. I don't believe it would be any easier if it were solid. You really don't need much.
Thank you shipwright
One other thing I noticed is that you don't have much headroom over the sheets. When you put sheets in or pull them out that will be a problem as you will almost certainly be tilting them in and out. You can do the math or measurement but I think you will want a minimum of about the hypotenuse of a 2' x 8' triangle for inside height.
Looks great!.... I agree with Dave, my only concern is whether it would be top heavy. Be very careful rolling it around. the base appears to be too narrow for the high weight of the plywood. I hope I'm wrong!
Clever swivel on the wall.

My suggestions:
- Use Quick Grip clamps of some kind. You'll likely get tired of those threaded rods.

- Consider a Square rather than rectangular. Seems that You'll quickly fill up what you've designed. I've got 4 ROLLING TOOL TOWERS. You can even store sheetgoods on the legs that stick out for the casters, that's what I did. Or build a short version and you could make use of the top.
OK, Sorry - I was dain bramaged again!!! I totally missed the swiveling piece….. Never mind… backing away from the computer! ;-)
I have a horizontally oriented version of this where I store sheet goods in the garage, and it has just a plywood base; no rollers, UHMWPE, or other friction reducing device, and sliding full sheets of 3/4 MDF in and out is not a problem.

I find I typically pivot the rack ~15 degrees to move sheets in and out.
shipwright: once again spot on. I've raised it all ready. When a sheet slights out about 1/3 it's gonna sit on a same hight rolling cart to be caryied whee iit needs to go.

rance: I fail to see how quick clamps could help here, but I am open to sugestions for any better clamping method. The rods and the clamping bars are removable, so you only need to loose it up a bit. 18 big sheets its much more than I can ever stock and its size is such to fit a specific area (tight space) otherwise I would have gone horizontal.

mnguy: I know horizontal its easier than vertical thats why need some sliding devise to make things a bit easier for my back. I need 20 degrees pivoting to clear.
If you cannot get hold of any UHMW, you can use a piece of laminate on the bottom. It should hold up fairly well. Glue it down with contact cement. If the laminate wears out, you can just glue another piece right on top of the first. This assumes no chip outs. If you chip any out, just fill the hole with Bondo or some other body filler. Sand and glue on the new piece. Even with steady use, you will get many years out of it before you have to think about repairing it. It's going to cost a lot less as well.

If you go with thin strips of UHMW, I agree with everyone else that the strips will work for you.

Good luck. Cheers!
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