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· Registered
9,309 Posts
Planning the Lumber Rack


I've been inspired by the recent projects of some of my Lumberjocks Buddies (even if they don't know they are my buddies). In particular, I've really liked some of the storage solutions being built by sIKE, Greg Wurst, and Spaids. This is going to be a long post, so if you make it to the end, do you mind posting to let me know if anyone is really reading? I'm going to try and do photos as I work which should be included in part 2 of the blog.

I'm planning to take a long weekend and solve one of my garage shop's biggest problems… Lumber Storage. I've currently got a Triton Rack hanging on one wall of my garage. I like it, but because of the garage layout, I am out of wall space so I can't just add another of this style rack. I'm also struggling a bit with plywood storage so after TONS of searching, I think I found a workable solution. Here is a link to a photo along with the cut-list.

ShopNotes Link


This looks SUPER simple. That's a good thing. The problem is that this requires an awful lot of materials and before I load it up, it will weigh a ton. The plans call for 5 sheets of plywood. Those alone probably weigh 150-200 lbs, maybe more.

My goal is to make a few minor modifications to try and save materials (and money) as well as reduce the overall weight. I'm hoping that this won't reduce the strength in a significant way and I think this can be accomplished. Finally, I want this to have some space for a clamp rack too. Here are my plans with modifications.

1) the bottom will be made out of six 8' 2×4's instead of 1×6 slats with plywood on top. I'll frame it up like floor with supporting joists, but I'll also add 2-3 diagnal joists to help prevent racking when trying to push such a large object. The stored lumber will just rest directly on the 2×4's.

2) instead of the sides being a full sheet of plywood each, I'll cut 1 ft strips off each end making the total length 7 ft. any plywood I store will overhang by 6 inches on each end. I think that's ok because the stored sheet goods will still be plenty supported. I'll just have to be careful when moving around not to run the stored edges into anything that could cause damage. The cut-off from this step will be used in step 5.

3) while I'm lopping the ends of these sheets off, I might as well take 6" inches off the top of each side as well. I just don't think I need a 4×8 foot sheet of plysood to store 4×8 sheet goods. Rip these cut-offs a second time and I've got four 3"x7' strips. These will now be uses as cleats for the shelves.

4) now i need my cut-off bin dividers. the plans call to cut these from the shelving sheets, but I think I can stretch one of the sides I cut earlier even further. I'll admit, this may be the bigest flaw in my design, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. I'm going to plunge cut four 9"x24" windows out of the side that will support the plywood storage and use these cutouts to make four dividers. I think it will still leave plenty of material behind for strenth in the sides, but will give me 4 of my 6 desired dividers.

5)time to cut up the two 1'x4' scraps from step 2. The first piece will be cut into 8 equal sized, 90 degree triangles. These triangles will be doubled up to attach the wheels and also help to prevent racking of the base. the other scrap piece will be cut into two 6"x4' rectangles. These will attached at the front of the base on the plywood storage side to prevent sheets from sliding off.

Status: So from 2 sheets of plywood, I've got 1 side for plywood support, 1 side for cut-off bin support, 4 shelf support strips, 4 dividers, and 8 wheel supports, and a plyood storage "lip" made in step 5. Not bad (if this actually all works).

Now that we know where we hope to be, on to the final plywood sheet. I still need 3 shelves (I'll have one less than in the picture), 2 more shelf cleats, and 2 more cutoff dividers and a front for the cut-off storage. This won't be possible to get from one sheet, but I'm ok with that. I'll explain at the end.

6) rip 1 ft off the end of the sheet so I'll have 7' material to work with. cut the last two cut-off bin dividers out of the 1' scrap. This will leave the only plywood waste for the entire project, which I estimate to be less than 1.5 sq feet of plywood. This along with a few linear feet of 2×4's seems pretty good to me.

7) rip the 3 smallest shelf sizes from the sheet. Rip two more shelf support strips.

If I did my math/planning right, I've got everything I need with the exception of the front for the cut-off storage. This may be cheating, but I'm thinking of using some old pegboard I've got laying around in order to hang small clamps from. The left and right bin will probably never be used for lumber, but will instead get some clamp storage bolted onto the side.

Again, if you read this whole thing, please let me know. Even better, if you have comments/suggestions, I'd REALLY appreciate it.
sound to me like you two have it under control !
making it 7' long makes sense too ,
as you are getting your cleats for some shelves .
over all , it's a nice storage bin/rack .
the idea of a " footprint template is good too ,
if you aproach all your projects like this one ,
you shouldnt have to much of a weight problem ,
as you seem to cut your things to a razors edge .
maybe just a few scraps for pen blanks ?
well thought out ,
waiting to see the results !

· Registered
9,309 Posts
Lots of Work - Minimal Results

Before I start, if anyone has any suggestions to make my blog more readable, please let me know. I spend about an hour on each entry and I still feel that they are severely lacking. I can't do much about the topics since I only blog what I'm working on. I try to include photos too. I may be a bit long winded though. Any criticism would REALLY be appreciated.

I debated whether to post today because it doesn't look like I did much, although I think I did lots with few visual results. I committed to blogging this project through to the end since I think I can finish it on my week off, so I guess I should do it right. I should take one moment to say that my wife has been very good about taking care of our daughter during the day so I can work on this, but there is one catch. My daughter's playpen shares a wall with the garage. We are also trying to get her used to afternoon naps, so anytime it looks like she might zonk out, power tools have to go off. Inevitably she is ready to sleep anytime I finish laying out my cuts and have just put on my safety equipment. I spent 5 hrs working today, but probably could have done this in 3-4 if I was on my own schedule.

In the morning I ran some errands and one of those errands was to get 3" screws. That allowed me to firm up the base that I had just nailed together the prior day. I decided diagnal bracing with 2×4's wasn't necessary because of a couple design modifications (covered later).

Now that the base was nailed and screwed, I needed to add my wheel supports. These came from a 1'x4' piece. Here is is marked for cutting. Hopefully you can see the 8 triangles.

After cutting them I tried to double them up with glue. I know the clamping pressure is not sufiicient for that much surface area. I thought it would make it easier to assemble everything, but changed my mind after the first two.

Now I've got somewhere to attach the wheels once I decide which to use. Here is what I've got

4 of these:

or two of each of these:

I've still got a day to think about the wheel choices. Now I flip over the base so it is right side up and start working my way upward. Here is the first change I made. I realized that while my design modifications would be fine for long lumber storage, I kind of need a floor to support the upright shorts. So, I'm swapping out a 2×4 from the original plans with a 1×6 to be used later. Now, the 2 pieces of 4'x6" plywood I cut yesterday are going to become part of the base. Here you can see it glued up. IT will serve as a floor for the cutoffs and will give an edge for the "A-frame" type structure to push against.

I also decided I'm going to use some scrap shelving to make a floor for the plywood. I'm certain that I could store the plywood across the exposed 2×4's but it might do some damage to the edges, particularly when trying to load and unload the 3/4" pieces. This is my 3rd cheat (1st was using old pegboard, 2nd was swapping out a 2×4 for a 1×6 (although the 1×6 was even cheaper)).

Now I need to start in on some of these large sides. I layed out the windows on the plywood support side. I plunge cut with the circular saw. This did scare me a bit because it feels like I'm cutting on a table saw without a fence or miter gauge. I'm not sure what the difference is except for maybe h.p.m but I guess it worked fine. here are the pictures

Once all is done, it looks like this:

So here is what I still need to do.
1 attach wheels
2 Attach the MDF to the base for the plywood storage side.
3 Attach the cleats
4 Cut the shelves to width and angle the edges to match the slant of the sides (the sides will be 18" apart at the base, with 3 subsequent shelves being 16", 14", and 12".
5 Attach the shelves
6 layout the dividers (unless you guys think my plunge cuts came out perfectly straight)
7 attach dividers
8 attach the front of the cut-off bin
onwards and upwards ,
good blog .

yes on all swivels .

· Registered
9,309 Posts
Now it looks like a lumber rack

Well, I've got some bad news for the 3-4 people reading my blog. This is going to be the last post for a while. I was hoping to finish everything during my vacation, but it won't be done in time and I've got a few other things I need to do over the next few weeks.

The good news is that I'm just about done. The last few steps will be kind of time consuming with minimal results, so I don't think anyone will be dying to see the next few posts. I will blog them when I do them though, I just don't know when it will be. I'd really like to get a parking space back for my wife and that requires some serious cleanup. Here are the pictures for today though. Sorry again to those who have been keeping up. Before I get into the build, heere is a sneak peak at the results.





That's just pressure treated junk. i don't want it with the good stuff, so it doesn't count.



I know, the last photos are the same in the before and after. I told you I didn't finish! So, you thought you'd get a sneak preview of the project? nope. keep reading for those pictures.

I didn't get a shot of me ripping the shelves to length, but basically they are 12, 14, and 16 inches wide by 7 ft long. It was the last piece of large plywood I had left. once they were ripped, the trick was to get them into place. I was basically leaning the two sides against one another, then prying them apart to try and slide shelves in between. At one point, I had all the shelves resting on the cleats, but the assembly wouldn't stay balanced and upright. I was stuck…. Literally….

Thankfully, after me standing there holding them for about 15 minutes my wife came down to ask me something and I jumped at the chance for a hand. She kept it balanced while I clamped everything up. Then I just snapped some chalk lines where the shelves would be and started predrilling holes every 8 inches. I applied some glue and also used 2.25 inch coarse thread screws to pull everything tight. Here is a shot of me about to screw in the last shelf. It was in so tight after attaching the top two shelves that I didn't bother to glue it. I hope I don't' regret it.

You can see the screws sticking out. I gotta say, this is one more time where my corded dewalt drill really came through for me. I have abused that thing so badly over the years, and it still runs like a champ. normally, it is one of my most under appreciated tools, but projects like this remind me what a solid piece of machinery it is.

Once all the screws were in place it was time to start loading it up. First, here is a shot to give you an idea of how much storage is in here.

Time to start loading up the plywood. I think that will be a good test since it will put a lot of weight on the assembly without stressing the shelves. here is a shot of the plywood in place (and some scraps of pegboard and drywall).

I'd estimate there are about 500 sq feet of sheet goods on there. Probably 200 of 3/4", 50 of 1/2" and the rest 1/4". I think that works out to about 250 board feet of wood right there. So far so good. It isn't making any noises or flexing and I can still easily move it with one hand.

I guess its time to start adding lumber. Now or never right? I'll admit I was nervous. Here are hose shots.

As you can see in the last photo, there is nothing on the one side of the project. I've still got the material to cut dividers and the pegboard you saw earlier will be used as a wall to hold it all in. I'm hoping it allows me to hang a few small clamps from it, but I don't know if that is a great storage location. they may get knocked off too easily.

Another change I plan to make is that I don't plan on having the cutoff bins go all the way across. I think they will sit in the middle and I'll have clamp storage on the flanks. maybe it will be vise versa. Any suggestions? Thanks to everyone for sticking with me this far. I will do more, I just work rather slowly.

PS - When I loaded all the lumber, I must have hit a tipping point. It suddenly became MUCH harder to move. I can still move it with one hand, but guiding it requires both and some effort. I am going to try and use up some of this material I've got before buying any more for a while. That is the plan at least. This thing probably weighs about 800 lbs right now. If that's accurate (just based on board foot calculations and my 35 lbs per 1/2 thick sheetgoods assumption) I could probably go to 1,000 lbs without problems. I'd like to get more wight moved to the bottom but I have a few more screws to drive down there.
looks real nice ,
and an interesting read .
looks like a great storage .
maybe some handles through
bolted at each end would
help with moving it ,
at least that's how it works for carts and trailers ?

that walnut sure would look good in my rack ,
if it gets to heavy !
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