A (cheap) wood rack

9 Mar

I had a horrible mess in my wood storage area, so I made up this simple rack to tidy it up.

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This pattern of wood rack (with storage bins on one side and sloping sheet goods storage on the other) is well exampled on the net. In particular Steve Ramsey’s nicely documented build make a rolling lumber cart ,  various designs on LumberJocks, and this nice English/French site rangement-pour-panneaux-et-retailles. However, most of the examples I found used sheets of 3/4″ (20mm) plywood which is very expensive in New Zealand. Besides, a lot of my wood was scavenged and free, and I didn’t want to spend good money on storage for it, so this rack is made from some thin 9mm ply and a lot of scraps. Another difference is that this isn’t a mobile cart – castors won’t work well on a dirt floor.

The area was very messy. (The pink and blue cupboards used to belong to my twins when they were much younger).

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The first step was to make some temporary covered storage using some pallets, a tarp, some eye-screws, and a few bungee cords.

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I decided to make the storage bins 400mm x 400mm, which is wider than the capacity of my (small) tablesaw.  That meant clamping a temporary worksurface to the saw top to make the cuts.

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The only flat surface for assembly, anywhere near the shed, was the bed of my trailer. It worked quite well. The lines on the plywood mark some treated fence palings to raise it off the ground.

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Some free offcuts of mdf supplied spacers. I clamped four together to ensure each set of spacers were the same length.

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It turned out that four sheets was a trifle too much depth for this 200mm (8″) mitre saw, and I had to tidy up one corner on each batch.

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Once I had my spacers and the 400×400 squares of plywood, I assembled a set of bins. Rather a messy operation and a crude looking result.

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Now I could start assembling the structure in-situ.

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The shelves for the centre were, again, thin 9mm ply. That meant I couldn’t screw into the side of them so I cut small rails for them to sit on. One of my recent pickups was some 2.4m long strips of 20mm plywood, but only 20mm wide. These worked very well for rails. In the photo below, I am setting up to cut a 10 degree bevel on the edge of one of these 20×20 strips. It’s the sort of cut which isn’t really feasible without a tablesaw.

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I fastened the rails to the shelf before I attached them to the sides. This worked well.

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For the first (lowest) shelf, I was able to put some plastic buckets and some 4x2s down to support the shelf while I fixed it in place.

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Working my way up, I soon had the other shelves in place. (One of my daughters helped with this bit which made it easier as the two ends are 2.4m apart and the area was so messy that moving around wasn’t easy).

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Once I started filling the rack, I discovered quite a lot of nice bits of wood that I’d forgotten I had. The final result didn’t really pack quite as much in as I’d hoped, but it did make it far easier to see what I had. It also got rid of a major problem of wood lower down the pile developing a curve.

Large sheets are stored on one side, while thin but long strips, metal rods, etc go in the shelves.

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With planks, dowels, and narrower offcuts of mdf, going in the bins on the other side.

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