What Does $25 Buy You?

Take a look at the photo. I bought that for only $25. No, not the lumber. It would be crazy to think you could find mahogany and walnut for as little as 25 dollars. I’m writing about the inexpensive lumber rack that’s holding all that hardwood. (I thought about titling this entry as “Nice Rack,” but that may have drawn your attention for the wrong reasons.)

These are so simple. I have been storing lumber on racks such as these as long as I’ve been building furniture. There is close to 350 board feet of lumber stored here, all of which rests on 12 pieces of 2×4 bought at my local home center. Six of the 2x4s stay at full length. The balance are cut into a few different lengths, depending on where they are used.

Wondering about the steps? Here goes. First, set up a stop at your miter saw so you cut 18″ pieces. Set an angle of cut at 4 degrees, butt a 2x to your stop then make a cut. That piece is your bottom spacer.

Successive cuts produce spacers (angled on both ends) that fit between levels of storage , and the leftover piece is a top spacer to make the top support arm usable. Three cut 2×4 pieces along with six uncut pieces make three racks. Remaining 2x4s are chopped at 24″ in length to make your supports.

This is where it gets really simple. You could nail these pieces, but I’ve found it best to screw them together using 2-1/4″-long screws. Position your bottom spacer to one of the full-length side pieces, then screw it in place. (Use three screws per section.)

Next, butt a short piece of 2x against the end of your spacer as shown in the photo (side grain to end grain), position a spacer to that short piece then screw it to your side. Keep your spacer tight or you may find your stored lumber bowing downward under the load. Repeat these steps using two additional angle-cut supports. The last piece to fill out the length of a side – your top spacer – has to be cut to length. (I square cut these to bring all ends flush to one another.)

Wrap up the first rack by securing a second side piece to the assembly – again, use three screws per spacer.

Secure these racks to your wall. I space each rack about 3′ apart. With that arrangement you can store 10′ lumber without any worry of sagging. Here I have a wooden frame to screw to, but I’ve also drilled into concrete, driven wooden pegs into the holes then used screws to attach these racks. Whatever the scenario, I like to use a metal tie – some of my racks are tied into walls with hurricane ties, but I’m not exactly sure what I’m using with this setup. Any piece of metal that can be screwed to your wall and rack is fair game.

With three racks installed, it’s time to slip in the supports – you may have to use a hammer or mallet to knock the supports home – then load your wood.

Below this post is a simple drawing of my rack. If you would like a simple SketchUp drawing of this design, drop me a message at glen.d.huey@gmail.com.

Build Something Great!


Rack Plan


Filed under Shop Tips

5 responses to “What Does $25 Buy You?

  1. John Richardson

    I just sent the (I’m afraid too lengthy) email re: the router bit for the secretary. Thanks for the reference to the new address for your blog. My question: I thought of storing my lumber vertically, since in the past when stored on my horizontal rack, I always seem to need to unstack quite a bit of material to reach to board I needed. What drawback do you see to vertical storage?
    Thanks again for your time.
    John Richardson

  2. John,
    You are correct in the idea that you have to load and unload boards to find the best stock for your project when you store on shelves. That’s a price paid for flat stock.

    Whenever I’ve seen lumber stored vertically, which is most often at stores where stacks are rummaged through on a daily basis, I’ve noticed that longer boards are slightly bowed due to leaning against a wall. That’s not good. However, because I have not stored lumber in that manner, I am not the final word.


    • John R

      Thanks Glen for your reply. I had considered that I might need to flip the stock on a regular basis. However, knowing my lack of discipline for such things, I’m afraid I would not tend to the chore properly. Thanks for the rack plans. It certainly is a great deal cheaper than the commercial metal units and I like the idea of wood to wood contact during storage. Thanks again for your considerable contributions to our world of woodworking and inspiration to apply your knowledge. John

  3. Pingback: Interesting stuff from March 16th, 2012 through March 19th, 2012 | ben lowery

  4. Peter

    Just built this rack. Took 4 hours and it is STRONG! Best design I’ve seen.

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