Tag Archives: plans

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

‘Are full-size plans available?’

This is the question I get any time I have a new article published. It’s not just since I left Popular Woodworking Magazine – I got the question with every project published while I was on staff, too. With each inquiry I would respond the same. “Each project published in the magazine is also available as a SketchUp model – you can get the model at the magazine site or in the Google 3D Warehouse. If you download the free version from Google SketchUp, you can pull apart the projects, get sizes and find out how the pieces go together.” In my mind, I could see the woodworker reading this response and wondering if I was crazy.

In this entry, I thought I would take my response a few steps further and show how you can benefit from a basic understanding of SketchUp. Here goes. I’m working on the interior of a secretary – it’s a rather large secretary so you may not want to copy things directly, but take a look at how I get the necessary information from which to build. I also get exact, full-size patterns from the drawings!

Let’s start simple. In my SketchUp model I clicked on the interior base (bottom horizontal piece on which the interior is built), then copied the part.  In a second SketchUp window I pasted the piece. Next, click on the “Top View” program button shown here – it’s the one that doesn’t look like a house in the photo above, right. With that simple step, you are looking down at a scaled drawing of the base. I repeated that same step – the copy and paste portion – with the second horizontal piece as well to get the sizes and locations of my grooves for the vertical partitions. My SketchUp page looked like this (click on the image to see a larger photo):

Using the tools provided in the free program, I added dimensions (dimension tool is found in the drop-down menu under tools), made notes (text tool is also found in the drop-down menu) as to groove sizes and anything else I thought was pertinent to the build. You have to admit that’s fairly simple work especially if you have the drawings already at hand. And I did all this using only three buttons found in the program.

How to get patterns

Now let’s take another step and get a full-size pattern from these drawings. While this is done in a second program (I use Adobe Photoshop), there are many programs that will do the same work. You may already have a program on your computer that does the job.

Before moving to another program, I set things up using SketchUp. A standard piece of printer paper is 8 1/2″ x 11″, so the printable image needs to be less. I set things at 10″. Also, because I don’t need to print any pattern except for the front edge, I can narrow the image to again fit onto the printer paper. Below is the image from SketchUp prior to pushing it to another program (again, click the photo for a better look).

From here you have to move to a second program, crop the sections to your layout lines (dashed lines in the photo),  set the image size to match the 10″ layout size established in SketchUp, rotate the photo to take advantage of the paper size (or you need to adjust your printing direction), then print a full-size pattern. This is what the two images looked like as I was ready to print.

All I have to do to get my pattern is to cut the pieces at the dashed lines then marry the two together. Boom! Full-size pattern. I take that, along with the layout images from above and I’m ready to get busy in the shop.

If you have questions or comments, or if you have a better way to get this information, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail at glen.d.huey@gmail.com.

Build Something Great!



Filed under Shop Tips