Lumber & Sheet Goods Rack

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This article is from Issue 30 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Combining easy access and mobility

Designer: Ben Svec
Builder: Bill Sands

Perhaps the quickest way to junk up a shop is to dump boards and sheet goods­­—both full-length pieces and offcuts—into corners, in piles on the floor, or sundry other places. Rather than waste precious shop time looking for that piece of oak you set aside, get organized with this accommodating storage rack. Use it to hold sheet goods, full-length boards, even dowels and shorts. It consists of ledges for stacking sheets (and easily sorting through them), removable pipes for standing boards on end or suspending them horizontally, and shelves for an assortment of other materials. Six casters underneath let you easily roll the cart around the shop to machining locations or to help with cleanup. 

Build the A-frames

1 Mill enough  2×4 stock to 1¼ × 3¼" for the A-frame parts (A, B, C, D, E, F). (See the Cutting Diagram and Cut List.) Make the 7° setup gauge in Figure 2. Now, cut 10 uprights (A) to length, noting that the bottom ends are cut at 7° (see the Figure 1 Upright Part View). Cut an extra piece for tool setups. 

2 Next, make a story stick on a length of ¾ × 2"-wide scrap. Transfer the dimensions for Dado 1 and the end rabbets in the Figure 1 Upright Part View onto a story stick that’s at least as long as upright (A). Transfer these dimensions to the uprights, aligning the top of the stick with the square top of the uprights.

3 Make the 7° marking jig in Figure 2 (page 22). Hold it on the marks you made in Step 2 and complete marking the dadoes and rabbets on the faces of the uprights as shown in  Photo A. 

After marking the locations of the dadoes and rabbets, use the 7° marking jig to quickly scribe the cutlines.

Align the cutline for Dado 1 with the line on the table and make the cut; cut along the second cutline and then remove the waste in between.

Place Dado 1 over the fence key, flushing it to one wall, and then cut out Dado 2, checking the cut against the cutlines. Turn the upright and similarly cut Dado 3. 

4 Cut the pieces for the miter gauge dado-cutting fence shown in Figure 2 (used in Photos A and B) and center and screw the fence to your miter gauge. Set the key aside. Return to the 7° hardboard setup gauge made earlier and use it to establish the angle for your dado-cutting fence. Install a 3/4" dado set in your table saw and raise it to 5/8". 

5 Test-cut mating rabbets or dadoes on a piece of scrap representing those on the upright (A) and check the depth and angle of the cut. Now, carefully align the marks for Dado 1 (Figure 1 Upright Part View) and cut it to width as shown in Photo B. Cut this dado in all the uprights (A). 

6 Remove the fence from the miter gauge and turn it  end to end with the notch down. Now, fit the key in the notch so that it protrudes from the front face and screw it in place. Reattach the fence to the gauge so that the inside edge of the key measures 125/8" from the outside (left) guideline on the tabletop or projected fence kerf (see Figure 2). Now, fit the dadoes cut in Step 5 over the key for cutting Dado 2 in all the uprights as shown in Photo C. Use the key to make the 31/4" wide dado cuts along the cutlines, and then remove the waste in between. Turn the upright (A) end for end and similarly, using Dado 1, cut Dado 3. This process guarantees consistent cuts from one upright to another.

7 To cut the rabbets on the bottom end of the uprights (A), align the cutline with the tabletop guidelines and remove the waste.

8 Mark the locations for the support pipes along the outside edges of the uprights (A) where shown in Figure 1. Chuck a 7/8" Forstner bit in your drill press and bore the 3"-deep holes at 90° to the edge.

9 Cut upper, middle, and lower stretchers (B, C, D) to length, angling the ends at 7° as shown in Figure 1. Now cut the base stretchers (E, F) to length. Use the 7° marking jig to lay out the rabbets on the upper, middle, and lower stretchers, noting that the two rabbets on each piece are on opposite faces. Locate and mark the dadoes on the base stretchers (E). (Note that stretcher parts E and F are not identical; the outer stretcher parts F are not dadoed.) Cut the rabbets and dadoes on all pieces using the guidelines (see Photo C) on the tabletop.

10 Build one A-frame without parts F to use as a template for the remaining A-frames. Begin by test-fitting parts A, B, C, D, and E together. Now, apply glue to the dadoes and rabbets and use clamps to hold the parts together until the glue dries as shown in Photo D. Use the setup gauge to ensure that the A-frame joints align at 7°.

11 Glue and assemble  the remaining A-frames, one at a time, using the template A-frame for alignment (Photo E). Keep the frames from sticking together with packing tape. Glue and clamp on the base stretchers (F) to three of the frames.

Glue and clamp the first A-frame together using the 7° setup gauge to ensure accuracy. 

Glue up the remaining A-frames on top of the first, which works like a template to make the others identical.

Clamp the top rails in place and then secure them with screws.

Cut the plywood and assemble the rack

1 From two sheets of  ¾" plywood, cut the skirts (G), base shelves (H), base rails (I), top shelves (J), top rails (K), middle rails (L), and middle shelf (M) to sizes. Note that parts I and J are beveled at 7° along one edge; part (M) on both edges.

2 If working by yourself, pocket-hole screw the base shelves (H) to the skirts (G), allowing for a 1" reveal above the shelves. Or, if you have a helper to hold the A-frames, attach these parts individually.

3 Screw on the base shelf assembly (G, H) to one A-frame on a flat surface where shown in Figure 3, flushing the ends. (We used #8 × 1½" flathead wood screws.) Secure the opposing end frame. Temporarily clamp the top rail (K) in place to help you position and secure the middle A-frame. Finally, center and secure the remaining A-frames between the end and middle A-frames. Check that the A-frames are perpendicular to the base shelf (H). Now, screw on the base shelf (H) and skirt (G) to the opposite side. Screw on the base rails (I) beveled edge down and flush at the ends.

4 Cut five #20 biscuit slots along the mating beveled edges of the top shelf parts (J) for alignment. Now, apply glue and biscuits to the top shelf beveled joint, snugging the parts together with clamps. Set the assembly on the top square ends of the uprights (A) and screw to the A-frames, overhanging each end by 1¼". 

5 Screw on the top rails (K) as shown in Photo F, allowing for a ½" lip above the top shelf assembly and flushing the ends.

6 Screw on the middle rails (L), spacing them 10" apart and aligning the ends so they overhang the A-frames by 1¼". Add the middle shelf (M) on parts D and screw in place. 

7 Lay the lumber rack on its side. Locate and secure the six 5" casters (Woodcraft #140642, $19.99 each) using 5/16 × 2" lag screws and flat washers. 

8 Sand and break the corners and apply a finish. 

9 Cut several 15"-long pieces of ½" I.D. pipe (our home center cut seven pieces from a 10' length of galvanized pipe). Now, insert them where needed in any of the 30 available holes for storing lumber vertically or horizontally.

About Our Designer & Builder

Designer: Ben Svec operates Falls Millwork, a small custom furniture and cabinet shop in Kelley, Iowa. 

Builder: In addition to projects for the magazine, Bill Sands teaches classes at the local Woodcraft store and wood technology at West Virginia University-Parkersburg.


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