Grant's Lumber Rack

Strength and flexibility are keys for this lumber storage system.

SHOP OWNER: Grant Smith

    First off, I must credit Moses Yoder’s “shop tour” for the inspiration, and the Workshop Book, by Scott Landis (back dustcover) for the original idea, on which I expanded, modified, and added sheet stock storage. This rack is among the best things I’ve done in terms of shop organization. With an overall cost of about $200 for the materials (I also paid to have the pipes cut to length at a local supplier), it was well worth the money to have easy and safe storage for the lumber I have on hand.
    I made the lumber rack capable of storing over 1000 board feet of lumber about two years ago. It is made up of ½" black iron pipe for shelves and 4 x 4 x 10' lumber for the uprights. As an added bonus, it also features sheet stock storage behind it.
    The unit is an A-frame affair that partially leans on a wall. Make sure to rigidly affix it to both the wall and the floor before filling it with lumber. This is lag screw and ½” concrete anchor territory - NOT DECK SCREWS! Affixing it rigidly to both wall and floor, along with the A-frame design, ensures that the weight will be carried straight to the floor instead of placing lateral loading on the wall.
    The design allows easy sorting and browsing of lumber from the side and end, a feature that many 4-legged shelves do not easily allow. The backward leaning design also adds a measure of safety, helping to prevent lumber from falling off. In addition, the supports spaced every 16” would allow drying of lumber on the rack with the addition of stickers between each level of lumber. The unit is scaleable in length and height to meet storage and space needs.
Grant's Lumber Rack

    In the photos you can see I have around 1000 board feet of lumber on the rack. Even with this much weight on it, very little lateral pressure is placed on the wall, thanks to where the center of gravity is, the fact that it is anchored into the concrete floor, and lagged to the wall at each upright.
    I can hang 220 lbs. on the end of any of the supports with little deflection, and no bending of the pipes. I dare say you could safely add some length to the pipes in my design.... maybe just towards the top so it doesn't intrude further into the room.
    If I had it to do over, I'd drill about twice as many holes in the uprights to allow more flexibility in shelf placement for odd lots of lumber. One drawback to this design is that you need about five or so feet of space to the left of the rack to get access to the sheet stock. I store my rolling toolbox and other mobile stuff in this space when I’m not retrieving sheet stock.
    To drill all of the holes so the shelf supports would be on the same plane, I first installed the top and bottom plates, and then cut each 4 x 4 to fit in its individual position (concrete floors are neither flat, nor level --- just a reminder). Then I used a chalk line to mark each shelf plane. Next, I moved the uprights to the drill press to drill holes to receive the pipes, stopping about ¾” shy of drilling all of the way through.
    If you don't keep this much lumber in your shop all of the time, you can remove the lower pipes to allow other uses of this space. I keep my jointer parked in front of the rack most of the time, and my band saw parked just off the end and forward of the rack. This provides a good stock prep area for me.
Lumber Rack Diagram

. . . Grant Smith



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P.O. Box 493
Springtown, PA 18081