The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

I built a lumber rack one morning - Now I have a lumber problem

comments (11) February 13th, 2012 in blogs

MKenney Matthew Kenney, special projects editor
thumbs up 10 users recommend

Easy lumber rack. The vertical supports are anchored into the floor joists above. The brackets are made from two plywood gussets and a length of 2x4.
Loaded. This is nearly all the lumber I have now. But Im hunting down some local cherry and walnut as I write this.
Easy lumber rack. The vertical supports are anchored into the floor joists above. The brackets are made from two plywood gussets and a length of 2x4. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Easy lumber rack. The vertical supports are anchored into the floor joists above. The brackets are made from two plywood gussets and a length of 2x4.

Photo: Matt Kenney

They say that accepting you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it. Well, I was forced to accept that I have a problem yesterday afternoon. In the morning, I built a lumber rack in my basement, which is separated by a wall from shop. In the afternoon, I loaded it up with all of my long boards (I did the shorts this morning). It was the first time I had seen it all in one place. And it hit me: I have a lot of lumber. There's a 14 in. wide piece of 8/4 ash that's the color of butter. And there's 3 pieces of 8/4 air-dried ash that I paid $1 per bd. ft. for. There's a nice piece of 8/4 walnut. There's some box elder boards I bought from John Tetreault (who works for FWW). There's some madrone, quite a bit of cherry, some cuban mahogany, and a piece of 14 in. wide 4/4 Sipo (a relative of mahogany). And then there's the white pine. I have about 4 or 5 8/4 pieces and another 4 4/4 pieces. They are all around 20 in. wide. Why do I have all that lumber? Because it was nice and I couldn't resist buying it. (And I just got off the phone with a local guy who has air-dried cherry and walnut in his yard). I can't say no to nice lumber. So, yes, I have a problem buying lumber I have no immediate plans for. But I don't think I'll do anything about (until my wife tells me to, I guess). And, oh, I guess I should also tell you about the shelving unit i have on the opposite wall. It's full of "special" shorts: tremendously figured quartersawn white oak, a big hunk of 12/4 cherry that's probably about 50 years old (and it is crazy dense heavy), English elm, Claro walnut, and various figured maples.

Now, let me tell you abuot the rack. My lumber had been stored on a rolling platform in my shop, and a few other random places. The problem with the cart was that it was hard to sort through all of the stacked lumber. I hated stacking and restacking it anytime I needed something. Plus, I wanted to free up the floor space. (I need somewhere to put my new snow blower. Yes, I have a new one, so if you live in New England you can thank me for the small amount of snow we've had this year.)

We recently replaced the furnace and hot water heater and that freed up a lot of space in the basement, so I decided to build a rack in there. It's really quite simple. I screwed a 2x6 to the floor joists above and then made some angled brackets (plywood and 2x4) that screw to the 2x6. There is a plywood gusset on both sides of the 2x4 arm. There are three levels of those brackets. And they're 24 in. wide. I was very easy to make. It took just a few hours. It works great and makes it much easier to access my lumber. And that really leads me to the most important question: What will I build next? There's that bow front wall cabinet I've been wanting to make. Should I make it from ash and madrone? Or box elder and apple? Decisions.

posted in: blogs

Comments (11)

franshwa franshwa writes: Nice. I made mine from scraps acquired at a shop in town and was able to acquire a blade for my bandsaw at a great price from
Posted: 4:33 pm on February 23rd

wlf wlf writes: I just wish I had the lumber. Then I would be concerned about storage. You are lucky guys!!
Posted: 4:35 pm on February 18th

Dahlbergia Dahlbergia writes: Lumber problem? What problem? You still have more storage space, right?! Ha ha! How can one ever have too much wood?
Posted: 2:22 pm on February 14th

Talma Talma writes: I knew I had a lumber problem when my dad started running out of room for it in his barn!
Posted: 12:15 pm on February 14th

RalphBarker RalphBarker writes: "Good evening, everyone. My name is Matt, and I'm a lumberholic." ;-)

Buying good wood at yesterday's prices is far better than waiting for the price to double or triple. As long as one's situation doesn't call for frequent moves. Looking back, I now wish I had spent more on nice lumber, and less on wine, women, and song.
Posted: 11:17 am on February 14th

MKenney MKenney writes: jack09,

Stickering lumber (those spacers are called stickers) is important when the lumber is drying and/or acclimating to your shop. After that, I'm not so sure. I haven't hand any problems with my wood warping, cupping, bowing, or twisting. The key is to give a level, flat surface to rest on. My joists are spaced so that those brackets are more like 36 in. apart. That's more than I'd like (24 in.), but it was the best I could do without adding another 4 vertical supports. If I need to, I'll add some stringers between the brackets to help support the boards.
Posted: 9:52 am on February 14th

Tom Tom writes: Nice and simple
Posted: 9:06 am on February 14th

jacko9 jacko9 writes: Matt, You probably have a lot more experience than I do and my lumber rack is similar just a bit larger but, I do have spacers between all of my cherished wood "collection" that I have been accumulating over past 40 years. One question that I have for you and all other woodworkers is, how do you know it's time to get rid of cut off's and shorts? I have a collection of shorts, narrows and odd pieces left over from years of furniture building and because of space limitations, some of it (mostly white and red oak) have been flavoring my BBQ.
Posted: 10:14 pm on February 13th

artagain artagain writes: I realized I had a lumber problem when I knew I had to build a barn to start storing what I already had properly!
Posted: 6:29 pm on February 13th

MKenney MKenney writes: Sure you can store it there. Just be aware of the service "charge" I impose!
Posted: 4:13 pm on February 13th

DaveRichards DaveRichards writes: So does that mean I won't be able to store my lumber stash in your basement? ;)
Posted: 3:44 pm on February 13th

You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.

Save up to 51% on Fine Woodworking


Become a Better Woodworker

ABOUT THE EDITORS MAILBOX editors report from the woodworking front lines. Check in every weekday for news, information, projects, and answers to questions from Fine Woodworking readers everywhere.

Learn about our new format!

Archive: Temporarily unavailable. Stay tuned and sorry for the inconvenience.