Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Wood Rack

Here's what has been absorbing any free time I've had for the last two weeks:

It's the long overdue, long planned, new shop wood rack - and it is finally done! Wahoo!

The posts are three 2x6s laminated together with glue and screws. The arms are 2x4s, set in mortises created by missing sections of the center post lamination:

I debated using 2x6s as arms, but decided I'd try the 2x4 arms first. If there are any problems, I can make 2x6 arms with a cut down tenon to fit the mortise and a supporting lower shoulder.

This is really the first phase of the "Total Shop Overhaul". For some time I've been wanting to change things in my shop, which is in one half of our two car garage. When I stand facing into the shop half, everything makes me happy. But when I face out of the shop half, I am looking at all sorts of things that just don't feel right: recycling bins, hot water heater, boiler, kitty litter, random storage, exercise area etc. In short, I've been wanting a 360° shop.

I thought about moving the shop out to the small shed in the yard, but it's unheated and has no windows and no real door. Then I thought about building a new, dedicated shop structure in the yard. This was more exciting, but I finally realized, with a lot of help from my wife, that it just wasn't going to happen this year. In the end, I decided to go with an idea that my brother Josh championed. I'm going to build a temporary (it will need to come out at some point) partition wall down the middle of the garage. This will solve the 360° shop issue, and also give us more storage (shelves on the non-shop side) for our teaching supplies/materials that are currently filling a rented storage unit (my wife and I are both teachers, and are moving to a new school and have way too much stuff that needs an accessible storage space - i.e. NOT the crawlspace).

Here's my tentative plan for the Total Shop Overhaul:

Phase 1: New Wood Rack - complete!
Phase 2: Remove Old Wood Rack to make room for the wall - pending.
Phase 3: Partition Wall w/ door - planning.
Phase 4: Window Installation - planning.
Phase 5: Rearrange Shop - dreaming.

I'd love to think that this will all be done soon, as the shop looks like a bomb went off and is almost unusable at the moment. It's like being in the middle of one of those sliding picture puzzles - move this, to move that, to move that, to get to that, to reach that. Frustrating! But the reality, especially with the new job, is that it is going to take a while.



  1. Great work, I really enjoy the assortment of ax heads awaiting handles. Feels like my shop, only my assortment is chisels.

  2. Looks great Dan. How does it rely on its top attachment to the wall? A modified free standing or even on wheels would be great for my shop.

  3. Trevor - It's nice to know I'm not the only one who enjoys the periphery details in shop photos. I spend almost as much time looking at the background stuff as the main focus of the shots. Thanks! Oh, and yes, those ax heads have been incredibly patient.

    Daniel - Thanks! It is lag bolted to the wall cleats which are lag bolted to the wall studs. It was going to get, and still might, a "cap" of plywood to tie the posts together and to the top cleat.

    Freestanding would be tougher, as it would need more bracing, or sheathing, but seems possible with modifications.

  4. Yes, it's like Where's Waldo in the Woodshop... Why don't they have that? to get a book deal...


  5. Dan...
    This is a great looking wood rack and it looks like it could hold a ton. You'll enjoy this for a long time. Boy, I sure could use one of these in my shop. Nice job!

  6. Trevor - I think you might be on to something...

    A&J - thanks. I hope it holds a ton - of course I probably have about a ton and a half of wood hanging around, so this might be a good thing - force me to weed out the junk.

    Josh - Nice!

  7. Can't wait to see the new shop photos. I am a strong believer that your surroundings can affect your work. I have a "dream shop" that I did a post about in my blog that I hope to build one of these days. Kind of modest by modern standards of a shop, but ideal for my style. Anyway, looking forward to tracking your progress on this.

    Jamie Bacon

  8. Jamie - I can't wait either! In this case the chaos is depressing, but someday the new shop will be uplifting. Someday...

    Your "dream shop" looks great! I would love to have something like that, of course it would look rather out of place up here in Alaska. I hope it works out for you. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Dan,
    I'm still pondering building a wood rack inspired by your one. (In my shop a lot of pondering happens before any real work...)
    It looks like you've used a simple pine for your timber. Is that right?
    What dimensions did you run with? I have some slabs which are 8-9' long and 2' wide. I would build mine to accommodate them.
    Now that you've had some time with the rack... anything you'd change?

  10. Daniel - I used standard construction grade 2x4s and 2x6s, so they might be pine, but I think they are spruce or possibly fir. I picked through the whole pile and selected the clearest, straightest boards.

    Most of my stock is 8' long, so I set the two end units just inside that and divided the inside space with the other two units. It would be really simple to spread them further apart, or even add additional units, which would also add more weight capacity.

    Hmm. I always change something, so yes. I'd be tempted to try longer arms. Mine project 18" and a few more inches would give me greater flexibility. And more weight, but that doesn't seem to be an issue (so far). Also, I already changed one thing - I added plywood to two shelves for increased lateral stability. It was solid, but now it it rock solid - we do get earthquakes up here. It also allowed for better storage of shorts. Speaking of which, I added sliding trays in the bays under the bottom for more short storage.

    I guess I should really post an update on the rack. Thanks for commenting.

  11. this turn out great, I just finished up a rack using 4x4's and 3/4" pipe, I like the laminated posts and wood arms though.

    How tall are your ceilings?? you've got quite a few rows there.


  12. David - Thanks. My ceilings are about 10 1/2 feet, which I really appreciate. If it weren't for the garage door track, I could use every bit of it.

  13. I just noticed the insulation on the back of your garage door. (Pretty neat!) Clearly, you live in a cold climate!


  14. Gye - Yep, I'm in Alaska. I don't think I could use the garage if the door wasn't insulated. Even so, it gets cold out there pretty darn quick if I turn the heat down.

  15. A heated garage? Niiice! :)

    (I'm originally from Seattle: sometimes the garage got cold enough to wear a coat...) ;)


  16. Do you think 3 laminated 2x4s would be fine for the posts?

    1. Hmm. Not sure. I'd be hesitant to reduce the resistance to the leverage of the arms. It might be fine though - you could try it and see how it works. Please let me know what you find out.

  17. I noticed this post was made in 2010 and am curious how the rack held up? I will try to go thru the posts and see if you made a followup. Nice rack.

    1. Held up great! I might consider adding additional shelves if I were to build again.

      I will be moving into the new shop soon and will post new picks when I do...

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. how are the arms attached? did you screw and glue them in addition to the mortise or can you pull them out as needed? thanks


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