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Thread: Lumber Storage in Small Shop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Ardmore, OK

    Question Lumber Storage in Small Shop

    I have a couple of questions I was hoping for some help with pertaining to lumber storage in my small shop.

    First, my shop is 20x20 and is in the outfitting stage. I am planning the addition of some lumber storage sometime soon for 4x4, 8x4 type lumber, 8-12 inches max width, typically, and 8-12 foot in length max.

    My first thought was some standard lumber racks. On this tangent, if anyone has some advice on where to get plans/design for some basic racks, I'd be highly appreciative. I swear I ran across this in a woodworking magazine in the last 16 months or so, but can't seem to track it down.

    Anyways, my biggest concern about the "standard lumber racks" option is the amount of wallspace that will be consumed. With only a 20x20 shop to work with and a grand total of 80 linear wall space to work with, I am hesitant to loose such a commit amount of space.

    One alternative ideas I had was to create some lumber bins where wood could be verically stored, leaning up against a wall, roped in for safety, and with holes cut in the drywall ceiling to allow long boards to stick through into the attic.

    However, as I just dreamed up this idea based on the way lumber is often sold at woodcrafts, paxtons, etc, I am not sure if it is a good idea.

    Part of me says that I am being silly and should just go with the standard horizontal racks.

    So, I figured I would draw on the wisdom of SMC and get some input here.

    Thoughts, advice, etc? Thanks!!!!

    If need be, I can post some shop pics to let you know what I am working with.
    Paul Thompson, Ardmore OK

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Olathe, Kansas (Kansas City)
    I used a simple but very flexible design and I am glad I did, as I have changed it around based on my lumber supply.

    I went and bought those 36" white heavy duty double slotted standards from Home Depot. Then bought the shelf brackets, they have sizes that go up to 20+ inches. I need to have access to the floor space below for my tools, so I choose to use 8" brackets on the lower runs and then move to larger ones. I placed the standards on stud centers, thus supporting the material every 16".

    If I need to add more lumber in either wider or thinner widths, I can easily change the space between brackets and the brackets themselves. If I find I need to store longer lumber, I just add another standard. The brackets can hold up to 1000 pounds I believe.
    Scott C. in KC
    Befco Designs

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Midland, Michigan
    First off - you need a door! (20 X 20 shop w/80 foot of wall space):-)

    I don't have much to offer with wood in piles here and there myself. Too much for the wheeled wood racks I started with. I too hate giving up wall space so future wood storage will be on wheels as much as possible which will mean building more caster wood racks.

    I for one would be interested in seeing photos of your shop setup. TIA
    Work safe, have fun, enjoy the sport.
    Remember that a guy never has to come down out of the clouds if he keeps filling the valleys with peaks. Steve

  4. #4



    See my recent post here

    This was my solution to my 23' x 20' shop space. It takes up most of the length of one wall. The rack is at a height that stills allows head room under it. I plan on storing shorter lengths in a vertical corner rack that provides easy access. I may even develop addition "short piece" storage below the extension table to the right of my table saw.

    This is a very strong rack, as I have since loaded it up and no creaking yet

    Next step is painting the floor (now that the lumber is off of it).

    The space below the rack may be used as a long bench for mounting a cut off or radial arm saw, with cabinet space under with lots of drawer space.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Vertical storage can work nicely, but you still need to build a support structure that insures that the boards are supported at intervals over their entire length to prevent bowing...and speaking of length, you need ceiling height for that. If you are concerned with wall space, you can always do multiple racks that only use the upper couple of feet of wall space, leaving the lower areas free for cabinetry and tool storage. Lumber storage can also be combined with a workstation...take a look at the cantilievered miter station I have in my shop...there is a pictorial on my site.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    You will never have enough lumber storage! Having said that, in my 20 x25 shop I did commit most of one wall to horizontal lumber storage. I started it about 48" off the floor so I can place tools under it. Shaper, jointer, planer are some examples. Mine is simply 2x4s on edge lag screwed to the wall and the brackets are also 2x4s 14" in length on the lowers, 12" in length on the uppers held in place with plywood gussetts screwed and glued to both the uprights and the brackets. Not the prettiest in the world but very strong, very fast and very simple.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Houston, TX

    ceiling storage

    I use the common wall mounted rack and it works pretty well. My BIL has made a rack that mounts on the ceiling itself. You can have an entire row of wood hanging from a shelf suspended from the ceiling. Potentially this is a lot of space. I may go towards this idea myself.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    Paul, You mentioned you had a attic, do you have easy access to it. My attic pulldown is in my garage, and I plan to use some of that space for lumber storage.
    Wes Newman

    "Where did all of my money go? "

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Green Bay
    Other than drops and plywood, my lumber is stored in what many consider to be dead space. It's overhead. For small amounts of lumber, it works great.

    A friend of mine stores his lumber in his miter bench. It's basically 4' deep and a little over 4' tall. The back 1' is used to store plywood, the next 12" or so is used for rough lumber. This doesn't give a lot of storage, but it's enough for projects to project storage.

    Good Luck
    Joe in Valrico

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Milton, GA
    Blog Entries
    The Depot use to carry those white racks in a heavier duty gray version. I used those in my tractor building to hold Bee Equipment, wood mostly. When I went to get lumber racks for my shop the Depot did not have the gray racks anymore. They did have some even heavier brackets that were galvanized/plated metal though.

    The brackets, that attach to the wall, are the heaviest I have seen yet. The longer support arms have an angled support that folds into the main support arm. The support arms come in up to 22" lengths, the longest I have found. Even at 22" these arms are rated to hold over 300 lbs at the ends. With four supports per row that should give me well over 1200 lbs of capacity per row.

    The price for these racks was very reasonable, half or less than the similar racks Lee Valley offers that I had been studying.
    Last edited by Mike Holbrook; 04-01-2005 at 6:14 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Hurricane WV
    I too have struggled with this problem as i'm sure every woodworker has. The rack in the above picture is similar to mine and works well. If you put a couple of upright standards close together you can use them to support vertical lumber. But the in the long run ADD ON!!. Because you can never have too much lumber.

  12. #12
    I am thinking of using the pipe method to get some of my lumber stored. When a new toy comes, I am going to have to free up some space usually dedicated to lumber storage.
    Jeff Sudmeier

    "It's not the quality of the tool being used, it's the skills of the craftsman using the tool that really matter. Unfortunately, I don't have high quality in either"

  13. #13
    I have a small shop that also needs to house two cars. What I did was to take some standard shelving brackets and place them along the wall high enough so that I can use the space below. I actually mounted mine directly about the door to the house.

    A friend of mine actually made a couple 2x4 u shaped frames and mounted them to the ceiling. He can walk under them and they hold a lot of stuff!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Herndon, VA
    Paul - I've done the HD grey dual track adjustable shelfs. For the brackets, I put a piece of 3/4 ply that is 1 1/2 wide and runs the length of the bracket with a slight overhang. I felt the plywood would protect the wood from any metal stains. I keep a stash of wood in the shop that is for projects that I'm working on or the really good stuff. The rest I keep stacked in the garage supported by 2x4's on the floor.

    You might consider having the lumber rack over top your CMS or router station.

    My 2 cents....


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Benbrook, TX
    Unless you play in the NBA (in which case you'd have a much bigger shop and someone to do the work for you) look upward for about 800 cubic feet of space (assuming an 8" ceiling and your 6' or under).

    Even over one-side of my garage door, which only has about 6" clearance near the front, there's space for about 100 BF of wood storage (unfortunately, I've got about 500 BF out there right now). I lag-bolted a pair of h-duty Stanley 90* steel brackets to the ceiling joists every 2', forming 2 rows of 4 hangers 4' across from each other, then screwed a 6-8" 2x4 between each pair of brackets to form a stud and screwed 2 more brackets into the back of each stud. Finally, I mounted a 4' 2x4 between each stud for a total of 4 hangers. I need to add another on the opposite side of my garage door opener. The next one will probably use 6 hangers for more strength (the first one is sagging a bit), also to prevent bowing. I may go to composite decking material if it's stronger than pine, also because it shouldn't stain wood.

    This solution cost about $25 and that formerly-wasted space can hold 7 sheets of 3/4" 4x8 sheet goods, provided I have help getting them up or down. If I ever sell the house, I will likely have to re-texture and paint the popcorn ceiling (I hate that stuff!).

    If I am ever able to build a detached shop it will likely be barn-style with lots of overhead lumber storage.
    Last edited by James Carmichael; 04-01-2005 at 3:10 PM.

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