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This is one of those projects where a hare-brained idea turned out to actually work. After comparing the pros and cons of several lumber rack ideas, I made a quick and EASY lumber rack in my garage from
Best lumber racks and lumber storage options (pros and cons)
Part of my garage makeover plans included installing a wall-mounted lumber rack for full lengths of lumber, conduit pipe, scrap wood, and molding that haven’t yet been used. For woodworkers and home renovators like me, having a place to store extra supplies will vary from time to time; but keeping inventory organized is crucial for productivity. It also provides a place to store wood that prevents warp.
If you have enough vertical storage space, you can also separate different types of wood based on their purpose (pricey hardwoods for furniture vs 2x4s for basic builds). I’ve been searching for lumber storage options online (especially DIY) and noticed that most of them could be divided into three groups — each of which had their pros and cons.
DIY option #1: wood + pipe lumber storage rack
The gist of this option is to install lengths of conduit pipe into a piece of lumber and then mount along studs.
Pros: this option looks pretty cool, super sturdy, keeps floor space clear, and conduit pipe isn’t super expensive.
Cons: it seems like a little more work than I really want to do.
The conduit has to fit snugly and I can imagine myself procrastinating on getting this implemented due to the number of steps needed, which means months and months of lumber still laying around until it’s finished. So that option’s out. Onto the next…
DIY option #2: furring strips + plywood supports
There are many variations, but the plywood plans are relatively the same: build supports and then install them between vertical lengths of wood along 2×4 studs.
Pros: cost effective, visually ok, probably easier to DIY than the pipe version
Cons: I still see myself taking time on this one to cut and assemble. Also, compared to the pipe version, thicker widths of wood might not be easy to place if they bump into these supports.
There’s nothing really wrong with this project, but my lack of a table saw means that this may take too long, I’ll blow it off for several more months, and the lumber yet again continues to lay in a pile on my floor in the meantime. I’ll earmark this for “maybe later”, but what about an install-and-go option?
Option #3: Buy a metal vertical lumber organizer
This pre-made metal storage rack is less than $100, so if the goal is to just get it done and move onto the next project, it’s really not a bad choice. But after looking at specs of the depth and weight limits of each level, I realized that there may even be a cheaper and easier option altogether.
Pros: probably one of the quickest, comes in a short and long version to suit a lot of space (or just a little), straightforward hardware requirements
Cons: I wasn’t really planning to spend that much on a possible temporary storage solution when my needs/design may change in the next phase of my workshop makeover
MY DIY Lumber Rack: heavy duty shelf brackets!
The storebought lumber rack has levels that each support 110 lbs and carry a depth of 12.25 inches. I figured that if I could find something similar in terms of steel shelf brackets, I may be able to make this project both cost effective and easy to install in less than an hour. So, I asked my dad to raid his garage, where he found six 12 x 14-inch shelf brackets. I brought a few outside for painting.
Most of these were old and covered in dirt and crusty paint, but FREE, and therefore my favorite kind of material to work with. I looked up their weight capacity online and discovered that when mounted into studs, each shelf can hold 100lbs — only 10 lbs shy of the store-bought rack. (FYI: there are also heavy-duty shelf brackets that can support up to 300 lbs, but they cost quite a bit more, so the pre-made rack is actually cheaper and easier to install).
During the garage cleanup over this past weekend, I gave each bracket a few coats of primer and white spray paint, then installed them on one side of the garage (carefully making sure that each screw went into a stud). UPDATE: As some have suggested in comments, if you’re going to attempt these yourself, definitely check out the shear strength/weight capacity of the screws going into the studs as well. The brackets can hold up to a certain weight, and the screws need to be heavy duty as well! Then, I loaded ’em up:
To my surprise, these two levels held every piece of full-length lumber, conduit pipe, and molding I had (I carefully distributed the heavier 2x4s between the racks, so I didn’t feel like I came anywhere close to the weight limit). I still need to build a lumber cart for scraps and sheets of plywood, but this solution was perfect for getting some of the biggest culprits of my bruised legs out of the way for good!
For the record, I’m not sure that this is really my long-term solution, so I’ll probably upgrade to the conduit version above (option #1) after I am no longer storing stuff along that wall for the upstairs bathroom. But for now, it suits my needs perfectly, and was both FREE and QUICK to install. I can even fit a workbench under this rack easily so I have a spot for my miter saw, too. No procrastinating, no DIY hiccups, no fuss. It also crosses part of the workshop makeover off of my project list!
- pegboard organization wall
DIY lumber rack(that’s here!)
- charging station
- lumber cart
- gardening tool storage
Have you been thinking of building a lumber rack? Which version are you planning to install?