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Vermonter Tip #142 – DIY Wood Rack

A Strong Wood Rack For About $12

A Super Strong DIY Wood Rack For About $12

DIY Wood Rack

 

Bitter cold winters can be tough to get through. For those that burn wood, you know that bringing it in from outside can be a real pain. I decided to build these racks for the convenience of storing wood in my garage during the winter, thus reducing the frequency at which I needed to replenish from my outside woodshed.  Simple 2×4 construction makes this wood rack an easy DIY project that can be completed in just a an hour or two.  With removable sides, this rack can be easily broken down for storage during warmer months.

 

What’s In A Cord?

A cord is the amount of wood (when arranged so pieces are aligned, parallel, touching, and compact) that occupies a volume of 128 cubic feet (3.62m). This corresponds to a well stacked woodpile that is 4 feet (122 cm) high, 8 feet (244 cm) long, and 4 feet (122 cm) deep.

A cord of wood is defined as 4' x 8' x 4'
A cord of wood

 

Keeping your wood vendor honest

Two of these DIY racks completely full (and a bit heaping to take into account 6″ lost from side supports) are a good representation of a full cord of wood. It is very easy to determine if that cord of wood you ordered was really 3/4 or even 1/2 cord. Loading wood for delivery is usually done by eye with some type of bucket loader. It is quite possible for you to get less than you are paying for (or more if you are lucky). If you find that you’ve been considerably shorted, most wood suppliers will be happy to make up for the difference after you explain that you have racks like this that make it obvious.

 

Before we get started, I want to note that you can buy pre-made brackets for building similar racks. I have listed a couple options below from Amazon.com. While this would lead to a much faster project, I opted for a manually assembled version for several reasons:

  • I needed something right away
  • I enjoy building things. This was a simple afternoon project
  • When I first looked, I couldn’t find brackets under $20. I wanted to build four racks and didn’t want to spend that much on brackets alone.
  • Some of the cheaper  brackets available are made of plastic. Others are steel but look like they are pretty thin gauge. Having used such brackets on my first rack, I’m confident that they are not nearly as strong or durable as my all-wood construction.

The brackets from Amazon can be found here:

On With The Build

Materials For This Wood Rack

QTY Item
5 8' 2×4's (these go on sale occasionally, and you don't need the best grade available)
4 5/16-in-18 x 3-1/2-in Hex Bolts (Lowe's P/N 59065)
4 5/16-in x 1-1/4-in Fender Washers (Lowe's P/N 136623)
4 5/16-in Split Lock Washers (Lowe's P/N 63409)
4 5/16-in-18 Wing Nuts (Lowe's P/N 882029)
Box 3.5" Deck Screws

Printable Materials Listing

Note: The Lowe’s part numbers above are provided for convenience only. You don’t need these exact parts as long as the item type is similar

Tools For This Project

  • Tape Measure
  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Hammer
  • Saw (ideally, a Miter saw, but you could even cut by hand if needed)
  • Drill
  • Drill-bit (5/16″)

Step 1 – Cut The 2×4’s

  1. Set two of your 8′ 2×4’s aside. These will be used for the overall length of the rack.
  2. Cut two of the 2×4’s exactly in half, resulting in four 4′ pieces. These will become the “arms” of the rack.
  3. Cut six 1′ pieces from the remaining 2×4. These hold it all together.

Step 2 – Assemble The Base

  1. Lay your 8′ 2×4’s on edge on a flat surface
  2. Place a 1′ section of wood between the two sides flush with the end
  3. Pre-drill holes for the screws on one side of the base
  4. Attach side to the 1′ piece using two deck screws
  5. Now attach the other side of the base using the same process
  6. Repeat for the opposite side of the base, effectively creating a large rectangle frame such as shown in the following diagram:

 DIY Wood Rack - Diagram 1

Step 3 – Add Arm Braces

Now we are going to assemble the are brace slot on each side of the frame.

  1. Place a 1′ section of 2×4 inside the rack on edge
  2. Use two 1′ pieces of 2×4 temporarily to determine the exact spacing required for the brace (as shown below).  Use a hammer to gently tap the brace against the wood to ensure a tight fit.
    DIY Wood Rack - Building Braces
  3. Pre-drill holes for the screws on one side of the brace
  4. Attach side to the 1′ piece using two deck screws
  5. Now attach the other side of the brace using the same process
  6. Repeat for the opposite side of the base, effectively creating a large rectangle frame with brace supports such as shown in the following diagram:

DIY Wood Rack - Diagram 2

 

DIY Wood Rack - Arm Brace - Critical For A Sturdy Rack!
Arm Brace – Critical For A Sturdy Rack!

 

Step 4 – Adding Arms

  1. Place two 4′ sections of wood into the arm brace slot as shown below.
    DIY Wood Rack - Adding Arms
  2. Place a 1′ section of 2×4 on the top of the arms and draw a line at the center of each arm 2×4
    DIY Wood Rack - Pre-Drilling Arm Connector
  3. Pre-drill holes for the arm tops and attach to the arms using four deck screws
  4. Pre-drill holes at the base of each arm going all the way through the base and arm.
  5. Attach arms using Hex Bolts, Fender Washers, Lock Washers, and Wing Nuts as shown below:

    DIY Wood Rack - Making Arms RemovableDIY Wood Rack - Wing Nut To Quickly Disassemble
  6. Repeat the arm assembly process on opposite side of rack

 

Step 5 – Admire Your New DIY Wood Rack (s)

DIY Wood Rack - Finished Racks

DIY Wood Rack - Finished Rack!
Finished Rack!

Vermonter Tip #322 – Efficient Snow Blowing

Vermonter Tip #322 – Efficient Snow Blowing

Just like mowing your lawn, there is a better way to snow blow your driveway. This technique boils down to always starting in the middle and blowing the snow outward.  As simple as it sounds I continue to see people doing their driveways with other patterns, throwing snow over areas they have already cleared or constantly wrestling with the snow chute to change direction.  Sound familiar? Keep reading…

snowblowing

I’m going to illustrate this technique with a simple rectangle driveway.  The concept will be the same regardless of driveway shape or size but the area you approach first may vary.

This method:

  • Minimizes the need to adjust the snow throwing chute
  • Keeps snow off areas that you have already passed
  • Keeps you moving in a forward direction
  • Eliminates the need to clear the same area(s) more than once

Let’s Begin

Start by clearing some space on both ends of your driveway.  This will allow you to easily maneuver around each pass without going out into the road or coming too close to your garage.

Figure 1 demonstrates this with four passes.  On each end start on the outside and work your way in.  If necessary adjust your snow chute to throw toward the middle of your driveway.

First clear the ends
Figure 1 – First clear the ends

 

Now adjust your snow throwing chute so it points to the right. It should now remain in this position for the remainder of the job.

The Bulk Of The Work
Create a strip straight down the middle of the driveway (see pass #1 indicated in Figure 2 below). Always slightly overlap the last area that you cleared and continue blowing snow toward the outer edges.  Again, when following this pattern you should never have to adjust your snow chute because it will always be point toward an outer edge of the driveway.

Work from the middle out
Figure 2 – Work from the middle out

Continue each circle pass following the pattern above. When you reach the outside you are done! If done correctly, at the right speed with the right overlap, you should never have to go back over the areas you have already covered. It is that simple.

Happy Snow Blowing!

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Vermonter Tip #476 – There Is No Such Thing As “Grill Season”

Don't let a little snow stop you!
Don’t let a little snow stop you!
Vermonter Tip #476 – There Is No Such Thing As “Grill Season”

In Vermont there is no such thing as “Grill Season”.  Grilling can be done year round. A little (or lot of) snow shouldn’t stop you.  On contrary to popular excuse belief, grills can still get extremely hot in the winter if given the proper time to pre-heat.

When cooking in the winter don’t bother with the built-in grill igniters.  They usually freeze up and will only cause headache.  Instead get yourself a box of nice fireplace matches such as these:

Click to Order!

Most grills have a hole in the front right corner designed for lighting manually. If not, simply hold the match down through the grate at each burner as you turn it on.

It’s also very important to keep the lid shut while cooking. Hopefully you spent the summer learning how your grill likes to operate. You should only have to open the grill once or twice to turn the food or make sure small fires are in check.

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Vermonter Tip #351 – Lift Wiper Blades

Vermonter Tip #351 – Lift Wiper Blades

Lift wiper blades up before a snow storm. This will keep them clean and free of ice. High end car manufacturers have even incorporated this as a “feature”. The cars will automatically set the blades away from the glass when turned off.

Lift Wiper Blades - Save yourself a little time by flipping your wipers up before a snow storm
Save yourself a little time by flipping your wipers up before a snow storm

 Why does this help?

Unless the snow is very light and fluffy, it usually lands on your windshield wet and drips down to your wiper blades.  This also happens when you just come in from driving and your window is warm from the inside heater.  This causes ice to form on the blades, freezing them to the windows.  Depending on how much wet snow you get, it can be a real pain getting them unstuck from the window.  If you do so forcibly, you risk ruining your wiper blade.  When you lift wiper blades up, the water has nowhere to collect so the wipers stay clean and the window doesn’t build up ice.

Take it from someone who has a lot of experience cleaning snow off cars. This really works. Try it!

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Vermonter Tip #462 – Bring The Snow Brush Inside

Oh great, snow brush is inside the car!
Oh great, snow brush is inside the car!

Vermonter tip #462 – When you know a big snow storm is brewing, bring your snow brush in the house. This way you don’t have to find your way into the car just to get the brush so you can clean off the rest.

Vermonter tip #463 – If you forget to bring in the brush, use a broom (the official snow brush of VT)

Click to Buy Me!

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