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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!

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