Plywood Storage Rack
Organize your work space with a Sturdy Storage Rack for Sheet goods.
By Matt Weber
My workshop is a detached two-car garage that serves as my laboratory for all things related to Extreme How-To, from photo shoots and material storage to pre-fab work and project prep.
I try to keep the place organized, but the work space goes through cycles of relative order and total chaos. During one of the recent chaotic episodes I got fed up with the various sheet goods that littered my shop, obscuring sight of tools and supplies and generally obstructing my passage from Point A to Point B. I had planned for years to build a storage rack to solve this problem and finally found the motivation to do so.
What I did not find was a plan to build a storage rack that fit my needs. Sure, you’ll find a variety of woodworking plans online, but most of these storage units are very large and often designed for a great deal of capacity. While many of the plans I found would work wonderfully for a full-fledged woodworking shop, I’m not a full-fledged woodworker. I’m more of a jack-of-all-trades (master of none) DIY guy who usually has a half dozen various sheets floating around, so I did not need a monster rack to hold dozens of sheets. Not only would the extra storage space go largely unused, but the large size of the “pro” racks would pose a new problem in my cramped shop by occupying square footage that I could put to better use.
After a few hours of research, I decided to get creative. The rack shown in this article is my own reation, a concept that I cobbled together from a few other rack/shelf designs. My design provides enough storage for my materials, keeps the supplies against the wall and out of my way, and even has an upper shelf for further storage of long items like 2x4s and pipe clamps. If you’re a part-time carpenter or hobbyist woodworker, then maybe this rack will suit your needs as well.
You will need probably 9 or 10 feet of available wall space for placement of the rack. However, the sheets go in and out of the end of the rack, meaning that you will need clearance at one end or the other to insert or retrieve the sheets, bearing in mind that a full sheet is 8 feet long.
My solution was to install the rack next to the shop’s entryway. Since I could not block the doorway with another stationary shelf or cabinet without impeding my entrance to the shop, this was an area of “dead” space whenever the door was not in use. The doorway was located at the corner of my shop and adjacent to an overhead garage door. So, whenever I need to pull out a sheet that is larger than the 5 or 6 feet of clearance at the end of the rack, I can simply lift the overhead door to gain more room. This seemed to me the most logical way to economize space, and you should plan accordingly when locating the rack in your shop.
The rack is stationary and mounted to the wall of my shop to provide plenty of strength and stability to hold the heavy sheets. My shop is a wood-framed building with the interior walls sheathed in plywood. The rack’s cross-braces that are installed against the wall are fastened into the solid stud framing with 3-in. screws.
If you are installing the rack on a block or concrete wall, then use the appropriate wall anchors or concrete screws to mount the rack.
The rack shown is designed with three angled supports for the sheet goods. The angle keeps sheets tilted backward and stable, while providing solid support so the sheets do not bend or bow.