French Cleat Lumber Storage Rack – 02


Something I have been lacking for a long time is my shop is lumber storage. Being that my space is very limited I opted to come up with a configurable storage solution that can be redesigned based on my needs. When contemplating my options I learned about a method of hanging shop organizers using the french cleat method. This lead me to come up with this project and implement it in my workshop. It’s completely customizable lumber rack that can be reconfigured to meet anyone’s needs in the area of storage. Its remarkably strong for what it is made out of and it has proven very useful in the battle to organize my shop and improve my workflow.

If your looking for a lumber storage solution with the characteristics that I have described then stay tuned. Continue reading for a full written tutorial or watch the video above and see me make it from start to finish. You can also shoot over to my YouTube channel and watch it there and when your finished take a look at some of my other videos as well. Thanks again for watching or reading and I hope you enjoy.



LUMBER STORAGE RACK PLANS


French Cleat Lumber Storage Rack Plans


This is me cutting the french cleat wall hangers utilizing my table saw and push sticks.


The first thing I tackled was cutting all the strips that made up the French cleat wall. I went to my local home store and picked up some dimensional 1 x 3’s and cut them down the center using my table saw. The accuracy of the 45-degree angle doesn’t matter too much but the closer the better. If your off by more than a degree or two I would suggest re-cutting the strips. A great tool to have in your shop for setting your table saw blade to various angles is a digital angle gauge. The tool brand Wixey makes a good quality and relatively inexpensive one. I would avoid harbor freight knock offs because they tend to not be very reliable.


CUTTING BLANKS TO LENGTH


Using my table saw I cut all the cleat blanks to size. They are all cut to the same length.


After cutting several strips, more than I needed, I moved on to cutting the blanks for the French cleat brackets. These brackets are what the lumber will sit on when the project is assembled and in use. They are again made from dimensional lumber but this time I am using kiln dried 1 x 8’s. It’s crucial that you purchase kiln dried dimensional lumber because it is immensely more stable than green lumber and less likely to move drastically on you as it acclimates to your workshop environment. At the end of this article I will post a few recommendations that I have for future builders of this project that will greatly improve its stability and functionality.


CREATING THE TEMPLATE


To make all the cleats identical I use my band saw to cut a template from medium density fiberboard.

I use my oscillating spindle sander to finalize the shape of the template


With the blanks made I decided to make a template I could use to trace the shape of the brackets onto each blank. This greatly increased the speed at which I finished this project and ensured the uniformity of each brackets. I used a ¼” piece of MDF to make the template and use my band saw to cut it out. With the shape roughed out I then refine it using my Oscillating Spindle Sander.


TRACING THE TEMPLATE


Using the template I trace the shape on all the Douglas fir cleat blanks


With the shape finished I went to work tracing it onto each blank. I simply used a pencil to accomplished this task.


CUTTING OUT THE BRACKETS


With all the preparation work finished I use my band saw to cut all the blanks to the template shape


With the tracing finished I moved back to the band saw and started roughing out each bracket. This took a long time and was very repetitive. I wish there was an easier way to knock this portion of the project out but unfortunately there isn’t. I finish the brackets at the spindle sander like I did previously with the template.


ROUNDING OVER THE EDGES


I use my router and a round over bit to ease the edges of the cleats


Just for ascetics I put a ¼” round-over profile on the edges of each bracket using my router table. Feel free to skip this part if you’re not interested in how the brackets look.


HANGING THE WALL CLEATS


I use drywall screws to attach the cleat hangers to the wall.

I use scraps cut to a specific length to separate the wall hangers evenly.


With all the woodworking finished it was time to put up the angled strips that I cut earlier. I use a level and interior construction screws to attach the strips to my wall. I screwed at least two screws, per hanger, directly into studs. To get even spacing I use some scrap cutoffs I had laying around and placed them temporarily between each strip until I had it secured. I placed each strip 8” apart to provide plenty of room for stacking lumber.


LUMBER STORAGE RACK RECAP


This is what the wall hangers installed and cleats attached looks like.


I mentioned earlier that I would talk about my suggestions for anyone who is deciding to build this lumber storage project… First off, make everything out of plywood! Several subscribers voiced opinions questioning my use of end grain in this project. There is no end grain, per say, when using plywood so I would suggest using that to solve this problem. Secondly, plywood has little to no movement and dimensional lumber, even kiln dried, will move on you. Several of the brackets I made had a mild cupping issue after several months of sitting on my shop wall. You won’t have this issue either when using plywood.

I didn’t have any design failures while using this lumber rack and found that, although flawed, it performed well. I hope that you found this article useful and if you have any questions please feel free to email me. You can also write me a note in the comments here or on my YouTube channel. Thanks for reading and I invite you to like, comment, or subscribe to my channel on YouTube.

If you would like to see more of my video tutorial projects visit my YouTube Channel and check them out.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for your video and suggestions. I plan on making myself a lumber rack like this. I do have a few questions one is I have 2×3 lumber, I can just just rip that in half right? And I plan on using plywood for the brackets, how much weight will they hold, and how far apart should I put them.

    • Yes, ripping 2×3’s in half will work for this project, make sure you sink screws into as many wall studs as possible when mounting them. Its what I used and I didn’t have any issues. Plywood for the brackets is the best option. I don’t know an exact load weight that they can carry but I can tell you that I had a hundred pounds or more across 4 cleats and I never had a failure. I would space them know more that 2ft apart when under heavy loads. The strength in this lumber rack is its ability to distribute the weight across each cleat individually. For instance, if you had 200 lbs of weight distributed across four cleats each cleat would be carrying roughly 50 lbs of weight.

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