Garage Storage Projects: Plywood Rack

A handy storage rack that lets you get at the plywood sheet you need!

This storage rack protects your full and partial sheets of plywood and keeps them within easy reach. It also works great for storm window, paneling and other large flat items.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

TIME

One day

COMPLEXITY

Simple

COST

$20 - $100

How to build this plywood rack

Plywood takes up relatively little space and is easy to store—simply lean it against a wall. The trick is getting at it when you need it. Nine times out of 10, you need the half sheet that’s buried behind 12 others. If you’ve experienced that frustration, you’ll love this rack. Casters and a set of hinges are the secret for easy access. They allow you to swing the storage rack out from the wall and slide out the storm window, paneling or other item you want. Dividers strengthen the rack while enabling you to separate large sheets from smaller ones.

Each slot has room for about six sheets of 3/4-in. plywood. Although you can modify our design and make the slots larger, keep in mind that anything that sits around for a year or two is a donation candidate.

Construction of the rack goes surprisingly fast. Plan an afternoon for the project plus an hour or two to
run to the home center for materials. (See Materials List, above left.) The least expensive wood will do, although for a few dollars more, an AC grade of plywood (sanded on one side) is usually flatter and nicer to work with.

When loaded, this rack is heavy. So make sure to buy casters rated for at least 200 lbs. each. One of the casters should have a brake for extra stability. If you purchase all your materials new, it’ll cost a little over 100 bucks. But chances are you’ll have some of these materials lying around. (Use up that extra 3/4-in. plywood!) Cut the plywood and 2x6s to size first, following Fig. B on p. 70 for dimensions (Photo 1). You can make your cuts freehand (without a guideboard) because they don’t have to be perfect. Use a sharp, carbide-tipped blade with at least 24 teeth to minimize splintering.

After cutting all the pieces, screw the rack together. Start with the center plywood divider first, attaching the bottom 2x6 and then the side. Use the factory edge of the plywood to keep it all square. Next, measure and mark out your center 2x6 dividers and set them in place (Photo 2). This spacing isn’t critical; use more or fewer dividers depending on your needs. After you fasten the front piece of plywood (Photo 3), you can turn the rack over and drive additional screws, spacing them every 12 in. For the back bin you’ll have to toe-screw (screw at an angle) the bottom and side 2x6s through the center plywood divider and into the opposite 2x6 (Photo 4). These toe screws hold them in place until you attach cleats, which solidly join the two sections (Photo 5).

All that’s left is attaching the hardware and fastening the rack to the wall. Since the rack and its contents are heavy, use lag screws to hold the casters and hinges in place. Predrill your holes with a 3/16-in. bit. Set the casters at a slight angle (5 degrees) to accommodate the swing of the rack (Fig. A). Attach the hinges and you’re all set to swing the rack out from the wall and fill it up.

Figure A: Plywood Rack Details

This illustration shows all of the parts of the plywood rack. See the Materials List in Additional Information below.

Figure A: Plywood rack details
Figure B: Plywood Cutting Diagram

These illustrations help you use your plywood efficiently.

Figure B: Cutting Diagram, Front, Back and Cleats as well
as the Middle Divider
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Additional Information

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Tape measure
  • Circular saw
  • Drill/driver, cordless

See Plywood Rack Materials List in Additional Information at the end of the Step-by-Step section.