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How to Build a Basket Stand

The secret to this handsome, durable basket stand is a biscuit joiner, which creates super-tough joints without metal fasteners or exposed wood dowels.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Overview

You’ve seen chests of drawers— well, here’s a “chest of baskets.” It can be used in nearly any room—in the bathroom for storing towels, the entryway for organizing hats and gloves, the bedroom for workout clothes, even in the kitchen for veggies or hand towels.

The total materials bill for our pine stand, including the baskets, was about $50. We bought baskets at a craft store, but lots of other retailers like Pier 1, West Elm and IKEA also carry them. Make sure to buy your baskets first; you need to construct the stand based on their dimensions.

To keep the frame of the stand both lightweight and strong, we used biscuit joinery. It’s a clever way to join wood, and a technique you can use with many other projects. See below for biscuit joiner tips.

How to build it

You’ll build the two “ladders” that form the sides of the stand, then glue and nail the crosspieces to join the two ladders.

To get started, cut all the parts to length (see Cutting List in Additional Information below). Mark the rung and crosspiece locations on the legs. Mark all four legs at the same time to ensure the framework is uniform and square (Photo 1).

As you mark the legs, keep picturing how your baskets will sit on the runners, especially if you’re using baskets smaller or larger than ours; it will help you avoid mental errors. Use the biscuit joiner to cut slots in the edges of the legs and ends of the rungs (Photo 2). You’ll need to clip the biscuits to suit the 1-1/2-in.-wide legs and rungs (see “Biscuit Tips,” below).

Apply glue to the biscuits and slots (Photo 3) and assemble each joint. Clamp the ladders together and set them aside until the glue dries.

Join the two ladders by gluing and nailing the crosspieces between them. Remember that the three front crosspieces that will support the baskets lie flat. Next, install the basket runners (Photo 4) even with the flat crosspieces that run across the front. Glue and nail the 3/4-in. plywood top to the stand, then apply cove molding to cover the edges (Photo 5).

Figure A

Figure A

Figure A: Basket Stand

Here’s what we used to make this basket stand: 30 ft. of 1x2, 6 ft. of 3/4-in. x 3/4-in. square dowel, 6 ft. of 3/4-in. cove molding, 3/4-in. plywood, 12 x 12 x 8-in. baskets, No. 0 biscuits, wood glue, 2-in. finish nails, cherry penetrating oil finish.

Biscuit tips

A biscuit joiner is a superb tool for joining wood where it would be difficult to use nails or screws. The joint is strong, invisible and easy to create. The compressed wood biscuits expand on contact with moisture in the glue. Since the biscuits are placed in slots that are wider than the biscuit, you can adjust the joint a little after butting the two pieces together. Biscuits come in three common sizes: No. 0, No. 10 and No. 20.

Video: How to Use a Biscuit Joiner

A biscuit joiner will help you make strong, fast and accurate joints. Spike Carlsen, an expert at The Family Handyman, will show you how to use a biscuit joiner to get perfect joints.

 

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.

    • Clamps
    • Miter saw
    • Air compressor
    • Air hose
    • Brad nail gun
    • Coping saw
    • Biscuit joiner
    • Nippers
    • Framing square
    • Orbital sander
    • Safety glasses
    • Speed square
    • Paintbrush
    • Wood glue

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • 1 x 2 pine
    • 3/4" x 3/4" square dowels
    • 3/4" cove molding
    • 3/4" plywood
    • No. 0 biscuits
    • 2" finish nails
    • Cherry penetrating oil finish
    • Woven baskets

Comments from DIY Community Members

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January 08, 7:08 PM [GMT -5]

I saw this in your magazine and made three of them for Christmas presents. I made three different sizes as the baskets were different. I did make a modification, I used pocket screws instead of biscuits.

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