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: 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.
Clip biscuits for narrow stock
The smallest common biscuits (No. 0) are almost 1-7/8 in. long. That’s too long for the 1-1/2-in. wide parts on this basket stand. But there’s an easy solution: Just clip about 1/4 in. off both ends of each biscuit. Your slots will still be too long and visible at inside corners, but a little filler and finish will hide them.
Always do a dry run
Biscuits grab fast. During glue-up, you don’t have time to correct mistakes or dig up a longer set of clamps. So always test the whole assembly—including clamps—before you get out the glue. For complicated assemblies, give yourself more working time by using slow-setting wood glue. Titebond Extend is one brand.
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.