How to Build a Basket Stand
A full day
IntroductionThe secret to this handsome, durable basket stand is a biscuit joiner, which creates super-tough joints without metal fasteners or exposed wood dowels.
- Air compressor
- Air hose
- Biscuit joiner
- Brad nail gun
- Coping saw
- Framing square
- Miter saw
- Orbital sander
- Safety glasses
- Speed square
- 1 x 2 pine
- 2-in. finish nails
- 3/4-in. plywood
- 3/4" cove molding
- 3/4" x 3/4" square dowels
- Cherry penetrating oil finish
- No. 0 biscuits
- Wood glue
- Woven baskets
You’ve seen chests of drawers—well, here’s a “chest of baskets.” This basket stand 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 basket stand both lightweight and strong, we used biscuit joinery. 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.
It’s a clever way to join wood, and a technique you can use with many other projects. See below for biscuit joiner tips.
Project step-by-step (11)
Mark the legs
To get started, cut all the parts to length (see Cutting List). Mark the rung and crosspiece locations on the legs. Clamp all four legs together and mark them at the same time to ensure the framework is uniform and square (Photo 1).
Careful layout makes the next steps easier.
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.
Cut the biscuit slots
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).
Before proceeding to the next step, assemble each ladder in a “dry run” to make sure they fit together correctly.
Assemble the basket stand “ladders”
Apply glue to the biscuits and slots (Photo 3) and assemble each joint. Then clamp the ladders together. Work fast! You have to assemble eight joints before the glue begins to set.
You’ll build the two “ladders” that form the sides of the basket stand, then glue and nail the crosspieces to join the two ladders.
Connect the ladders
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 basket stand, then apply cove molding to cover the edges (Photo 5).
Top it off
Glue and nail the plywood top to the top of the stand, then apply cove molding to neaten up and hide the edges.
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.
Number the joints
While you’re marking the center lines of each biscuit slot, also number each joint. That will eliminate confusion and misalignments during assembly.
Make a glue injector
Spreading a neat, even bead of glue inside a biscuit slot isn’t easy. You can buy special injectors online, or make your own.
Homemade injector top
To make your own injector, modify the cap from a marker with a fine-tooth saw.
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.