I am a keen DIY person, and I particularly hate to discard plywood that is surplus to a project, considering not only the wood, but also the oil products and energy used to make it, and the impact this may have on our environment. Often, using a surplus piece saves me the cost of buying a whole new sheet.
The first photograph shows the ‘Before’ version of where I store my surplus plywood. Pieces cannot be stacked on top of each other, nor can shorter pieces be placed end-to-end, as they would be impossible to retrieve.
Seeing the Skinny Laundry Room Cart idea in The Family Handyman’s May 2012 issue gave me inspiration. I built a skinny storage cart that would fit between my workshop base units and the wall.
I used furring strips to make the main frame. These are typically used for drywall repair and measure about 3/4 in. x 1-1/2 in. They are very inexpensive, about 85 cents for an 8-ft. length. They do not always come up to exact size and are sometimes bowed, but are adequate for this job.
The most expensive items in the project were the fixed casters. I used industrial quality, at about $5 each, since plywood can be heavy, but these could be purchased for less.
The internal length of the unit is 6 ft. 2 in., so a 6-ft. panel has a little wiggle room, and the internal width is 2-1/2 in.—still enough for five layers of 1/2-in. plywood. I cut odd-shape surplus pieces into rectangles for storage, as this makes them easier to load, and the chances of using the odd shapes are slim, anyway.
I faced one internal side of the unit and the base with hardboard left over from a previous project to make it easier to slide panels in and to stop smaller pieces from falling out.
When loading the unit, I put smaller pieces in first and larger ones after, to create a ‘sandwich’ effect. I did attach brackets to which bungee cords could be fastened to further stabilize the load, but these are not often needed.
Although I designed the unit with plywood in mind, it can be used for anything that has parallel sides, including drywall panels, hardboard, sheet metal and lumber. — John White