Henry Ford once said “Failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Or something close to it. I’ve seen several different versions of the quote so I’m not sure which one is the original. Never the less, my plywood storage rack from a few weeks ago was a failure.
The reason why I built my last plywood rack the way I did was at first glance it was the most efficient use of space to store plywood. But after using it a few times I realized two problems that outweighed the space efficiency. First, it actually took up way more than 4′ of wall space. With the sheet goods in the rack four feet of wall space is taken up. Then when a sheet is pulled out it doubles the wall space to eight feet. Once removed from the rack the sheet needs to be rotated 90 degrees to clear my garage door which makes the effected wall space a total of twelve feet. The second problem, and most annoying, was the difficulty of picking up a full sheet of plywood and rotating it 90 degrees to clear my garage door.
The solution is a rolling plywood cart that stores full sheets horizontally. This would allow me to roll the entire cart to my truck for easier unloading and it would also allow the sheets to be picked directly off the cart while only taking up eight feet of wall space. After searching online for ideas I used SketchUp to design a cart only to find out that what I designed was very similar to the plywood cart in issue 205 of Wood Magazine. So to make things a little easier I just used their plan.
Any time I’m making a lot of cuts at my miter saw station I always like to pin the cut list right next to the saw.
For the front to back pieces of the lower frame eight pieces of 2×4 are needed at fifteen inches long.
Once the structure is complete four support blocks on the back edge will support a full sheet so a circular saw and guide track can be used. These blocks are cut next.
And finally five 2×4 boards at 94-1/2” long are needed for the upper supports and the back piece of the frame.
When possible I like to cut all of my lumber before I start assembly. This makes the assembly process go by much faster. Especially when both me and myself are working.
The joinery is simple butt joints with 2-1/2” screws. I didn’t use glue on the lower frame as it will be plenty strong enough without it.
The front side of the frame is a full eight foot piece of 2×6. Very seldom do projects call for a full length board picked up off the shelf. The extra height in the front will aid in preventing the plywood from sliding forward and falling off of the cart.
Again, no glue. Just regular butt joints and 2-1/2” screws. Predrilling for all of your screws is a good habit to get into. This will prevent the boards from splitting when working with dried lumber.
I’m really happy with the casters I used for this project. I have no clue what brand they are but they are 4” swivel casters I picked up from Lowes for about $10 each. Before installing them I let them sit upside down and I filled the inside of the bearing housing with a dust resistant Teflon spray lubricant. I let the spray dry before installing and the difference it makes is amazing.
With the lower frame complete I cut the plywood panels to size. I used 3/4” PureBond hardwood plywood from Home Depot for this. It’s formaldehyde free and made in the USA which are both things I love. These were actually the pieces I removed when I re-did my Paulk workbench.
After ripping the plywood to the final width I used my miter saw to cut them to length. Since having a proper miter saw station I have yet to use a crosscut sled on my table saw. It’s nice to have a reliable station for crosscutting.
The plans from Wood Magazine provide all of the dimensions for the panels and notches. I transferred all the dimensions to just one of the three panels.
A circular saw can be used to cut all three panels at the same time while referencing off the single marked panel. The amount of dust that this circular saw spews everywhere is incredibly annoying.
With all three panels cut two can be removed and the notches for the center panel can be made. These notches are all sized for the 2×4 boards that will run horizontally and provide lateral support.
The outside panels can be installed first. To make this easier I clamped my twelve inch speed square to the panel to act as a reference edge. If you’ve been following my builds for a while you will know I love using this large speed square. It’s incredibly handy as you will see again in just a minute. This made installing the side panels super easy. I used glue and some 1-1/4” screws to secure them.
With the side panels installed the center panel and the horizontal 2×4’s can be installed. For the time being I held the center panel in place by clamping the speed square to it to act as a foot. The 2×4’s are secured with 2-1/2” screws through the outer panels.
There are a total of four horizontal 2×4’s for lateral support. Three in the front and one in the back. The back area also doubles as a storage location for plywood off-cuts.
The center panel is positioned 50” from one side and is secured with two screws through each horizontal 2×4 board. This allows a full 48” wide off-cut to be stored in the back when necessary.
Finally the blocks can be added to the back of the lower frame. These allow a full sheet of plywood to be clamped to the back of the cart and broken down with a circular saw and a guide track.
With the cart completed I dismantled the previous rack and loaded it up. Having all of my plywood sheets and off-cuts stored in one rolling cart seems to be working out great. I really like the fact that I can roll this wherever I need to reduce the distance I need to carry sheet goods whether it’s loading the cart up or taking a sheet to the table saw.
For the free PDF plan provided by Wood Magazine click here to open it in a new tab or right click and select “save as” to download it to your computer. Even if you don’t use the plan provided I hope that you are able to get some ideas form this project and learn from my mistake. Sometimes the idea that looks sounds the best on paper isn’t the best in practice. Thanks for stopping by folks and I’ll talk to you again in a few days.