Make a rolling lumber cart

Make a rolling lumber cart

This week I finally decided to do something about the less-than-adequate storage system I have been using for my lumber. The biggest problem for me has been finding a good way to store plywood and other sheet goods.

Most of us rarely need to store a full sheet of plywood. I buy sheet goods to meet the requirements of whatever project I am building and use them right away. At most, I may need to store them for a day or two, in which case I just lean them against a wall or — if it’s not raining — simply leave them in my truck.

Sometimes I don’t use all of the sheet however, so what I needed was a way to store a half-sheet or so. This lumber cart solves much of my storage problems, and after building it I discovered that it holds a lot more wood than my old rack and takes up less space.

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Building plans:

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Update: Thanks Fabian V. Valinskas for drawing out a cutting diagram!

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52 COMMENTS

  1. Disregard those two previous comments…. it will take “3” sheets of plywood. I missed a sheet when before I printed out the solution

  2. Here is a tip used by many roofers!

    Carrying a full sheet of plywood up and down a ladder is easy and safe if you use a C-Clamp attached to the edge of the plywood sheet as a carrying handle. You can carry the entire sheet with only one hand, and still have a free hand to climb up and down the ladder easily and safely.

    Of course… just throwing the sheet of plywood down from a high place is much more fun, unless it catches the wind and crashes into your ladder knocking it down leaving you stranded on a high place.

  3. (English)Thank’s, great vid. How did you film the “up” vids ? Did you attach your video recorder on a wall ?
    (French) Merci, super vidéo. Comment fais-tu pour filmer les plans vidéo en hauteur. Attaches-tu la caméra sur un mur ?
    From france. Yannick (yanouk-design.fr).

  4. Great project Steve! I have been procrastinating building a wood storage bin for a long time. You came up with a nice simple design that inspired me to put this project on the top of my list of things to build.
    Thanks LJ Will

  5. Great project Steve!

    Oh let’s poke the Safety Police with a pointy stick again, eh? 🙂 Let’s see:

    1. Step ladder safety. Oh no!
    2. Getting the work into your truck: back injury potential. Oh no!
    3. Getting the work out of your truck: it could have fallen on you. Oh no!
    4. Using power tools. Well that’s automatically dangerous. Oh no!

    Face it Steve, you will have to wrap yourself in bubble wrap and curl up in corner to keep the Safety Police happy.

  6. Great video as always, Steve.

    One suggestion: just drill the holes for screws from inside the dadoes. Then you don’t have to use the square to draw a line on the other side. I learned that from Norm Abrams.

  7. Great project Steve.
    I’ve been watching your videos for a while now and there are a few items that I am got to try to build as soon as I get room in my shop/garage/winter green house/ storage for everything else.
    I want to build the wood cart, the mallet, the clamp storage, the router lift and router table.
    Right now I’m having to by necessity build a place for my table saw, my miter saw, and my router all in one.
    I’m a scrounger, a while back one of my neighbors were throwing out a wooden bunkbed set. Well I picked it up and now instead of it just taking up garage space it will now be repurposed into something very useful to me. I will have lots of storage under where I can store blades and other items for those tools. I’m also going to try and make a shoot for dust collection in the center below my table saw so that I can build a box to catch all of the dust for all three machines. I’m going to be using a box to catch the saw dust cause I want to use it in my composting for my garden. I will send pictures when I get every thing together if it turns out half as nice as your stuff.
    I’m just getting into wood working since I’m a stay at home dad now since my medical retirement last January. I’ve always been interested in woodworking since I was very young due to my dad. He built the house that I grew up in and my mother is still living in now 35+years later. I have an okay understanding of joints and all and time really taking my time to make it right especially since I have no plans or anything I’m improvising as I go. We will see how it turns out and hopefully I can make tue top to all of this one solid flat piece from lots of smaller one glued together like a butcher’s block top.

  8. I have never done it nor seen it done but can one tilt a dado stack to 5 degrees off 0 or 90 to accommodate the shelves? Or use a shim on the base of the router? Seems the tilted dado would be easier and safer than a router as long as tilting a dado stack is safe. Any comments on the safety of this technique?
    Great build, by the way. I need a shorts and plywood bin as well.

  9. Hello, I’m from Brazil and my name is Mauro Martorelli, I met your blog through the blog of Mathias,’m setdesigner and manufacture furniture and wooden toys as a hobby, and your tips maid motivated me to work something out in my workshop. Well also have junk stored for years so I always say I’ll use one day. Finally I just ended up throwing away tons of wood and bagulhos out. Good luck and good work always.

  10. Thanks, Steve. I hope to be building my new workshop in a month or two and with this one now I’ll probably have 3 or 4 pieces from your show in my shop.

  11. I’ve been looking around at various plans on the web for such a cart. Your design is ideal for my shop. Thanks Steve.

  12. I live in Thailand and started the woodworking hobby. I enjoy learning from your video. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Steve, your videos are excellent. You provide a great combination of education and entertainment. I went back and watched your first video and while it wasn’t bad, you have really improved. As for all of the fearmongers, I enjoy your replies to their worries. They can stay afraid while the rest of us enjoy ourselves getting something done.

  14. This looks similar to a design on pare 451 of ” The Complete Book of Woodworking” cr 2001 North American Affinity Clubs I pick up at Home Depot.

  15. I made a similar one of these since (stop me if you’ve heard this before) my garage workshop is too small! Anyway, I’ve found that it’s great for it’s purpose…but it’s mobility is severely lacking. Load that thing up and I need someone to help me move it!

  16. I just finished mine, thanks very much for the plans and instructional video. I made a few small changes to use only 2 sheets:
    – The strengthening strips were cut (3x)3″ x 48″, halve one.
    – Reduce shelves to 3
    – Reduce bins to 3, one double width.
    – Use left-over strip to close off at bottom of bins , use bungee cords to stabilise top of long goods.

  17. Hi, Steve! Good job! I intend to make one lumber cart like that, but I would suggest the measures in metrics, also. Don’t forget your vídeos are seen all around the world and one big part of it works in metrics.
    Keep going!
    Mario

  18. Hi Steve,

    Might I suggest that you continue to work in your native measurement as I am sure you are more familiar with Imperial measurements than Metric. Anyone with a tape measure can use both measuring systems, as anyone with a brain can use the internet to transpose Imperial to Metric or even simply look at the other side of the tape.

    But, sarcasm aside, I like this lumber rack quite a lot. I intend to make one when I have some more spare cash to be able to buy 3 sheets of plywood.

    Thanks,

    Darren.

  19. Hi, Steve, Kink Jarfold here! I have no idea how to do a signature so excuse the Anonymous. This project freed up so much space in my half of a garage workshop (2 car garage and my dogs have one half). One of the best projects I’ve done. I used 3/8″ ply with biscuits and casters. I posted a picture on your site and got several nice comments. I really enjoy your videos.

  20. I stumbled onto this site yesterday and built this lumber cart with left over wood today. Nice design and thank you for the video, it helped a lot.

  21. Great project. Finished this project this afternoon and my wood finally has a home. Thanks for the great ideas. Your website is very inspiring.

  22. I don’t have much router experience, but have my beloved Kreg jig down pat. Can this be built with similar results using the jig instead?

  23. I do not have much experience using a router, but I do with the Kreg jig. Any reason this could not be built using the Kreg joiner method? My poor garage is desperate for a lumber cart just like this!

  24. Steve,
    Thanks for the lumber storage plans. This was just what I was looking for. Built it yesterday with no issue thanks to your plan and cultist. Again a big thanks for providing the plans.

  25. Bones here. Like others I tried to think of a way to reduce the materials list, but I want it to take shop abuse so decided to go with the 3-sheet deal even though it’s pricey. To lessen shelves or bins can actually defeat the purpose. I watch your videos often – great stuff.

  26. Steve,

    Love the project. And it makes sense to me not to build an 8′ monster lumber rack for my garage shop. But, I didn’t like the idea that the first thing on the rack would be the 1/2 sheet of plywood left over from building the rack. So I took your idea one step further. By making the rack 6″ shorter (42″ tall), 3″ narrower (45″ wide), and having only 3 bins, I made the rack out of 2 sheets of plywood with almost no waste.

    With the rack 6″ shorter, I could get 2 ea bin dividers off of the end of each sheet of ply.
    With the rack 3″ narrower, I could get a 3″ x 7′ piece along the edge of each sheet. These became the 4 extra reinforcing pieces around the bottom of the base with about a foot left over from each piece.
    Everything else was cut from the remaining 45″ x 7′ pieces with only a couple of narrow strips of waste.

  27. Awesome! This is a great beginner project. Thank you for posting this. I just finished mine from your plans, only differences are I used 1/2″ plywood and 2×6 treated pine for the base supports and I routed the a dado in the base for the slanted section and routed dados in the slanted section for the shelves . Here’s a pic https://i.imgur.com/5CXTS4Q.jpg
    All my lumber and plywood is now off the ground and the wife can now park in the garage! Huge!

  28. Steve,
    Did you use an undersize (plywood cutting) router bit for the 3/4 inch dado, or just put up with the loose fit

  29. I can’t get the sketchup file to open with Google Chrome. That seems strange because Chrome and my PC are state-of-the-art. Is anyone else having this problem? Thanks kindly, Ron

  30. Someone gave me a free sheet of MDF, which I planned to use as one of my 3 sheets for this project (saving money so I only have to purchase 2 sheets of plywood). Which pieces would you recommend using the MDF for? I was thinking the two larger upright pieces (supply sheet 1 from the cut diagram).

  31. This is similar to one that I just built from a plan by Plansnow.com except mine is 8′ length and you’re is so much cleaner. The plan I used had symmetric tower requiring taper cuts on the inside of the bin dividers and used a quarter-radius for the divider relief at the top. After jig-sawing six of those, barrel sanding one to shape, and then flush-trimming the other five on the router table, I thought to myself, “Next time, I’m doing a straight miter!” Figures that Steve would be way ahead of me.

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