The Shelving I built for Storing Wood

Topics Covered
1. Problem
2. Solution
3. Abbreviations used
4. Steps for Building
5. Vertical Members (VMAs) (step 1)
6. Horizontal Shelving Arms (HSAs) (step 2)
7. Vertical Blocking (VB) Between Horizontal Shelving Arms (step 3)
8. Wall mounted Horizontal Shelving Arms (WMHSAs) (step 4)
9. Wall Mounted Faceplate Support (WMFPS) (step 5)
10. Faceplate 1 x 4s for Horizontal Shelving Arms (step 6)
11. Flooring for Horizontal Shelving Arms (FHSAs) (step 7)
12. Structural Strength
13. Material Costs
14. Closing Thoughts
15. Related Links

If you are in need of a means to store your wood more efficiently, I know I was. Well, what follows here is how I tackled this Issue. Which to be blunt was getting way out of hand. Let me show you what I am talking about. Photo 1 shows the wood dilemma in my shop. What a mess. 1_DSC04285 Photo 1

In addition, pictured below is a SketchUp drawing of what I built to get storage of my
wood under control (hopefully).

SKETCH #1 PHOTO Sketch 1

Clicking on the link below will enable you to download from the 3D Warehouse the above Sketch 1. The SketchUp file also includes additional scenes which breakdown the steps for building the wood storage shelving shown.

Storage Shelving for Woodshop Wood – 3D Warehouse

After looking at various storage schemes, Sketch 1 shows what I decided to go with. It is not the cheapest to build. It is not the quickest to build. And, it is not the simplest to build, but it is rock solid and that clinched the decision for me.

Abbreviations Used
FHSA —– Flooring for Horizontal Shelving Arms
FP ——— Faceplate
HSA —–– Horizontal Shelving Arm
VB ——— Vertical Blocking
VMA –—– Vertical Member Assembly
WMHSA – Wall Mounted Horizontal Shelving Arm
WMFPS – Wall Mounted Faceplate Support

Steps for Building
The basic steps for building this wood storage rack system are as follows:
Step 1 — Build the VMAs and fasten to wall studs.
Step 2 — Cut the HSA 2 x 4s to length and fasten to VMA (referenced in Step 1 above).

Step 3 – Install 2 x 4 wood VBs above and below HSAs. I will expand on what I am talking
about later (just want to give an overview right now).

Step 4 – Install WMHSAs
Step 5 – Install WMFPSs
Step 6 – Install FP on ends of HSAs
Step 7 – Install FHSAs

For all pilot and clearance holes drilled for screws used on this project, I drilled first 1/8” diameter pilot holes and then drilled 11/64” diameter clearance holes (for the first wood member that the screws would penetrate).

Vertical Member Assembly (VMA) (step 1)
Each VMA consists of two 2 x 4s (each 2 x 4 is 92-5/8” in length) and three 2 x 4 spacers (each one 3-1/2” in length) positioned as shown in photo 2. Plan is to fasten a VMA to each wall stud. For the area I am working, I have five wall studs and plan to place a VMA on each wall stud.

2_DSC04402 Photo 2

Notes for photo 2:
Note 1 – Spacer block (2 x 4, 3-1/2” in length) between two 92-5/8” length 2 x 4s.

Note 2 – The vertical members (92-5/8” length 2 x 4s) shown will be mounted vertically
on wall.

Note 3 – Bottom end (floor end) of 2 x 4 has a 3-3/4” x 1” notch cut in it to clear the floor
baseboard. This note applies to both 2 x 4s shown in photo 2.

Note 4 – Shown inside the square here are four screws, and each screw is 4” in length.
Install the four screws in a square shape pattern.

Note 5 – Shown inside the square here are four screws, and each screw is 4” in length.
Install the four screws in a diamond shape pattern.

Note 6 – Install screws (each screw being 4” in length) in a diamond shape pattern, so as
not to interfere with the four screws installed in a square pattern on the other
side here.

Note 7 – Install screws (each screw being 4” in length) in a square shape pattern, so as
not to interfere with the four screws installed in a diamond pattern on the other
side here.

The following photos and verbiage cover construction and installation of the VMA.

3_DSC04371 Photo 3

In photo 3, a drill press vise is being used to hold the spacer block stationary. A counterbore and clearance hole is then drilled in the spacer block. For the counterbore, I drilled a 3/8” dia. x 1-7/8” deep hole. And, for the clearance hole, I drilled an 11/64” dia. hole thru the rest of the spacer block. A 4” length wood screw will be run thru each spacer block (three spacer blocks for each VMA) and then screwed into the wall stud. Refer back to photo 2 for the location of the three-spacer blocks on the VMA.

4_DSC04291P Photo 4

Photo 4 shows one of the VMA 2 x 4s (floor end) marked with pencil lines to indicate the location of the required notch to clear the wall baseboard. I used a jig saw to cut the notches.


Photo 5

I used a level (48” length), shown in photo 5, to draw a vertical line down the center of each wall stud. And, each VMA will then be centered on each wall stud.


Photo 6

The five VMAs are shown in photo 6. In addition, the following notes provide additional info:

Notes for Photo 6
Note 1 – This note points to VMA “1” and the other four VMA are shown labeled “2”
thru “5.”

Note 2 – Shown here is a strip of OSB (1/2” thickness) which I temporarily fastened to
my OSB wall with 1” brad nails. I positioned the edge of the OSB strip to line up
with the edge of VMA “2.” Moreover, I identified the edge of the VMA with a
penciled line. Next, I fasten the VMA to the wall stud with a 4” screw at each of
the three-spacer blocks, which are a part of each VMA. And, I repeated this
process for all five VMAs shown. The temporary OSB strip proved very helpful in
keeping the VMA positioned properly while fastening each VMA to its associated
wall stud.

Note 3 – I used the strip of OSB (3/4” thickness) shown here to help hold the VMA in
place while fastening the VMA to its associated wall stud. Brad nails (1-1/2”
length) were used to fasten the strip of OSB to the VMA adjacent to the VMA
being installed. I temporarily used this strip of OSB for each VMA installed.

Horizontal Shelving Arms (HSA) (step 2)
For the HSAs, I used 18-3/4” length 2 x 4s. The plan is to construct five shelves. And, I used the chop saw setup shown in photo 7 to cut the HSAs.

Photo 7

Installing First Horizontal Shelving Arm (HSA)
With the HSA clamped in place (as shown in photo 8), I fastened the HSA to the VMA with 4” length screws. I used four 4” length screws on each side of the VMA.

8_DSC04458P Photo 8

Notes for Photo 8
Note 1 – HSA (Horizontal shelving arm)
Note 2 – Level is used to ensure that each HSA is level.

Note 3 – This is the jig used to mark the locations for drilling and installing the 4” screws
that fasten the VMA and the HSA together. On one side of each VMA, the holes
were drilled in a square shaped pattern and in a diamond shaped pattern on the
other side of each VMA.

Note 4 – Enclosed here are the four holes drilled in a square shaped pattern on one side
of each VMA. Dimensional data for the drilled holes shown is given in
Sketch 2 below.

Note 5 – Enclosed here are the four holes drilled in a diamond shaped pattern, which will
be drilled on the other side of each VMA. Sketch 2 below gives dimensional data
for the drilled holes.

Note 6 — The “F” style clamp presses the two 2 x 4s toward one another which helps keep
the HSA from moving during the drilling and screwing steps.

Sketch 2

Clicking on the link below will enable you to download from the 3D Warehouse the above Sketch 2.

Hole Drilling Jig – 3D Warehouse

Regarding installing each HSA, I tapered (with a belt sander) the end of each HSA 2 x 4 as shown in photo 9. Tapering the end of each HSA made installing each HSA easier, since it was sometimes a tight fit between the two outside 2 x 4s making up each VMA.


Photo 9

Installing the Rest of the HSAs for Each Row
Photo 10 and associated notes show how I ensured that all HSAs were level and coplanar with one another.


Photo 10

Notes for Photo 10
Note 1 – Shown here is the first HSA installed.

Note 2 – I fastened these two 6-ft-long 1 x 4s together at a right angle to one another. For
fasteners, I used nine #9 x 2-1/2” deck screws spaced 8-1/2” apart to fasten the
two 1 x 4s together; the spacing of screws started at 2” from each end of the 1 x 4

Note 3 – First, I leveled the 48”-length level shown on the 1 x 4. With the level now level,
I next brad nailed the 1 x 4 shown to each VMA with two 1-1/2” brad nails. Last,
I fastened the 1 x 4 to each VMA with two #9 x 2-1/2” deck screws. I used both
brad nails and then deck screws to ensure that the two assembled 1 x 4s do not
move during installation of the other four HSAs for the row being worked.

Note 4 – Two #9 x 2-1/2” deck screws used to secure 1 x 4 shown to VMA behind the
1 x 4. This fastening method was used for all five VMAs shown here.

In photo 10, I installed the top five HSAs first and then worked my way down to the floor, installing one row of HSAs at a time. I like having the area below me clear for installing the next row of HSAs.

In addition to what is shown in Photo 10, I used the two levels shown in photo 11, to keep the five HSAs of each row coplanar with one another.   The yellow level was used to ensure that each HSA was level; the silver level was used to ensure that all five HSAs for each row were coplanar with one another, and the clamp shown was used to secure each HSA during the leveling process.


Photo 11

To ensure that the fronts of all five HSAs were coplanar with one another on each row, I used the setup shown in photo12.


Photo 12

Notes for Photo 12
Note 1 – Shown is a clamp and a scrap piece of wood for level to rest on.

Note 2 – Place level as shown to ensure that the ends of HSAs are coplanar with
one another.

Vertical Blocking (VB) Between Horizontal Shelving Arms (HSAs) (step 3)
To beef up the support of the HSAs, I added the VB shown in photo 13. Now this step of adding VB between the HSAs is arguably not required, but I tend to be an overkill type of guy. Therefore, I built my wood storage system with the VB shown in photo 13.


Photo 13

Notes for Photo 13
Note 1 – Using two hammers as shown simplified installing the VB (helped to keep the
VB from getting jammed).

Note 2 – Spacer Block (part of VMA)   To help with installing the VB, I used my disc
sander to taper two of the sides of each VB as shown in photo 14. The tapered
side of the VB was then inserted first into the VMA opening between the HSAs.

Photo 14

To insure a tight fit for each VB installed, I measured the opening for each VB installed. Each VB (in a perfect world) should be 13” in length. What I liked doing was to cut the VB to 15” in length, and then measure the VB required by placing it between the two HSAs it would be placed between.

Using the method shown below for measuring and cutting the VB was a two-step process. The first cut got me close, since the board was at a slight angle when measured for the length. Next, I sneaked up on the required length; as I recall on the second (and maybe a third cut), I removed at most a chop saw blade width (or less) worth of length from the VB board and then checked to see if the VB board length was good to go.

Photo 15

To fasten the VB to the VMA, I used three 4” screws as shown in the following photo 16. And, three 4” screws were also used on the other side of the VMA. The three screws on one side of the VMA were offset (by about an inch) from the three screws on the other side of the VMA.



Notes for Photo 16
Note 1 – Locate screw below HSA by approximately 1-1/2”, and locate screw on other side
of VMA below HSA by approximately 2-1/2”.

Note 2 — Locate screw above HSA by approximately 1-1/2”, and locate screw on other side
of VMA above HSA by approximately 2-1/2”.

Note 3 – Locate screw approximately 5/8” from the face of the VMA.

Note 4 – Position screw approximately 6-1/2” below HSA, and position screw on other
side of VMA below HSA by approximately 7-1/2”.

Note 5 – Position screw approximately 1-3/4” from the face of the VMA.

Wall mounted Horizontal Shelving Arms (WMHSAs) (step 4)
I used a partial piece of 3/4” OSB, a scrap piece of wood, and a level as shown in photo 17 to position the WMHSA coplanar with the other HSAs.


Photo 17

Notes for Photo 17
Note 1 – Level (48” length) positioned as shown to ensure that end of WMHSA was
aligned coplanar with ends of HSAs.

Note 2 – Shown here is a simple jig (also shown in Sketch 3) consisting of two pieces of
3/4” OSB that I nailed together with three #6d finishing nails. The level shown
rested on the bottom part of the jig as shown, and the top part of the jig was
temporarily fastened to the left side of the HSA with two 1-1/2” brad nails.

Dimensions for the OSB shown below the level are 3/4” x 1-11/16” x 8-3/16”, and dimensions for the OSB shown on the left side of the HSA are 3/4” x 3-1/2” x 4”.


Sketch 3

Clicking on the link below will enable you to download from the 3D Warehouse the above Sketch 3.

HSAsCoplanar – 3D Warehouse

Note 3 — The clamp shown was used to lightly clamp the level to the backside of the jig
(referenced in Note 2 above), which is on the left side of the HSA.

Note 4 – To keep the WMHSA top coplanar with the HSAs, I placed a scrap piece of OSB,
dimensions 3/4” x 16” x 33-3/4”, on top of two adjacent HSAs as shown in the
photo above.

Note 5 – I used the clamp shown here to secure this end of the OSB.

Note 6 – This scrap piece of wood (5/8” x 5” x 18”) was used to secure this end of the
OSB while the WMHSA was being installed. I used four 1-3/16” brad nails to
secure this piece of wood in place temporarily, while installing the WMHSA.

Note 7 – First, I positioned and secured the WMHSA (1-1/2” X 3-1/2” X 18-3/4”) in place
with nine 2” length brad nails. With the WMHSA brad nailed in place, I next
used four 4” length screws to finalize the securing of the WMHSA to the wall
studs. At each of the two wall studs behind the WMHSA, I screwed in two 4”
screws (one screw 1” below the top of the WMHSA and the other 4” screw 1”
above the bottom of the WMHSA).

Wall Mounted Face Plate Support (WMFPS) (step 5)
The “spacer” and “fence” shown in photo 18 are temporarily brad nailed in place with 1-1/2” length brads. Two brads are used to fasten the “spacer” to the WMHSA, and two brads are then used to fasten the “fence” to the “spacer” shown.


Photo 18

In photo 18, I used a clamp to hold the WMFPS up against the WMHSA. Next, I brad nailed the WMFPS to the wall with nine 2” length brads. Then drilled and screwed in four 4” screws. Position the brad nails and screws (center the screws on wall studs) as shown in photo 19.


Photo 19

Remove the “fence” and “spacer” shown in photo 19, after installing the brads and screws in the WMFPS.

Faceplate (FP) 1×4 for Horizontal Shelving Arms (HSAs) (step 6)
Measure with a steel tape the length required for the FP for each shelving row. Unless your walls are perfect (mine are not), the required length can vary from shelving row to shelving row.

Flip the FP to see which way works best up against the ends of the HSAs, since 1 x 4 FPs will probably have some bow (unless the 1 x 4s are perfect, mine were not).

Handle bowing by clamping 1 x 4 FP coplanar with HSA or HSAs that FP is not coplanar with (as shown in photo 20).


Photo 20

Next, fasten FP to each HSA with first a 1-1/2” brad nail and then two 2-1/2” length screws (I used drywall screws), as shown in photo 21.


Photo 21

Flooring for Horizontal Shelving Arms (FHSAs) (step 6)
Almost finished, getting close.

For the FHSAs, I used OSB (7/16” x 16” x a length that will vary—as discussed in the next paragraph).

Since walls are typically not perfectly square, you will find it best to measure across both the front and back of each row of shelving. Next, take the smaller of the two dimensions just measured. Subtract 1/4” from the smaller of the two dimensions just measured, and cut the shelving (I used a circular saw). The 1/4” subtraction gives you some wiggle room; it makes installing the FHSAs so much easier.

Once the FHSAs are in place, I fastened the flooring to each HSA (and to each WMHSA) with 1-1/2” length brad nails (three brads per each HSA and WMHSA). One brad was centered on width of FHSAs and the other two brads were positioned approximately 1” from each edge of the FHSAs.

Structural Strength
The structural engineer in the office where I work looked at my design, and he said it would work. And, that was before I decided to add the faceplates (FPs). I thought adding the FPs would cut down on the HSAs being totally cantilevered and therefore result in a stronger shelving system. However, the only benefit to having the FPs, according to our structural engineer, was for resisting lateral movement of the HSAs. However, I think the FPs give the shelving a more finished look.

Before building this wood storage shelving, I built a mockup of one of the HSAs; and next, I did a load test (180 pounds) by standing on the HSA (the HSA shown is clamped to the leg of my workbench) shown in photo 22. The HSA mockup passed this load test, easily. In addition, the load (wood loaded on shelving) is going to be distributed over five HSAs and two WMHSAs, and this in turn means the load per HSA (or WMHSA) will be 1/7th of the total wood load.


Photo 22

Chart 1 below shows the dimensions for computing the maximum volume (in cu. ft.) that I can possibly place on any given shelf. The top shelf could hold a larger volume of wood, but I really do not anticipate stacking wood higher than the 12.5” shown for the other shelves.



Chart 2 below shows wood stacking load values on a shelf for nine wood types.


Material Costs

A breakdown of the material costs (let’s say $201) is given in the following table labeled “Material Costs.”



Closing Thoughts
Glad to have a place where I can organize storage of my wood. Now I can more easily keep track of what wood I have on hand. Glad I took the time to build it.

Now the shelving cannot be shifted up or down later, but personally, I do not see myself wanting to shift the shelving later on. Hope I do not have to eat those words.

Oh, here is a photo (photo 23) of the finished product, which includes wood that I currently have stacked on the shelves.


Photo 23

Until next time, Take care

Related Links:
1. Download | SketchUp
3. Engineer Shelves With The Sagulator – Fine Woodworking Article
4. Wood Strength