Sheet Material Storage Rack

Last week, I officially moved in to my new home [away from the workshop!] – and that’s no April Fools joke! All this moving around and finishing off all the niggling jobs around the house that weren’t completed have left me with the bare minimal of time to spend back at my ‘real‘ home, in the workshop. Before all this chaos started though, I did at least manage to knock together a simple storage rack for sheet materials, with a few spare hours spread out across one weekend. Yes, the workshop improvements are very much still on-going!

My new cost of living expenses mean there’s barely a penny left spare to spend on woodworking, at the moment and, to be honest, I don’t see how this situation is going to change within the next six-months… With a stack of pressure-treated 7x2in timber up in the roof space, at least I didn’t have to buy any new materials for this job. My Hitachi circular saw ripped the components down to width and, before doing anything else, I set about cutting a pair of notches on each edge, using my sliding mitre saw:

In the few years that I’ve been working with wood, I’ve never found a method for repeatedly cutting clean, accurate notches that I’ve been totally satisfied with. I tend to use my mitre saw on ‘rough’ jobs like this, purely because the finish isn’t that important. While it’s rare that I would have to cut a notch like this during the construction of an item of furniture, I probably would not look to use this tool as the results can vary significantly. The action of plunging the saw down and for each cut seems to worsen the situation, in my opinion… I have found that, if you plunge the saw only once and keep it at that level as you push back through with each cut then, the bottom of the joint will be much smoother. This is where (given the space and money!), I’d consider purchasing a radial arm saw and equipping that solely with a dado blade. Having used such a set up in a past life, I can say, with certainty, that it’s the most efficient method I’ve used for cutting trenches and the like.

But, with “the D-word” follows a long line of ifs, buts and Health & Safety legislation… Do you have a preferred method for cutting a housing, notch, trench, dado or lap joint?

Next step in this sequence was to split each length in two on the bandsaw, creating two tapered lengths; each starting at 90mm at one end, tapering down to one-third at the other:

Those longer sections are for the back supports. Four short lengths were also tapered to an angle that made the base of the stand perpendicular to the slope of the back. That way, sheets are less likely to fall forward from their resting position. I then decided that I would half-lap each of the joints together. It’s not entirely necessary but, as always when I do these things, it ensures a positive and correct location between two components when it comes to the assembly stage later. With the tapers already cut, it was simply a case of presenting the sawn (tapered) edge to the mitre saw’s fence and trenching away:

With a coat of end-seal to all those freshly-exposed surfaces, the rack assembly went together with ease. I used Titebond III (with screws) to hold it all together. Without any polyurethane-type glue in the workshop, this was the most water-resistant glue I had available.

Rather ironically, the one spare sheet I had that was long enough to span the 1200mm necessary to clad the front of the rack was a sheet of 11mm OSB, which had been hanging around for well over a year; left over from a shed-repair job where the previous chipboard and felt covering very closely resembled a broken box of sodden Weetabix! As the stand sits over around 1m tall though, this one sheet alone wasn’t wide enough to cover it in one go so, I had to rip it down in to three narrower strips, which does have the added bonus of increasing ventilation behind the sheets in storage…!


Time for a New Solution...

Yes, it really is time for me to come up with a proper solution for cutting sheet materials on sawhorses…!

It’s nice to finally have a space to store all my cut sheet materials, even if it is slightly deeper than it currently needs to be.

So, the 12in or so in behind my LS1013 is no longer wasted… As I mentioned briefly above though; it doesn’t necessarily need to be as deep as I have made it so, I have probably lost an extra 4in/100mm of floor width, because of this. Any narrow lengths of MDF or plywood will generally be stored on the wall racks above. One thing I must remember to do is to fit a capping piece to stop things from falling in behind (until I can offload it though, there’s an old sunbed on the floor behind this new rack, which you cannot currently see….). Dust is another minor concern so, unless I’m able to dramatically improve the collection from my mitre saw, I’ll just have to throw an old sheet over the board rack for now (and I do have a few going spare, now that I have safe-guarded most of my machinery from the leaking corrugated roof, thanks to the suspended floor).

Thanks for reading.

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