Introduction: The Ultimate Lumber Storage Cart
If you’re into woodworking or even just own a table saw, I can bet you have a collection of scrap wood and cut offs lying around just like me. I reached a point when I could barely move around in my shop because of the various piles of wood that seem to accumulate everywhere. While getting rid of some of it would certainly be a wiser use of my time, I decided it was time to build the ultimate lumber storage cart.
There are lots of designs out there including the infamous Steve Ramsey mobile lumber cart (which definitely served as an inspiration) but none of them seemed to fit my needs, both in terms of size and lumber storage options. I came up with my ideal lumber storage cart and created the build plans from scratch which you can download from my website. Just follow the link below.
You can watch the build video, or read on!
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Step 1: Tools & Materials
The overall dimensions of the lumber cart are 5’ x 2’ x 3’. I used 2 full sheets of plywood as well as the materials below.
- (2) Sheets of 3/4 inch plywood
- (4) 2-inch caster wheels (2 with brakes) http://amzn.to/2eUYsFB
- Wood glue http://amzn.to/2jmv8wH
- 1-1/4 inch wood screws http://amzn.to/2eUlLza
- 1-1/4 inch pocket hole screws http://amzn.to/2y3MfXu
- #12 1-inch pan head screws http://amzn.to/2xwCt35
- Homemade saw guide http://www.diymontreal.com/circular-saw-guide/
- Circular saw http://amzn.to/2wprsvu
- Ridgid palm impact driver http://amzn.to/2f6A7Qz
- Table saw http://amzn.to/2y3xqUx
- Miter saw http://amzn.to/2vQbi1G
- Drill/driver http://amzn.to/2wTz3To
- Palm router http://amzn.to/2jmjkus
- Kreg jig http://amzn.to/2w6AkdO
- 3/4 inch router bit http://amzn.to/2xwBuzB
- T-square http://amzn.to/2w6Diiz
- Clamps http://amzn.to/2wZL5gZ
Step 2: Cut the Plywood
The first step is to cut down your plywood sheet into the 16 pieces you’ll need for this mobile lumber storage cart. I don’t know about you, but my SUV won’t fit a full 4x8 sheet of plywood, so I had them cut into more manageable pieces at the hardware store.
Once home, I used various cutting methods to get the pieces down to size. I followed my cutting diagram, starting with my circular saw and homemade track saw guide for the larger pieces, and eventually moved over to my table saw and miter saw for the smaller cuts.
The full cut list and plywood cutting diagram is included in the plans that are available on my website.
Step 3: Build the Side Shelves
I used dadoes to attach the side shelves to make things easier. This allowed me to easily line up the pieces when assembling. I marked evenly spaced lines with the help of a T-square, then cut 1/4 inch deep dadoes with multiple passes using my palm router and a 3/4 inch straight bit.
Before assembling the shelves, I used my mini Kreg Jig to make some pocket holes along the bottom of both side panels. This will allow me to later attach the shelves to the base.
I then applied some glue and attached the shelves with some 1-1/4 inch screws. I started by attaching all the shelves to the left side first, then did the right.
Tip: trace a line along the backside of the dado grooves so you can easily see where to put in the screws.
Step 4: Build the Center Compartment
I repeated the same process to assemble the center compartment and dividers, starting with dadoes, then assembling with glue and screws. Don’t forget to pre-drill the pocket holes along the bottom and the open side so you’ll be able to attach the compartment to the base and side shelves later.
Step 5: Assemble the Base
While I wasn’t certain it was necessary, I felt the urge to use some plywood cut-offs to strengthen the corners of the plywood base before attaching the casters.
I decided to attach the caster wheels at this time rather than at the end, after the cart was fully assembled. I knew it would be a challenge if I waited until the end to flip it over and attach the casters. I drilled some pilot holes, then used 1-inch #12 pan head screws.
Note: I used 2-inch casters rated at 90 lbs a piece. I considered going bigger given the load, but I really don’t plan on wheeling this thing around. I just want to be able to pull it out slightly if I need to get out a sheet of plywood from the back side.
Step 6: Putting It All Together
I prepped the back and front panels by making pocket holes along the sides and bottom so I could easily attach them to the base.
I laid my base wheels-down on the floor and started started by attaching the side shelving by applying some glue and screwing it to the base with pocket screws.The space was a bit tight but the pocket screws were a cinch with my new Ridgid palm impact driver.
Next I did the same for the center compartment, attaching it to both the base and the shelving on the left side. I lastly finished off with the front and back panels.
I love how versatile this lumber storage cart is. It has both vertical and horizontal storage for boards, a slot in the back for large sheet goods, and my favorite part, a nook in the front that can be used for small cut-offs or panel storage. Time to load it up, and while I’m at it, perhaps I’ll consider getting rid of some scraps! Or not.