Introduction: Building a "Floating" Lumber Rack

About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ex…

This lumber rack is "floating" in that each piece is attached to the wall separately and there is no main member between any of them. The benefit of this is a little bit of space savings against the wall, but also the fact that when boards are pushed all the way back, there is no way for shorter pieces to fall behind. All it takes is some 3" angle brackets and some 2x4s to make it happen. I used some scrap pieces of maple butcherblock, but these are sized exactly to be made from easy to obtain 2x4 lumber, plus the round over on that lumber will help push longer pieces on to the rack without catching the edge. Win-win!

Step 1: Tools & Materials


> 2x4s or 1.5" thick scrap wood

> 3 inch “L” bracket –

> 3 inch deck screws –

> 2 inch deck screws –

> Spaghetti (optional)

> Lumber to put on the lumber rack!


> ISOtunes bluetooth hearing protection

> Table saw

> Low pressure water jet (garden hose, also optional)

> Taper jig

> Router table

> 3/4" dado bit

> String line

> Stud finder

> Drill and driver

Step 2: Background

So I recently acquired all of this awesome wood. It's a bunch of studs reclaimed from an old row-house in Washington DC that were installed in the late 1800s. I work with reclaimed materials almost exclusively, but the major challenge is finding a place to store it all since you kind of have to grab it when you get a chance. That storage solution is not my shop floor, so I'm building a lumber rack!

This is the old lumber rack design I'm using on my other wall. It's a main 2" square member made of wood with holes drilled in it to accept conduit. This is a great cheap solution but it leaves a gap between the lumber and the wall which wastes a tiny bit of space but mainly it gives some room where smaller pieces can fall behind the rack. Mainly though I want my lumber rack to be very adaptable because I move fairly frequently and my new design will give me just that.

I drew out the design of the wood bracket to be perfect to make from short pieces of 2x4s which are easy to get free as cut-offs from job sites. I already had a bunch of small maple butcherblock cutoffs that were the perfect width though, so I just used those instead.

Step 3: Sizing the Wood Brackets

Cutting these down with a table saw or miter saw would be a pretty standard operation, but I decided to use a new tool instead. My low pressure water jet cutter (garden hose) was enough to cut these into the 3" pieces that I needed for the rack.

To cut the taper on the bottom side of the wood brackets, I just set them in the oven at 350 degrees until they're a golden brown around the edges. If you're using softwood though, that reacts to cold temperatures so you'll want to set them in the freezer for 2 days.

If you don't have that much time on your hands, a taper sled on the table saw will suffice.

Step 4: Creating the Dado

Now I want a flush surface along the back and top of the wood bracket where the metal "L" bracket will sit, so I need to create a dado in both sides. To do this, I have some really strong screw clamps that will dent the maple in the perfect place.

If you don't have that though, a router table with a 3/4" bit is a great solution. The dado on the back of the bracket goes the full length, but the dado on the top is a stopped dado that only goes long enough for the arm of the metal "L" bracket. I also cut off the sharp corner where the 2 meetup, using the table saw. This allows for the slight curve of the metal bracket to fit.

Step 5: Hanging the Metal Brackets

Now with the wood brackets all milled down to size, I can install the metal brackets in place on the wall. I use a stud finder to find all of the studs in the wall because whoever built this house was a free spirit and put the studs wherever they wanted. I first install the brackets at the extents of the lumber rack and tie a string line between those to line all of the other brackets up in a straight line.

I at first tried wet spaghetti to stick the brackets to the wall, but didn't trust the integrity of that. I ended up attaching all of them with 3" deck screws with a pair of screws into each bracket at each stud. Drywall screws are no good for this operation since they are brittle and have a chance of shearing off under such load, so stay away from those.

Step 6: Hanging the Wood Brackets

And last step is just to install all of the wooden brackets in place on the metal brackets. I found that my dados were tight enough that the wood brackets just kind of slipped right into place.

Alternatively, a couple of 2" deck screws into the top of the bracket holds it in place. As long as it's held tight to the wall in this step, it's a super sturdy fit. The strength is from the long screws into the studs and also the bottom of the bracket pushing in against the wall. I installed one into each stud to spread out the load since I'm relying partially on the drywall.

Step 7: Loading Up the Lumber Rack

Then I just need to load up the lumber rack! No lumber...


Step 8: Glamour Shots

Thanks for checking this out. For the full experience, definitely check out the build video linked in the first photo (for real). You Suck at Woodworking...


Thirsty for more? You can also find me in other places on the interwebs!

My Website: Essentially my entire life

YouTube: Me, in moving picture form

Instagram: Preview my projects as they progress #nofilter

Twitter: Riveting thoughts, in very small doses


Note: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting what I do!

Woodworking Contest

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest