Lumber Storage Cart




    Hello Instructable World. Here's my first Instructable, be gentle. 

    My very small garage/workshop has became cluttered with tools, camping gear and wood that I like to have on hand for projects. I need to get it in control. I have this old cart from when Hills(The Anti-Inflation Department Store) went out of business. I think it would be a great lumber storage cart, just add shelves. I've made some other shelves out of 2x3's and 2x4s, but my design seems wanky. The cart is going to store lumber from 1x3's to 2x6's and have an area for a couple 4x8 sheets of plywood or Masonite. I'm certainly not a carpenter, as I'm reminded when my friends poke fun of my shelves, so I want to "level up" my skill a bit.

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Step 1: Tools & Materials

    The materials used can be whatever you have on hand. I bought the 2x3's, but had everything else. A cart could be any one you already own that will hold the weight of how much lumber you want to store. Cart's like mine can be had for $75 to $150 on craigslist, or the local flea market, industrial auction, etc. I'm not going to give specific sizes, as your cart will most likely be different and your materials will vary, too. The tools are all basic hand tools that most homeowners own. Feel free to use whatever you have that gets the job done safely.

1"x3"x8'                        -1 piece
2"x3"x8'                        - 8 pieces
19"x33"x3/8" plywood-1 piece
4'x8'x3/16" Masonite - 4 sheets
3" Drywall Screws     -1 pound
1" Drywall Screws     -.25 pound
1.5" angle brackets   -8 brackets
Clothesline                 -10 feet 
.25" Heat Shrink         -6 inches
Wood Glue                 - 1 tube

Step 2: Handle on the Move

    The cart handle is of the slip in and out removable type. It will be in the way of the shelf so it's gotta go. This is going to be relocated to the side and be used to hold the plywood sheets onto the cart. If your cart doesn't have a movable handle you could nail on a 2x3 or an old bed frame for a lip and use clothesline to secure it.

   The handle holders came off with a socket. I used all of the existing hardware to remount it in the middle of the cart.

Step 3: Shelf Design

    This is where I beat my head on the wall a bit. I couldn't decide how to design the shelves in a way that would resist the plywood that would be leaning against it. I decided to make it from 2 "walls" connected in the middle to form the shelf and skinned with Masonite for stability. All joints will get wood glue for added piece of mind.  As much as I wanted to make a 4 foot high shelf, I think it would be so narrow that it would be wanky at that height. Plus, the cart could get top heavy and potentially dangerous. The cart is 27 inches wide, 54 inches long. I laid some lumber on it and held up a 4x4 piece of Masonite to get an idea of how it would all sit. I decided to make my shelves 20 inches wide, leaving 7 for the ply. It'll store 8 foot pieces of lumber, no problem. The height will be 3 feet, which will make the top shelf 4 feet from Earth.

    As I was making the cuts for my cut list, I had the saw set up on the cart and it gave me an idea. The top shelf of the cart will also be the new home for the saw.

Step 4: Screw It!

    Remember when I said that I wasn't a Carp, here's where I prove it, heh. I framed two walls with just one stud in the middle, instead of two. Since I only had 8 angle brackets, I made the middle shelf supports go the entire width of the shelf.The ends supports got the angle brackets. After I had the skeleton finished, I noticed it was just a hair out of square. I beat it and beat it like a red headed stepkid to no avail. It feels pretty solid and that makes me happy. I put the saw on top to see if it's too high to use. Nope. I like it. 

Step 5: Skinning the Shelves

    The Masonite I used only because I had it. I would have probably bought the thinnest plywood if needed. My original plan was to cut a piece for each side and call it done. But, after I skinned the shelves I noticed what a waste of space there was in the "wall". I decided to put the Masonite on the inside to control the wood and make a divider to hang clamps from. A 1x3 was screwed in for bar clamps to live and clothesline was added to hang spring clamps off of. The clothesline was finished off with Heat Shrink to deter it from unraveling.

    When I put the saw in it's new home another light bulb went off: Mount it on the right and make a feed table to the left. A 3 inch shelf.....

Step 6: Fin!

    Added the feed shelf to match the height of the saw table. This I made out of 3/8" plywood.  In the future I will extend the fence along this feed shelf. I might possibly add a material support for longer lumber to be cut, something along the lines of a slide out that would hide under the feed shelf.

   Well, I said at the beginning that I had to Level Up and I feel I did. This came out better than expected. The only real downfall is that it is a little out of square, but that doesn't affect performance whatsoever. I realize that this was more of a Work In Progress article than an Instructable, but I hope that maybe I gave you an idea for your own cart.

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    14 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great job for a first instructable! Great reuse of a cart! Yours was a common problem with most woodworkers, where and how to keep our stock. You solved your problem creatively.


    4 years ago

    The lumber storage cart has really clean lines and looks like you can get quite a lot of function from it! Thanks for sharing your instructable!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    nice man, I'm looking for ideas for some thing similar, I bet my workshop is smaller than yours (it's originally the old 1930s laundry) it's super cramped and I'm thinking of a bench on wheels that I can wheel out to the back deck and somehow extend with folding sides. I have a bunch of C channel from where I was working but alas no one has done a thing with C channel on instructibles.

    Great instructable! I need me make me one of these.

    Also..."beat it like a red headed stepkid"...genius!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    a great idea I have one of these carts lying idle and you've made my day as I've also been needing something to use as a mobile equipment cabinet so I'll get on now and do it , I never would have thought about it unless I saw this

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. I never intended it to come out like that, but I'm sure glad it did. There's another similar instructable by noah( i think) that has some other options. I didnt' see his til after I made mine or I would have included some of the things he did. Good Luck!


    6 years ago on Step 2

    Great job on your first Intstructable. Really well done and an exciting, cool project!

    Nice job. I like the use of the 'indented" space for the clamps. If you made the front supports from 2 by 4 material, the recess could have been deeper all but enclosing the clamps. If you have a router, you can make a great clamp shelf for that type adjustable clamp with a thin "shelf" board and a thicker support board fixed at right angle one to the other along the long dimension. The "shelf" is notched (on one-inch +/-) centers allowing the clamps to fit into said slots/notches. I found a 5/16" straight router bit ideal for the notches and used a 5/16" fixed pin to maintain the spacing. I mount mine on the wall, but you could fit all but the longer clamps quite neatly into your cart. You might also want to add a fence along the back of your cart - aligned with the chop saw, of course. And, if you've a couple of sturdy hinges laying about, a fold-down extension on the right side to support longer pieces of wood.

    1 reply

    Thank you Charles. I just picked up a router and table and am still learning, that could be a good project. I'm still learning, in general, as you can see. I'm going to add a fence, with slots in the shelf so it's adjustable(saw this in another instructable). I like the idea of the flip out support. If I don't notch out the shelf and make a slide out support, I will go that route.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent idea for repurposing a cart, and making room in the project area (sometimes used for parking vehicles) This will apease the wife some.


    6 years ago on Step 3

    The head beatings are what help me with designs...

    Bill WW

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work.
    I also have a small shop, just today realized how much time I spend searching for the right lumber, tool, fastener.