The Ultimate Lumber Storage Cart




Introduction: The Ultimate Lumber Storage Cart

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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.

Get the plans here

You can watch the build video, or read on!

If you like the video please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

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.



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.

Get the plans here

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.

Click here to get the free plans on my website



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13 Discussions

What a nice design! was looking for something like this to build my granddaughter. For others just starting out I found some other plans I really love. A huge resource of plans, see what you think


11 months ago

that's perfect, it's just what I have been thinking about for weeks now to make for the workshop just for my smaller supply of wood and my endless supply of bits and pieces lol, like you have have kept my small thin, scrappy off cuts as they have been really handy so many times. I will have to,look,at building this project lol thanks for sharing the build and the plans with us all.


11 months ago

This looks Awesome! And very good timing for me as I'm just setting up my new studio. I should get a chance to build this next month. I'll post pictures when it's done.

Great instructable and thanks for the drawings!

Caution: The link to the plans is a scam to spam your email. I guess there is not much that you really get for free now.

Great simple project. Since I already have a simple lumber rack on my wall, this project will be great to put my smaller cuts and plywood. Again, great job!

Thank you for sharing your FREE plans.


11 months ago

Hi Mary, Nice project, and video. We might add that for private use, it could be made from discarded furniture found on Montreal streets. Here are some pics of my wood rack, fridge stand and IKEA-type cupboard. As you say, the little scraps can be used for glue blocks, etc.


Neat and good looking cart man

Very nice!

great storage

What a fanttlumber rack! Looks great

This is excellent!

I just have my lumber leaning on the wall, stacked in random places, and generally spread around and unmanageable. I really need to build something like this.. someday, someday! :)