Six Level Wood Rack
The best wood racks will keep your lumber straight, dry, and out of your way. And, for less than a dozen 2x4s, you can buy a wood storage system to protect your investment.
Key benefits of a lumber storage system include:
- Prevent warped wood
- Keep wood off moisture-wicking concrete
- Provide easy access to lumber
- Organize their workshop
- And, of course, protect their investment
In this guide, you can learn what lumber storage solutions are available and best for your home woodworking shop.
While most reviews of woodworking tools and solutions are done by folks who have never turned on a saw, I’ve cut and ripped tens of thousands of board feet of lumber in my thirty years.
And to keep that lumber flat, avoid moisture absorption, and make it accessible have used a variety of wood racks. While an industrial frame that supports hundreds of board fit is always best, a wall rack is what we use in our garage and it works great to keep the floor free of clutter.
And expensive wood secure off the floor.
Why Storing Lumber On A Rack Is Important
Why Wood Warps
If you’ve spent any time around wood, you know it collects moisture and can easily warp if not cared for.
And the reason wood is warped is twofold and easy to prevent:
- Humidity changes: Big box stores take non-kiln dried wood and bring it into a low-humidity environment. So, the wood starts to lose moisture content. And they do this so YOU don’t have to pick your lumber outside.
- Uncovered wood: Wood that isn’t kiln-dried needs a cover on the top row. Or it will (literally) warp overnight.
The science behind this is best left to scholarly articles, but the simple fact is lumber needs to be stored flat to prevent warping due to changes in the moisture content of the wood.
Preventing Wood from Warping
The process of preventing wood from warping is pretty simple if you follow these three steps:
- Flat with support. Well, let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Because if you store wood without support, it will bow or warp.
- Even air exposure. If moist wood is stored one side down and the other side up, the top will dry out first. And, when that happens, it will shrink – and cause the board to bow.
- Humidity control. Wood is like a straw and sucks up moisture from the air. So, to prevent this, the best way to store lumber is in a humidity-controlled environment.
Best Lumber Racks For Home Woodshops
1. Bora Six Level Wood Rack
For almost all home workshops, the best option for storing wood is perhaps surprising: on the wall.
And for most garages, this is a feasible solution as it has several advantages:
- No floor space is required
- Most shops can make room for 100″ of horizontal storage
- Usually, around 250-300 pounds (or more) can be supported per rack
- And, best of all, a wall-mounted lumber rack can purchase for around $50 for a multi-level pair.
Are you tempted to build instead? Consider the alternatives of 2×4 construction and black pipe; the build cost doesn’t save much.
A dozen variations are on the market, but look for the highest weight capacity, most # of supports, and mounting hardware included. We like the Bora as it hits all of these criteria and is a brand name in woodworking you can trust.
- Stores wood out of the way
- Maximizes use of wall space
- Minimizes value floor space
- Easy access to wood
- Multiple kits can be combined for longer or shorter stock
- Requires accurately finding studs and installing screws
- May interfere with walking space if not properly placed
- A dozen brands on the market have similar numbers of cantilever supports and weight capacity. However, look to brand names like Bora, Triton, or Rockler when buying, as they have reputation risk in their products.
- For three-shelf configurations a popular alternative is the Ultrawall racks. These work great for shorter ceilings or for adding middle support for shorter or longer stock.
2. Little Giant PT-2436 Plywood Truck
See the Little Giant on Amazon
Unloading and storing plywood just isn’t fun.
Not only is it bulky, but it’s hard to access once stored if you tend to have a collection on hand. Which is where this handy cart from Little Giant will allow you to keep a wide selection of plywood goods.
And best of all, it allows you to move it to your table saw or workstation and then put it away.
- Easily stores sheets of plywood
- Movable around the shop
- Large wheels move over small wood scraps
- Works for only short hardwood or softwood stock
- High priced if you don’t work with sheet goods regularly
- Gyptool cart offers up mobility but lacks the three vertical uprights
- While old fashioned, plywood can’t be stored on edge on a concrete floor so a few 2×4’s placed six feet apart is the cheap solution
3. West 97220 Floating Floor Wood Rack
If you have floor space, a steel floating wood rack is ideal for storing a wider variety of wood and having more accessibility.
And, versus an overhead rack, this frame style will prevent working from a ladder if you have to install your wood rack higher on the wall.
When looking for a floating floor rack for wood, the following features are musts:
- Galvanized steel to avoid rusting, especially the base. Because concrete continually “sweats,” this lumber rack will constantly contact the cement.
- Huge weight capacity (upwards of 2000) is more common vs. the wall-mounted versions, typically limited to a few hundred pounds
- Lastly, check the storage rungs and ensure decent horizontal width to support wider boards (10-12″ preferred)
Unfortunately, very few of these racks are on the market, and the West wood rack checks the box on all critical features.
- 2000 pound capacity to store a high volume of wood
- Galvanized legs
- 5-1/2 foot high frame is accessible to woodworkers of all heights
- 5-foot by 3-foot base takes up a table-saw-sized footprint
- Cost is 2-3 times a wall-based rack
- Sometimes hard to find
- We haven’t found any directly comparable, two-sided floating lumber racks.
4. Dewalt Heavy Duty Rack
See the Dewalt Rack on Amazon
For shorter woodcuts, a heavy-duty storage rack is the best solution to keeping track of valuable wood shorts.
With many of these on the market, the options are endless. However, this rack is a great place to start for a compact frame and any tool owner bought into Dewalt yellow.
- Four feet tall
- 4000-pound capacity
- Supports optional drawer kit
- Dewalt brand quality
- Available in composite or mesh shelving
- When two are used, the top and bottom shelves can be used for horizontal wood storage
- Isn’t suited for longer cuts
- Diagonal support beam interferes with the use of middle shelf for pass-thru wood storage
- MonsterRax is a popular option and offers models with support for 500-pounds per shelf
- Most big box stores will have a lighter or heavy-duty rack commonly used for garage storage
5. Heavy Duty Steel Cantilever Rack
See the Heavy Duty Rack on Amazon
If your goal is to have the absolute most amount of wood stored on a single rack then look no further than this super-heavy duty rack.
Sporting an industrial build, massive tubing and a per-shelf capacity this type of lumber storage rack will take up floot space but also save you from installing multiple racks that won’t meet the weight capacity demands.
- Highest capacity per shelf
- Designed to last a lifetime
- Adjustable arms
- Heavy-duty steel
- Not movable
- Highest cost
With many woodworking stores using similar racks, the best option to find varying configurations, heights, and weight loads is to check industrial suppliers or use them online. Given the cost of the material, shipping costs may be less than buying new ones.
6. Global Industrial Vertical Storage Wood Rack
See the Global Industrial Rack on Amazon
It isn’t required to store wood in a horizontal rack. In fact, if you look at big box stores and most lumber yards wood is stored vertically as it is easier to sort through.
So why not do that at home?
Well, thanks to Global Industrial a floor-based rack that doubles as a storage rack for shorter wood, clamps or even levels is an option.
- Easy access to wood
- Keeps wood off the floor
- Doesn’t use wall space
- Internal shelving for additional storage
- 3000-pound weight capacity
- Safety chain to keep wood inside the rack
- Requires floor space
- Higher priced than a wall-mounted rack
- Not movable
Other than building one, there aren’t many alternatives to this unique small woodworking lumber storage solution.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I store wood in my garage?
The best way to store wood in a garage is in a lumber rack. Using a lumber rack that is properly installed and leveled will provide the proper leveling, air circulation, and access to keep wood from warping. And ensure it’s accessible for your projects.
What is the best way to store lumber?
The best way to store lumber is in lumber racks or using bunks and stickers in a temperature-controlled environment. While a lumber rack provides easy access to surfaced wood for rough wood or high quantities, a series of (flat) bunks and properly aligned stickers will allow proper air circulation and support to prevent warping and twisting.
Is it ok to store wood in a garage?
It is OK to store wood in a temperature and humidity-controlled garage. While some wood that is not kiln-dried is easier to keep in a covered garage, wood that has been kiln-dried must be more tightly held to prevent the wood from acquiring excess moisture.
How do you store lumber so it doesn't warp?
All lumber must be stored on a flat surface, away from the sun, and in a temperature-controlled environment to prevent warping. And for wet wood, care must be taken to ensure even air exposure to the top, bottom, and sides of the lumber to prevent one surface from drying out faster than the other side. Both lumber racks and bunks with stickers are a preferred way to store lumber and protect it from warping.
How can you tell if wood is dry?
Wood is considered dry based on the type (hardwood or softwood) and the intended environment in which it will be used. For indoor projects, this is ideally around 6% for most wood and exterior, 10-12%. A moisture meter is most commonly used to tell if your wood is dry.
While the best lumber storage rack fits your shop, the excellent news is that plenty of options fit your shop and budget. Just make sure to decide on something – as the alternative is ruining wood that usually costs multiple of a storage rack.
- About the Author
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Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.