Monthly Archives: September 2010

Sheet Goods and Clamp Rack

I’ve spent time over the last few days making sure that the paperwork for the business was in order, sweeping and cleaning, and picking out some Walnut for the USFA trophy bases. I’ve also been spending some time thinking about how I can make the shop more efficient, and I know one way is to get the pile of sheet goods out of the corner and up onto a proper rack with wheels. The concept is that the more things I have on wheels, the more flexible and usable the space will be. My first project will be to build a great sheet goods rack.

Designing the Sheet Goods Rack

I searched online for plans and although most were inspiring there just wasn’t a plan that I wanted to build as-is. So I decided to design my own rack and put my thoughts down on paper and in Sketchup.

Here’s my list of requirements:

  1. Mobility
  2. Store sheet goods (typically 4’ x 8’) and sheet scraps
  3. Store clamps
  4. Store short lumber cut offs
  5. Break down sheets

Sketchup Design of Sheet Goods Rack

Below is the sheet side of the rack. First let me point out that the sides come down at too severe of a slope. I definitely need sides to hold the back on securely, but they can’t be at that angle.

Here are the key elements of this side:

  1. Lip along the front keeps them from sliding off the rack
  2. Storage underneath for shorts cut-offs, circular saws, etc.
  3. Sheets are lifted up off the rack, but supported along their length. This would allow the topmost sheet to be cut in position on the rack if a foam insulation sheet was placed behind it.


Sheet Goods and Clamp Rack 1


And here’s the back, which is essentially flat except for the storage area at the bottom. The flat back would be used for clamp storage.

Sheet Goods and Clamp Rack 2

Of course, the entire unit would be mounted on some nice casters for mobility.

Comments, please!

I’m not in love with this one yet, there are some revisions that need to be made:

  1. I think the storage at the bottom may be more useful if I open up each cubby to both sides of the rack.
  2. The design of the side brace definitely needs improvement.
  3. A system that allows you to flip through the pieces without them all falling toward you would be nice.
  4. The casters may need to be lockable, otherwise when you try to pull a sheet out, you’ll just be pulling the rack.

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think, if there are requirements I overlooked, or if you have a sheet goods rack that you love.

A Trip to Compton Lumber

This past weekend I made a trip to Compton Lumber to pick up the few materials I needed for Brian’s Computer Desk. Wifey went along and took some pictures, and I thought I’d share them. Compton is in downtown Seattle and their service (and prices) beat the other guys.


Compton has been in business for a very long time, and the same family is running the business. Sorry about the shadow on the sign.



Here I am, ready to go in with my sample from the customer.



You don’t realize this is back behind the little building you enter, but this huge warehouse of wood is tucked off to the side.



At the racks of the S4S material.



Here I am looking at some very nice figure in some pieces, which you can’t see unfortunately. Dreaming of a bigger truck and a bigger shop.



S4S to the left, rough stock to the right, sheet goods towards the back. There is another aisle that has more building material type inventory, and an elevated shop area.



All this wood wanted to go home with me that day, but I just couldn’t take it.



You pick a sheet, they show you both sides. Here I am checking the underside.



Here I am checking the top.  Plain sliced on one side, and rotary sliced on the other. I only needed a half sheet, so it was off to be cut.



They have a nice section of woods specifically for woodworkers, non-domestic and exotics. Check out the wide Padouk board that was begging for a ride home.

Brian’s White Oak Computer Desk

In mid August I wrote about a nice little job I picked up from Bing. Brian needs a new bridge to go between the two shelf hutches on his computer desk, here’s an update.

Brian’s Original Computer Desk

First, let’s take a look at Brian’s original desk that he had custom made a few years back. Brian does high end photography so he has lots of computer equipment: battery backups, high end printers (to the left, hidden in this picture), software, extra hard drives and most importantly a high end color calibrated monitor. Well, Brian is upgrading his monitor and wants his hutch modified to accommodate it. See that shelf above the monitor in the picture below? I’m making him a wider one.

Bakke Computer Desk

Materials and Suppliers

For this project, I used white oak plywood from Compton Lumber (my favorite local source), and white oak solids for the edge trim, matching our oak doors. I decided not to buy the iron on white oak trim even though I’ve had great results with the solid wood variety from Freud. I cut strips and applied them by hand, then handplaned them flush with the case. The finish on this is Minwax Wipe-On Satin Poly. It’s an easy to use product and Fine Woodworking gave it a good review as well. So after more hours than I estimated, the case is sanded and the first coat of poly is on. This turned out really square, I took my time with the cuts, sneaking up on just the right settings, and I used the Beastmaster to cut the panels.


In this picture you can see the new bridge between the towers. This is essentially a strong box used as a shelf and to hold the towers together.

Glue Cleanup

Quick question? Do you know what sucks more than cleaning up glue squeeze out from inside corners? Two things: forgetting the blue tape trick so that you don’t have any cleanup, and not cleaning it up all the way and having it effect the finish. The picture below shows those inside corners and a bit of the solid edge banding I glued onto the case.


Plain sliced vs. Rotary sliced

One side of the plywood was plain sliced, the other rotary. Can you tell which is which? Pretty easy huh. That rotary sliced side is going to be hidden so that’s why it is on the outside.


All that is left now is to wait, lightly sand, and apply another coat of finish.