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.

12 thoughts on “Sheet Goods and Clamp Rack

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  2. Elijah Neal

    I think there are some good ideas here, but I don’t think it would work for me for a couple of reasons:

    1) As you already mentioned, its going to be hard to flip through your inventory. That’s a show-stopper for me.
    2) Lifting and lowering a full sheet of 3/4″ MDF 27.5 inches off of the ground would be a pain. I’d lean towards a design with the sheet good storage closer to the ground and the additional storage above that.

    Just my thoughts…

  3. Matt Post author

    Thanks Elijah, good points.

    MDF can weigh up to 90 pounds per sheet. I usually avoid MDF because of the formaldehyde and other offgassing, but it does have its uses. If I need to use MDF, I try to use Medite II which has reduced offgassing but still weighs about 80 pounds per sheet.

    I find that the lower these sheets are stored, the more of a chore it is to lift them on to saw horses or up to the table saw. So I’d like to store them a bit higher. Once they are on the track, cutting can be done there, so I’ll be lifting partial sheets off the rack and up onto the table saw.

    I do need to figure out how to flip through inventory and easily get the sheet I want to the top of the stack with the foam behind it.

  4. Jeff Hayford

    1)A bungie or truck tie down across the front, just to give the sheets something to lean on temporarily while you flip through. Or at least to catch them from falling on you.
    2)cutoff bays of varying depths. Mine are in 6″ increments starting at 6″ and go up from there. Makes sorting a lot easier, though does limit the ultimate versatility. I need to not save every pen sized scrap, as I don’t turn pens…
    3)Make the whole thing a lot shallower? 24″ may be standard cabinet depth, but do you really need to store that many sheets? I’d think 18″ would be plenty, and leave you with more garage. I know you need a base wide enough so as not to tip over, but what if you made 6-8″ of the back side a clamp rack?
    4)Integrated panel saw rails? I don’t know if you have a Festool or if you’re interested in a railmount circular saw like the lumber yards have, but I definitely considered one.

  5. Matt Post author

    Thanks Jeff these are great ideas. I think you’re right, I could make this shallower as long as I make sure the weight is centered. I’m noodling on your other ideas as well.

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  7. Greg Keyser

    I agree with Elijah, seems like having the sheets that high off the ground is unnecessary and just makes adding/removing them more painful. I’d also wouldn’t split the lower section front/back, particularly if you reduce the overall depth to something like 18″ which I think you should. Finallly, what about hinging the upper sides along the back so you could “open” the side for access when flipping through and/or moving a sheet to the front for cutting? Overall, I like the direction you are headed here.

  8. Eric R

    It looks like it could become a little top heavy, depending on how many large pieces you have on it.
    At that, it might make it a little more difficult to roll as well.
    I wish I was as good as you are on Sketchup.
    I’m still learning it and I’m not as computer savy as most.
    Thank you.

  9. Jimmy Bays

    Looks like the design is coming along. I see where you are going with the higher storage. I like the idea above of making one side hinge for easy removal. How about a L braket at the top that you could swing over to hold the sheets while your flipping through and pulling the right sheet out the end?

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