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Your plans for a low cost, modular, firewood rack

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The Firewood Rack is easy to build at a low cost.  It is modular, and breaks down and stores in a very small space.  It is constructed using treated 2" x 4"s and 2" x 2" deck baluster lumber.  The 2" x 2"s eliminate any long "rip" cuts and facilitate fastening materials together.  You'll need a saw, drill, screwdriver, and some 3" wood screws.  Make one or several racks, any size you need, just by cutting the two 2 x 4 bottom rails to whatever length necessary.  The rails simply slide into the two identical uprights to form the rack.  The materials for the 8' rack will cost about $15.  I have an eight foot "face cord" set up in winter and a two foot rack setup for spring through fall.  It's dangerous, but if you setup several two foot racks you can trundle them around using a hand truck (very heavy).  This facilitates storing the wood well away from your home but allows bringing small amounts (1/4 face cord) close without restacking (Yeah!).  This rack, being made out of wood, will not generate rust stains on your deck or patio!  You don't have to keep it painted and it stores away in a compact space out of sight!

Please note:  I've tried to stick to larger thumbnails and fonts so that all generations can easily use this document.

Please review the entire document before proceeding with your installation, especially check the design suggestions below.

Choosing your location: 

Before you start construction of your rack(s) it is important to consider where you're going to use them.  As you can see I've set mine up on my deck, this has some special considerations.  If you look at the first photo above you'll note that the ends of my rack sit just about on top of two of the joists of my deck.  Also the center support, a 1 foot long 2" x 4", is sitting above a joist.  In addition I have my rack fairly near the foundation of my home, in this way the load of the face cord of firewood is supported by the strongest area of my deck.  Please make sure the location you choose is sturdy enough to support that much lumber.  If your putting your rack(s) in your yard you may wan't to consider a paving tile under each end and the center support, this will keep the rack very stable.

Tools:

P0001089.JPG (80426 bytes)The tools are very basic, a screwdriver, saw, tape measure, and a drill.  (I'm fortunate to have a table saw).  You'll also notice some soap and a can of WD-40.  Use the soap or WD-40 on the wood screws before you try to drive them in.  This makes assembly much easier.  You can see the notch in the soap where I have scraped many screw threads through.  Alternatively you can take the time to drill "shank" holes and pilot holes.  The screws I used have a reduced size shank not requiring "shank" holes.

Material list:

5 Treated 2" x 4" x 8's

1 Treated 2" x 2" x 42" deck baluster, OR 1 Treated 2" x 2" x 8' deck baluster, whichever is easier for you.

40 3" wood screws, I used DECK MATE "Evercote®", Please DO NOT USE ALUMINUM OR BRASS screws, they are not strong enough.

 

In my assembly drawing I indicated the actual dimensions of a typical treated 2" x 4" and 2" x 2" baluster.  The 2" x 4" is sometimes 1 9/16" x 3 9/16" or 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" they vary to some extent.  To keep things easy I'll assume 1 1/2" x 3 1/2".  Here's a nice table: http://mistupid.com/homeimpr/lumber.htm.  The 2" x 2" baluster is typically 1 3/8" x 1 3/8".  Most know the story, the saw mill measures the wood before they cut it and you get to pay for the saw dust too.  But you know, they never give me the saw dust, or wood chips!

The Firewood Rack:

P0001083.JPG (94269 bytes)The rack consists of two identical end piece assemblies, I'll call them the "uprights".  The "bottom rails" are simply 2"x4"'s cut to your desired size.  For the 8 foot rack the only work to do on the bottom rails is to drill one hole at each end of both rails.  For the 2 foot rack I used 2"x4"s cut to 3' 2".  In each case a safety hole is drilled 2 1/2" from each end of the bottom rails so a safety locking pin (a screw) may be inserted to assure the uprights do not work there way off of the bottom rails.

Some close up's of the uprights assembled to the rails.

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Sketch of Firewood Rack:

Here is a sketch of the firewood rack components.  It would be a good idea to double click on the sketch and print it out before continuing with cutting, or assembly.  The full size sketch is at the end of this document.

Cutting the material:

Because of the variations in 2 x 4 size you may want to cut to fit the Upright Stabilizer.  Please see the sketch to identify the items.

Item Quantity   Size     Material     Notes
A 4             4' 2"x4"s Uprights
B 2             9"  2"x4"s Bottom Plates 
C 2             1' 2"x4"s Top Plates
D 2             5 7/8" 2"x2"s Rail Stabilizer. 
E 2 1' 2"x4"s Cross Brace
F 2             1' 2"x2"s Upright stabilizer
G 2 1' 2"x2"s Optional Upright Stabilizer
H 1 1' 2" 2"x4"s Center Support, 8 foot rack

 

You may also want to make sure when cutting the two 2" x 4" x 8's in half for the sides of the two identical uprights that the pieces you end up with are of equal length.  I've listed 1 one foot 2 inch piece, this is for a center support underneath an 8 foot rack.  A two or four foot rack won't need this.  Another note: this is treated lumber please do not burn it.  Try not to breath the dust as you saw it, use a dust mask.  Vacuum up the saw dust right away.  You can dispose of waste treated lumber in your trash.  

Assembling the Uprights:

P0001120.JPG (81977 bytes)Place the bottom plate adjacent to one of the 4' uprights, item A, aligning the bottom plate with the end of the upright 2 x 4.  Drill two equally spaced pilot holes for the two screws that will fasten these two pieces of lumber.  I used a 7/64" pilot drill.  Chose a drill appropriate to the screws you are actually using.  Drill the holes so they penetrate the center of the 9" bottom plate, item B.  Using some WD-40®, or your bar of soap, lubricate two wood screws and drive them in.  Attach another 4' 2" x 4" to the other end of the bottom plate in the same way.

P0001087.JPG (72436 bytes)Attach the 1' top plate, item C, using the same method as above.  You may find it easy just to set the upright assembly on the floor, setting the top plate on top and drilling your pilot holes straight down through the 1' top plate into the 4' uprights.  Use two screws for each side.  On my original rack I only used one screw per side on the top plate. Two screws in each side will prevent the minor twisting I had in my uprights after last winter.

P0001088.JPG (77501 bytes)Next its easiest to preassemble the Rail Stabilizer, item D 5 7/8", to the Cross Brace, item E, 1'.  Center the Stabilizer, item D, on the Cross Brace, item E.  At this point you could test fit the Cross Brace and Rail Stabilizer using two scraps of your 2" x 4"s to check the centering before you attach these two pieces.  Use two screws to attach the rail stabilizer.  The photo shows the Cross Brace and Rail Stabilizer already assembled to the back of the Upright, just as a reminder how it will all assemble.

P0001086.JPG (69766 bytes)Attach the Cross Brace assembly to the Upright Assembly as shown in the photo.  Again I would recommend inserting two scrap pieces of your 2" x 4" rails in the slots that are formed and then slide the cross brace down on top of the rails until they just touch.  This should give you a studier final assembly.  Typically the bottom of the Cross Brace (not the assembly), should be 5" from the bottom of the "bottom plate" (item B).  Attach the cross brace assembly with four screws as shown in the photo.

P0001085.JPG (74169 bytes)Attach the 1' Upright Stabilizer, item F, to the Upright Assembly, using 4 screws as shown in the photo.  Align the Upright Stabilizer with the top of the bottom plate (item B) so they are flush with one another.  This will leave a small gap between the bottom of the Upright Stabilizer and the Bottom Plate.  This joint could be augmented with wood glue for additional strength.  Also, optionally you could add another "Optional Upright Stabilizer" (item G) to the other side of the bottom plate.  This would help stabilize the Uprights when the firewood rack is empty.  If you're always going to tear down the rack when it is empty the optional stabilizer is really not necessary, and if present, it will make it a little more difficult to assemble and disassemble your firewood rack.

Now just make another Upright and your almost done!

P0001091.JPG (70257 bytes)One more safety detail.  To make sure the Uprights don't work their way off the end of the rack I've added a safety pin (a screw) at the end of each rail.  Drill a 3/16" hole about 2 1/2" from the end of each rail.  Note, in the photo that the screw head is inserted only partially into the hole.  The screw head digs into the upright locking it into place whenever the firewood rack is loaded.  Again do this at all four corners of your rack!

Ready for final assembly:

P0001082.JPG (93531 bytes)Simply slide the Upright onto the two rails and remember to then insert the two safety pins as in the photo above.

The center support for the 8 foot rack, please note it is sitting on a joist on the deck

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Using your rack:

Please remember the note above about positioning the firewood rack.  For an 8 foot rack use a 1' 2" center support, otherwise your 2 x 4 rails are likely to develop a nice bow shape.  I've now also put togethor a 12 foot rack using 12 foot 2 x 4 rails.  I'd suggest at least two center supports.  The more center supports the more evenly you distribute the load, especially if on your deck!

If you want to leave an empty rack setup install the Optional Upright Stabilizer.  If someone leans on the outside of a empty rack the upright will partially lean in.  The rack really isn't stable without some wood in it anyway.

Maintenance: 

Retighten the screws an hour or two after assembly.  Tighten the screws periodically, maybe once a year.  

Material Waste Disposal:

Again please do not burn scrap treated lumber.  You may just throw it away in your trash.

Design suggestions, or enhancements:

I've chosen dimensions that work out well for 16" logs which is a typical size for many wood stoves and fireplaces.  This rack would certainly hold up to 24" logs but you could consider widening the design.

For my rack I have a 5 7/8" rail stabilizer.  With ideal 2" x 4"s, 6 inches is the correct dimension; this would have been too snug.  My 2" x 4"s measured up to 1 9/16" in size requiring the shorter stabilizer (item D).  Remember to center the rail stabilizer on the Cross Brace (item E).

You can consider wood glue between the lower 1 foot baluster piece, the Upright Stabilizer item F, and the 1 foot bottom 2"x4" (bottom plate item B) of the uprights for a little extra strength.  Make sure you use a water proof glue!  I didn't use wood glue and tilted the 2 foot rack up using my hand truck.  This is extremely heavy but the rack held up fine.

Notes:

Please excuse the email address "style" at the bottom of the page and on my web site.  By not using the "mail to" style I am attempting to stymie spam.

I'm a drawing tool purist, if I can't afford the full Autocad package I'll draw it by hand!  If it doesn't have full 3 D support I'd just rather not use it.  

Thanks, I hope your firewood racks work out well.  If you like the rack please tell a friend to visit: http://www.bobshowto.com/Firewood-Rack.htm.

Thanks again,

Bob.

 

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Click below for the Firewood Rack Sketch Full Size

Highlight this photo with your cursor, and then right click and print selection.

 

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BHT Created: 06 May 2017

BHT Revised: 24 May 2017

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Copyright 2003-2016 Robert Matheson.  All rights reserved.  Email Bob at BobsHowTo.com - . 

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