Stacking Storage Racks

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Wood Crate Dorm Room
The interlocking design of these crates allows you to stack them in different configurations and move them around easily.

hen I first saw the design for these storage racks sent in by Arnold Baker of Independence, Missouri, they reminded me of the old wooden packing crates farmers used for shipping fruits and vegetables.

But as I looked closer, I was intrigued by the way these "crates" stack together. The slats on the top of one crate interlock with the slats on the bottom of the crate above.

Aside from this neat stacking feature, the crates have other advantages. They're simple to build and don't require much in the way of materials. You can add more units as you need them. And the modular design allows you to move them around easily. This makes them great for shop storage, or for use in a college dorm room.

SIZES. We built two sizes of crates — a small crate IS1// long and a larger one 31" long. You can make the crates any size in between by simply changing the length of the slats and the back pieces. Note: The crates can be made longer than 31", but be sure to take into consideration the weight of the items you wish to store.

END PANELS. The first step in building the crates is to make the end panels. Each one consists of two rails (A), two stiles (B), and a cross rail (C), see drawing. The cross rails also serve as handles to lift the crates.

HALF LAPS. Once all the pieces are cut to size, you can begin on the joinery. The end panels are assembled with half lap joints. To make these, I cut rabbets on the ends of all the rails, stiles, and cross rails using a dado blade and an auxiliary fence on my miter gauge, see Fig. 1. And to ensure all the rabbets were the same length, I used the table saw rip fence as a stop, see Fig. la.

With the half laps cut, the rails and stiles can be glued up. In order for the crates to stack properly, the end panels need to perfectly square. To make things easier, I built a simple assembly jig, see box on next page. The jig holds each panel square while a shank hole is drilled and a wood-

wore,- End panel dimensions are identical for both small and large crates.

wore,- End panel dimensions are identical for both small and large crates.

Woodworking Joint Rack

screw is inserted into each corner.

Once the glue is dry, centered dadoes can be cut on the stiles for the cross rails, see Fig. 2. These dadoes are sized to fit the half laps on the ends of the cross rails, see Fig. 2a. Then the cross rails are glued in place.

BACK. The end panels are connected by two identical back pieces. These backs (D)arejustacoupleof3"-wide pieces of 3/4"-thick stock. Then the ends of each piece are rabbeted to fit around the end panels, see Fig. 3. (Note: For large crate dimensions, see Fig. 3b.)

Woodscrews are used to attach the back pieces to the end panels. But I didn't want to drive the screws into the joint line of the half laps, so I positioned the screwholes V2" from the ends, see Fig. 3a.

SLATS. To complete the crate, all that's left is to add the slats (E), see Fig. 4. These are nothing more than 2"-wide pieces of wood that are fastened to the end panels.

The slats are attached with woodscrews (again, positioning the screws

Finger Joints Woodworking

V2" from the ends). But in order for the boxes to stack properly, you need to pay careful attention to how the slats are spaced on the crates, see Fig 4a.

On the top of each crate, the front slat is set back 2" from the front of the end panels. Then the second and third slats are spaced 2V4" apart.

On the bottom of the crates, the front slat is set flush with the end panels. Then the second and third slats are attached, again spaced 2V4" apart.




Finger Joint Jig

To help keep the end panels square while gluing them up, I made a simple assembly jig.

If s just four cleats screwed to a base. (I used a square to position the cleats.) The cleats hold the panel square.

I inserted a screw in each corner while the panel was still in the jig, see photo. This way, the panel can be removed immediately without waiting for the glue to dry.

Woodworking Joint Rack

fence Auxiliary fence


Woodworking Joint Rack

NOTE: For large crate, see detail 'b'

End panel -

[email protected]



NOTE: For large crate, see detail 'b'

Panel Gluing Jig
#8 x V/4" Fh woodscrew (centered on width, V2" from end')
Isometric View Finger Jouint Box





To lift the crates up off the floor a few inches, I built a base. Basically, this base is just an open box with three slats across the top. And it uses the same interlocking feature found on the crates, see drawing at right.

MAKING THE BOX. After cutting the front and back pieces of the base to size, the ends of both pieces are rabbeted for the sides, see drawing at right and detail 'a'. (Note: The front and back pieces of the base are identical to the backs of the crates.)

Next, the sides are cut to size, see drawing. Then the front and back can be screwed to the sides.

ADDING THE SLATS. The front of the base projects slightly (W) from the stack of crates. To create this projection, the first slat is set back 2V4" from the front of the base. Then the other two slats are spaced 2V4" apart from one another, see detail 'b' at right. E3 ■ _

Do you have an original idea for shop storage? A great way to store tools, lumber, or shop supplies? If so, we'd like to hear about it.

We'll publish the best shop storage ideas in a future issue of Woodsmith. Winners will receive $150. Duplicate or similar entries will be considered in the order we receive them. Send your ideas (postmarked no later than May 15, 1997) to Woodsmith, Shop Storage Contest, 2200 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA 50312.




21/4" eJL

?x 7V Fh BASE woodscrew SIDE




Large/Small Rack

A Rails (4)

3/4x2- 12I/2

B Stiles (4)

3/4X2 - 14

C Cross Rails (2)

3/4x3/4- 121/2

D Backs (2)

3/4x3 - (31 or 1516)

E Slats (6)

3/4 x 2 - (31 or 15Vi)

Note: Materials shown

are for one rack.

Large/Small Base

F Front/Back (2)

3/4x3-(31 or 151/2)

G Sides (2)

3/4X3 - 121/2

H Slats (3)

3/4x2-(31 or 151/2)

ggf IBBg Ü mi Äsjip

• #8 x 5/s" Fh woodscrews

• #8 x 1V4" Fh woodscrews




a I A « I a 1

G 1 s 1 B r

D 1 0


W x 5V2" - 96" Pine (3.6 Bd. Ft.)

r r

1 r r'

E 1 E

1 c // V,









H t;///;////////



<3 1 g r////////,


Woodsmith Project Supplies offers hardware kits and supplies for some of the projects shown in this issue. Supplies for these projects are also available at your local hardware store or through the mail order sources at right.


To build the finger joint boxes in this issue, you don't need any hardware. But you will need some W-thick stock.

Since W'-thick stock is not always readily available, we've teamed up with Weyerhaeuser to offer W'-thick stock, priced by the board, see box below.

The wood here is Weyer-haeuser's ChoiceWood. This stock has been sur faced flat and square on four sides (S4S). And it's guaranteed to be completely defect free on all faces so there are no knots, splits, or cracks.

Note: Thin stock is also available from the mail order sources at right.


To build the mail organizer on page 10, you'll also need some thin stock (Vi" and 3/8ILthick), see sources at right Plus, you'll need a few screws and some 3/4jl-dia. felt pads, available at the sources at right and local hardware stores.


There's not much hardware to the end table on page 20. But here's a list of

Weyerhaeuser ChoiceWoocT


Part #



V4" X 2V2" - 3'




V4" X 5V2" - 3'


Vi x 5 V2" - 4'




V4" x 2V2" - 3'


V4" X 5W - 3'


Walnut -


V4" x 2Vi" - 3'

• $6.95 '

%" X 5V2" r 3'

; :$1'5.9'5


If you would like to order project supplies or books from Woodsmith Project Supplies, please use our Toll Free order line, see below. If s open Monday through Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM Central Time.

Before calling, please have your VISA, MasterCard, or Discover Card ready.

If you would like to mail your order in, call the number below for more information concerning shipping charges as well as any applicable sales tax.


Note: Prices subject to change after June 1997

the items you'll need: (DlW'-dia. Wood Knob with #8 xl1//Screw (4)Figure-8 Table Top

Fasteners (8)#8x%" Fh Woodscrews (1)Flush Mount Panel Retainer w/Screw These or similar items can be found at local hardware stores or the mail order sources at right.

Note: The panel retainer we used for a drawer catch was for flush mount panels. But retainers for recessed panels may work as well.


If you like the projects in Woodsmith, then you'll be interested in two books we've recently put together.

Bookcases & Shelves is the first in our collection. It features twelve of the best bookcase and shelf projects ever published in Woodsmith. You'll find everything from simple shelves to a Craftsman-style bookcase with challenging through-tenon joinery.

The second book, Classic Cabinets, includes ten of our

favorite cabinet projects. These include a small collector's cabinet a traditional armoire, a country pie safe, as well as other projects.

Both books feature full-color drawings, step-by-step techniques, and a handy, lay-flat binding.

Currently, Bookcases & Shelves and Classic Cabinets can be ordered at a special introductory price. And you have the option of ordering them either through Woodsmith Project Supplies or through our web site, see the boxes below. 2005-200 Classic Cabinets

Book $17.95

2005-100 Bookcases &

Shelves Book $17.95

Buy Both & Save 2005-150 $34.95

Wendetet NOW ON


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Point your browser to:

Select "Woodworking" from the Welcome Page menu.


Similar project supplies and hardware may be ordered from the following com pa n ies:

Lee Yafle>


Felt padt

Woodcraft 800-225-1153

Cherry kneb -thick stock

Woodsmith Store 800-835-5084

End table ham<mrt.

Felt pads

Woodwarker's Hardware


End table hardware

Woodworkers' Store 800-2794441

End table harduxm. Cherry knob &%'-Vtick stock. Felt pad!s

Woodworker's Supph 800-645-9292

End table hnrduxm. Felt pads

Finger Joint Boxes.

Finger joints are a quick way to turn out attractive boxes of all shapes and sizes. And we've included plans for a few different box designs, starting on page 6.

Outfeed Table Saw PlansOutfeed Table Saw Plans

A End Table.

Outfeed Table Saw Plans

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