Plans for a Garden Tool Rack

1 Jan 2009

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to have some money *and* a reliable contractor, and the result was a new garage. But once it was done, I couldn't bring myself to put nails or hooks into the shiny new walls that I had just painted. So I went off to look at tool racks.

I found some freestanding racks, but they were plastic, pretty expensive and didn't seem to hold much. Then while shopping at home cheapo I saw a store display rack that looked about right, and I figured I'd try copying it. It worked out pretty well!

My design for a tool rack holds 30 garden tools in about four square feet. Plans and directions are below. I used whatever lumber was lying around. A few tips:

Please drop me a line with a picture if you build one yourself! Tell me what I forgot and I'll update this page.

Diagram

Materials

  1. 1/2 sheet 1/2" Douglas fir plywood (4' x 4' x 1/2")
    [or 3 pre-cut 2x2 sheets from a big-box store]
  2. 3 pieces 1 x 4 pine @ 8'
  3. 2 pieces 1 x 4 pine @ 10'
  4. 12 L brackets @ 1 1/2"
  5. box of 100 flat-head wood screws #8 x 1 1/4"
  6. 24 flat-head wood screws #8 x 3/4"

Cut sheet

  1. Panels: 3 @ 24" x 24" cut from 1/2" plywood
  2. Panel frames: 12 @ 23 1/4" cut from 8' lengths
  3. Legs: 8 @ 30" cut from 10' lengths

Directions

  1. Clamp two 2'x2' (top and middle) panels together.
  2. Drill round holes 2" diameter on 4" centers, set in 1" from sides.
  3. Connect some holes with a jig saw to make ovals as shown.
  4. Build three panel frames with four 23 1/4" pieces of 1x4 by
    attaching L brackets on the inside corners with the 3/4" screws.
  5. Attach panels to frames using the 1 1/4" screws.
  6. Rip down four legs to 2 3/4" (if the table saw needs some exercise :-)
  7. Attach legs to frame-panel assemblies using the 1 1/4" screws.
    Leave a gap between the middle and bottom frames for your hand,
    and another gap between the bottom frame and floor for a broom.

Update October 2010: Chuck of Mansfield, TX sent me a picture of this very fine rack he built using these plans. Sure looks better than mine! He reports that it cost him $45 and four hours labor.

Update August 2011: Pete H. of Seattle, WA sent me a picture and this note:

The plans are spot on. Appreciate the cutting notes for the boards. I used pre-cut 2x2 sheets of plywood from Home Cheapo. I added a set of wheels on the bottom. I have this in a corner by the front of my garage door and the wheels allow me to simple roll it out and access any tool I need. I had some left over stain so I used that you make it look "richer". Too fancy for the garage? The thing is solid and does not tip or get top heavy, something that I was concerned about with the store models.

Re wheels - Four swivel wheels from Home Depot... 2inch ... I still have the bill... part number 039003094778 ... $3.48 each.


Update April 2013: Gaizka L. built a custom version of this tool rack and sent me some details:

I got mine built inspired by your design. Thanks for the concept and the tips. I didn't follow the blueprints, but borrowed some IP our of it. I did include the wheels for easier access and also added a serrated edge. That way I can just rest a tool that I'm currently using (or in case the rack itself is full). I also found a purchased tool hanger hanging around and I attached it to the side. It might be over-engineered, but is fun to see how it's been evolving. I can clearly see where my thought process changed during the build.


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