This new woodworker is setting up her shop and has a plan for lumber storage. It consists of lagging some 2x4s to the garage wall and drilling holes every 18 inches with a 5 degree tilt. She would then insert 1″ galvanized pipes into the 2x4s and rest lumber on the pipes. First off, would this work? Secondly, how many eight foot pieces of lumber would this support? Thirdly, how long should the pipes be?
Rick White: I think this will work. I’ve seen racks like this and they work fine. With only 18 inches between pipes, you could probably support quite a bit of lumber. I wouldn’t recommend pipes that are more than about 20″ long.
Ian Kirby: First off, it will work. You could attach the 2×4″ with the 2″ edge facing front so the hole could be 4″ deep. It also depends on what you are storing. For instance, if the pipe projects 12″ and you put a bottom board of 3/4″ particle board that’s 16″ wide, you have a lot of shelf space.
Ellis Walentine: This is a classic ‘Engineering 101’ problem. The exact answers you want can only be reliably determined with some careful engineering work; but, off the cuff, I’d say such an arrangement would only be good for storing a very modest amount of lumber, say a few boards per pipe, and the pipes should extend only a foot or so. You could greatly improve the load bearing capacity if you use harder, thicker wood for the uprights and sturdier pipes. A typical softwood 2×4 is too weak to support much weight without crushing or splitting from the levering force of the pipe. I’d also recommend running the uprights to the floor to take the shearing force off the lag screws, and use more lags in the upper section to resist the tendency to pull away from the wall when fully loaded. It might be a good idea to have someone knowledgeable come in and check out the integrity of the wall, too. No sense guessing at any of this.