Would this work?

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Forum topic by TropicalWW posted 07-20-2011 06:52 AM 1464 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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39 posts in 2616 days

07-20-2011 06:52 AM

It’s time for a lumber rack, but I’m struggling for a design. Living in South Florida means a shop that is all hollow concrete block. I don’t trust it to hold the weight of a wall mounted rack, but I don’t have the floor space for a dedicated stand alone. My latest thought is to sandwich 2×4’s between some base cabinets that I have along one wall. The cabinets would act as “feet” for the 2x’s allowing me to put brackets or pipe in the upper half of an 8 footer to form supports. Nothing would be attached to the wall, but the 2x’s would have a good 3 feet of support at the bottom of each. Would this idea work? I’ll have to do some rearranging to implement this plan, and I’d hate to waste time if I’m only going to find that this won’t work at all…’s SOOOOO HOT right now….any wasted time is a very bad thing! :-)

Thanks so much for the help!! :-)

11 replies so far

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 2925 days

#1 posted 07-20-2011 07:57 AM

i don’t know the specs of concrete blocks used over there, but on this side of the pond it is usually the strongest support you can find.
using the (floor?) cabinets as feet is a good idea, though for lumber racks all the tension is at the top, so i would secure it in the wall anyway as an additional support.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2604 days

#2 posted 07-20-2011 10:34 AM

I would use large toggle bolts into the block to hold the horizontal wood backing members (or large cleats).

Our work shop is all block walls and we’ve never had any problem attaching anything to it… even a cantilevered wall mounted steel shop desk like they use in factories. I have sat and stood on top of it many times (275 pounds).

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View USCJeff's profile


1063 posts in 4032 days

#3 posted 07-20-2011 02:21 PM

I’ve been happy with a simple 2X4 rack I mounted. I’ve had no issues as far as weight. I shouldn’t be too tough to adapt it to a concrete wall (vs the drywall/studs). You could drill several holes in the concrete to accept toggle bolts that can handle just as much as 6” lag screws I used. See pic 4 in my shop. Fairly str8 forward from the image.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View TropicalWW's profile


39 posts in 2616 days

#4 posted 07-20-2011 02:25 PM

I would prefer to do something similar to what you’ve done, Jeff, but everything I’ve been reading says that cinder block won’t hold the weight. Since we have a car truck that must be parked in the garage every night, (HOA rules) I don’t want to risk having a wall full of lumber smash into the vehicle. If I can get away with a bolt on rack, I’d do it today. Will the block walls hold that kind of weight?

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3100 days

#5 posted 07-20-2011 03:24 PM

If you run 2×4s all the way to the floor they can transfer the vertical load of the shelves to the floor. But then you need to keep the unit from falling forward away from the wall. You could anchor the tops of the 2×4s to the wall or to the ceiling. Alternatively, you could drop supports from the ceiling down to the front edges of the shelves. For that matter, couldn’t you make a free-standing unit that fits your space?

-- Greg D.

View TropicalWW's profile


39 posts in 2616 days

#6 posted 07-20-2011 07:08 PM

I guess that’s my idea….I want to build a free standing unit, but in between each upright there will be a cabinet. The uprights will be sandwiched between the cabinets and the cabinets will be screwed into the uprights. The question is weather the 4 to 5 feet that are above the counter top height will bow under the load or would I still need to find some way to anchor them to the wall. Going to the ceiling would be a problem due to the garage door, but that might have to be a solution. Again, thanks for all the help everyone! :-)

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2466 days

#7 posted 07-22-2011 12:06 PM

One thing that occurs to me is that every bolt you put into the wall takes some of the load, so how many bolts can you fit in? Also, the more support racks you can fit in, the less the load on each.

Another wacky idea – do you have access to the other side ofthe wall? In other words is it an extenal wall? If you have access, you could put bolts right through and put a plate or bar of some sort horizonatlly on the opposite side of the wall to you racks that each of the bolts goes through. This should also spread the load across more of the wall.

Oh, and since I’m not from Florida, it’s probably a good idea to check my suggestions with someone who knows the local building codes.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View rusty2010's profile


150 posts in 2522 days

#8 posted 07-22-2011 02:04 PM

There should be a top plate anchored to the block wall. Your ceiling joist are secured to this plate. the plate is 1-1/2” thick, the drywall ceiling comes down 1/2” leaving you 1” of plate. Secure your back 2×4 with 1/2” lag bolts to this plate (pre drill the hole and use washers). Fasten every 16” vertically with 1/2” toggle bolts. be sure to the center of your bolts are 4” from the edge of the block (the hollow section).

-- check, recheck then check again

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3144 posts in 3073 days

#9 posted 07-23-2011 04:38 AM

Concrete blocks are good in compression, not in tension. If you build your shelves with the outer edges resting on the floor on legs, you only have to worry about side forces, which will be minimal. Make shelves that way, you’ll be fine, but be sure to use treated lumber to avoid termites. I would not recommend cantilevered shelves anchored in concrete. YMMV.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View Les 's profile


201 posts in 2655 days

#10 posted 07-23-2011 11:25 PM

I don’t know what your shop is like, but I have stored lumber on end for years. Put a 2X8 on the floor with a few blocks under it to stop any moisture transfer. Add a 2X6 on the wall above and install 1” dowels every 6” or so to separate the lumber. Add an eye bolt on each end and run a rope between them for safety. Works for me. I think if you look at my shop pictures you will see what I mean. If you have any questions let me know.


-- Stay busy....Stay young

View TechRedneck's profile


768 posts in 2821 days

#11 posted 07-31-2011 04:19 AM

I used a combination of things that provide the most flexability. I would first build a mobile cart which really comes in handy for sheet goods, larger cut offs and shorts.

Then I have heavy duty shelving attached to the block walls with tap cons and adjustable shelves.

Then I have hangers from the floor joists all along one wall.

This was covered in another topic…

-- Mike.... West Virginia. "Man is a tool using animal. Without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.". T Carlyle

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