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sheet pan rack: critique / suggest improvements?

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Forum topic by Mark posted 602 days ago 1223 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark

9 posts in 602 days


602 days ago

I’d love to get suggestions on how I could have improved the design for one of my recent projects. Overall I’m happy with how the project came out, and it works for what I built it for, but I’m trying to get better at woodworking so I’d love some tips or suggestions from more experienced woodworkers.

The project

A wooden rack to hold 6 half sheet pans. Helpful when baking large batches of cookies. Here are pictures of the result (let me know if my hand-drawn plans would be more helpful for giving feedback)



The uprights are 1×2” oak and the shelves are oak floorboards. I cut shallow dados in the upright posts for the shelves to fit into. I also included some braces because I was worried that with the grain running the way it is, the shelves wouldn’t be strong enough on their own. The shelves and braces are all glued.

The rack is designed to be disassembled when not in use. The two sides with shelves are connected by 4 cross pieces. There are hanger bolts in the ends of the cross pieces, and holes in the upright posts for the bolts to slip through.

Specific questions

  1. The top & bottom shelves didn’t get a brace because the cross pieces are in the way. I thought the top & bottom shelves would get to rest on the cross pieces but this turned out not to work: the hanger bolt can only slide through the hole if there’s a little space between the crosspiece and the shelf, so these shelves don’t get any support at all. How would you have done this?
  2. Do the shelves even need support? I thought they might be weak because of the direction of the grain, but maybe it doesn’t matter and the dado is fine?
  3. Gluing this was hard. With 24 joints it required a lot more clamps than I had, so it took forever. The triangular braces were also tricky to clamp. Can you think of some way to improve this? Is there an easier-to-glue design? Should I have spent more time figuring out a gluing jig?
  4. Can you think of a more elegant way to do the knockdown joints? It is kind of fiddly to reassemble. Trying to get all the hanger bolts through all the holes at once is harder than I expected.

10 replies so far

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

3747 posts in 964 days


#1 posted 602 days ago

You could have made the shelves trapezoidal sliding half-dovetails (glued) and the knockdown joints sliding full dovetails although if you take it apart frequently the wingnuts are probably easier.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

12889 posts in 922 days


#2 posted 602 days ago

A possibility would be to make two solid sides with dado tracks to slide the lip of tray in and not use shelves at all. Put an “X” brace across the back for support and will also act as a stop. Of course, this only works if all your trays are the same size and you share your cookies :-)

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

12889 posts in 922 days


#3 posted 602 days ago

Forgot, welcome to LJ’s!

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1742 days


#4 posted 602 days ago

Very cool. My wife would love one. But yeah, making it collapsible would be great.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1742 days


#5 posted 602 days ago

Try something like this…

You don’t have to do a dovetail, it could easily be a dado. The base would just slip on to lock the parallelogram structure in place.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1434 days


#6 posted 602 days ago

Welcome to LJ, Mark. This is a nice piece of work—original and all.

I am not fond of the sliding dovetail idea because any added humidity will make the tenon larger and the slot smaller—not a desirable combination.

I understand your comment about the wingnuts being fussy. How about something like this?

Regarding clamping the triangular shelf corbels. I’m not sure I’d worry about that. If the glue is thoroughly applied and the corner is true, it should stick just fine with early tack and then stay put.

The most delightful nightstand resource for KD hardware is the Hafele catalog. It has inspired me when I’ve faced this kind of challenge. Online here

Keep on a-building!

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View Jonathan's profile

Jonathan

2603 posts in 1634 days


#7 posted 602 days ago

I’m in agreement with those above in both welcoming you to Lumberjocks, as well as saying well done on this initial concept and build.

I’m wondering if you might be able to incorporate rare earth magnets, rather than bolts to hold this together? I’ve honestly never tried it in this manner, but it would probably work, provided you used strong enough magnets. I’d use a small dado and rabbet for this, countersinking the magnets into the rabbeted supports, then put a small screw into the cross brace piece. You wouldn’t even necessarily need to rabbet the cross piece, but simply slide it into the dado. The weight of the pans and cookies will primarily push down, rather than racking (minor pun intended) or pushing outward, so this may work. This idea also eliminates having to keep track of any hardware. Anybody else have any thoughts on the feasibility of using rare earth magnets here?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

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Jonathan

2603 posts in 1634 days


#8 posted 602 days ago

Might I also suggest posting this in the Projects forum?

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1742 days


#9 posted 602 days ago

Lee…the dovetail would be loose fitting. In fact, it could be anything providing a stop to keep the legs stationary without allowing them to pop out. The nature of the project gives a lot of flexibility in the actual placement of the dovetails. I’d make the slots 1/4” wider than the tail.

If your kitchen is like mine, if this project isn’t easily collapsible, it becomes a problem. Mark did ask for feedback with regard to the design. An alumimum cookie sheet with cookies is very light-weight. Unless you are using stone bakeware, it doesn’t take much.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Mark's profile

Mark

9 posts in 602 days


#10 posted 601 days ago

Thanks for the warm welcome and the great suggestions, everyone.

Jay, on your diagram there’s a note:”Wing nuts to hold all shelves at posts. Loosen to collapse.” You’re thinking that loosening the wingnuts would allow the shelves to swivel and collapse as a parallelogram? That’s a good idea, and I like the idea of using a dado or dovetail at the bottom to just slip in instead of bolting in.

Lee, thanks for the pointers on the hardware. I’ve been having a hard time finding unusual fasteners, so the pointers you gave are helpful. It feels like the right hardware can make or break a design.

Is it really ok to just push the corbels in place and not clamp them? For some reason I’ve always clamped joints, it would certainly be easier to skip the clamps sometimes.

I love the two suggestions of sliding the lips of the pans into slots on the upright posts. I might have to build that just to see how it works, since it looks so simple.

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