An elegant, original design makes the firewood rack winter’s most functional piece of furniture also its most handsome.
By Richard Romanski
When we set out to design an indoor firewood rack, we wanted it to be sturdy and made from materials you can buy at any hardware store or timber yard. So we designed our firewood rack from ordinary 100 x 100 timber, steel angles and flat stock. To turn a rough 100 x 100 (nominal) beam into flawless 50 x 50 stock is no great mystery, and we show you how. But you do need a table saw and a bench-top thickness planer. If you don’t own those machines, you can still build this rack by ordering clear 50 x 50 stock from a timberyard. This material is quite attractive and will make the firewood rack look lighter since its actual dimensions are 40 x 40 millimetres, whereas our material measures a full 50 mm. Going this route is a good option, and the firewood rack will still be strong enough. Either way, let’s get started.
|PART||QTY||SIZE AND USE|
|50 x 50 x 710 leg
16 x 50 x 420 slat
20 x 397 dowel
25 x 25 x 452 steel angle support
3 x 20 x 584 steel flat brace
|100 x 100 x 2 400 timber of your choice
3 x 25 x 900 steel angle
3 x 20 x 1 200 steel flat
20 x 900 hardwood dowel
pkg. No. 10 x 30 mmpan-head screws
pkg. No. 8 x 15 mm pan-head screws
ltr tung-oil finish
250 ml oil dark-wood stain
pack 150-grit sandpaper
Make the legs
Sight down each piece of 100 x 100, and mark off four rough lengths that are flat and straight with few or no knots. Crosscut these four lengths. On each piece put a reference mark on the end grain to indicate the flattest side. In the diagram (“How to take 100 mm square down to 50 mm square”, opposite), the reference side is shown with
a small triangle.
Begin by running each 100 x 100 length through the benchtop planer with the reference surface face down. Then take a light pass to surface-plane the opposite face. Repeat this operation on the remaining three pieces. Now flip each piece over end to end, lower your planer’s thickness setting, and run each piece through the planer again. Continue this operation and sequence until all four pieces are flat, parallel and the same dimensional thickness.
At the table saw set up a standard 50-tooth combination blade and raise it to around 50 millimetres. Adjust the fence for a 60-millimetre-wide rip. Choose the best square edge relative to the freshly planed faces, and run this edge against the fence. Flip the workpieces over with the same edge against the fence, and finish ripping through the thickness of the 100 x 100. The waste piece from this step will become a slat for the top.
Using the sawn surface as the reference face down against the in-feed table of the planer, make a couple of light passes. Flip the workpieces over and plane the opposite surface. Make another couple of light passes. The wide faces of the rectangle you’ve produced should be flat, straight, and parallel to each other.
Return to the table saw. Choose an edge that’s square to one of the freshly planed surfaces. Run that edge against the fence. Rip the four legs to 55 millimetres wide.
Plane the workpiece to its finished dimensions. First make a very light pass with the freshly sawn surface facedown on the in-feed table. Turn each leg 90 degrees and make another pass through the planer. Reduce the height setting of the thickness planer and repeat this process until all the legs are exactly 50 millimetres square.
Plane the remaining slat pieces to their finished thickness. Rip the slats to finished width at the table saw. Crosscut the slats and the dowels to finished length.
Now crosscut the legs to finished length. Measure down one face of each leg and lay out a centreline for the dowel hole. On the drill press, drill a hole 25 millimetres deep. On the same face of each leg draw a line from each end to locate the groove for the steel angle.
Set the table-saw blade to slightly more than 22 millimetres high and, using the mitre gauge, cut the groove for the steel angle. Complete each groove by taking a wood file and making a slight chamfer on the bottom edge of the groove.
Three crucial steps
|One jig for the drill press helps to ensure accurate drilling. Another jig helps to ensure accurate assembly. Both are built with nothing more than pieces of scrap.|
Use a fence and end stop to accurately position the steel angles on the drill-press table. Measure and then centre-punch the location of each hole.
Three pieces of scrap nailed to plywood ensure accuracy when attaching the steel angles. Scrap wedged between the legs holds them in place.
Stand the leg assembly in the jig to fasten the crossbraces. Place the blade of a rafter square along the jig and the tongue along the leg.