Introduction: Floating Garage Storage Loft & Clamp Rack
A bit of time travel here! This organization project was from right after I moved into my DC shop. I didn't have the miter saw and table saw set up, so everything was done with just a circular saw and drill. It was such a simple project that I've been sitting on the footage since then unsure of whether it deserved to be it's own video, but I feel like the clamp rack portion of the projects makes it worth it at least and I came up with a vision for the video, so here we are! All that it took was (3) 12' long 2x4's and a sheet of 1/2" BCX plywood. My shop is only 300sf with essentially no room for storage, so something like this was essential to have a place to put my lesser used materials. Plus the clamp rack was just perfect since it took up zero additional space. I get a good idea every once in a while!
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- (3) 12' long 2x4s
- (1) sheet of 1/2" plywood
- Decking screws (no drywall screws for framing, those are brittle) http://amzn.to/2EvtrGw
- 6" long ledger screws http://amzn.to/2sjkAD7
Tools (not all of these are required, but this is what I used for the build)
- ISOtunes hearing protection http://amzn.to/2C3v6O4
- Tape measure http://amzn.to/2uTi2e8
- Speed square http://amzn.to/2C7Vqaa
- Circular saw http://amzn.to/2qr6ZnM
- Drill/Driver http://amzn.to/2wy5wSZ
- Corded drill http://amzn.to/2Ed6oRz
- Forstner drill bits http://amzn.to/2khIOYs
- Laser line level http://amzn.to/2nRq9DO
- Stud finder http://amzn.to/2EeIoxd
- Chalk line http://amzn.to/2C8Xpe0
- Pipe clamps http://amzn.to/2jkLLbO
Step 2: Let's Get Started
You ever have trouble finding a place for everything in your shop and it starts to tear your marriage apart? I know that feeling quite well... Let's resolve it.
Step 3: Sizing Materials
This is really just a glorified shelf, but what makes it special is the way that the structure is used for additional store that is critical in my small workshop. Also, avoiding any walls or columns is critical to keeping a smooth and open workflow. All this took was (3) 12' long 2x4s and one sheet of 1/2" thick builder grade plywood. I load it on top of the Element, bring it home, and then get to work!
This project was done right after I moved into my new shop, so bigger tools like the miter saw and drill press aren't even set up yet and are buried away, so this whole thing was simple made with handheld power tools.
I measure all of the pieces out for the frame and mark a square line on them with my speed square. To ensure a dead-on, square cut, I hold my speed square on the fence of my circular saw while making the cut.
With all of the pieces cut down to size, I can simple fasten them together. I decided to use screws so this will be easy to take apart when we inevitably move again in a few years. Or if I want to modify it, I have that option as well. I pre-drill all of the screw locations to prepare for assembly.
Step 4: Assembling the Platform & Design Change
I assemble the whole platform together on my workbench so I can install the whole thing in place at once. It's a 6' wide and 3' deep rectangle with 2 cross supports spaced equally along the 6' span.
It's at this point I start to question all of the decisions I've ever made in life, my schooling, my career, my relationships, but I also realize at this point that I should make this thing into a clamp rack too!
Step 5: Drilling for Clamp Rack and 2nd Assembly
So I disassemble the entire frame and mark all of the cross members for holes where the clamps will live. I ended up with 12 holes total, spaced at 3" apart. The reason I said before, that I built the clamp rack into the 'structure' is because these 2x4s mounted on edge are going to be acting like beams. This means that the vast majority of the force is going to be applied to the top and bottom part of it, so I can take advantage of that by drilling through the center.
I mount a 1-1/2" forstner bit into my corded and go to town drilling out all of the holes in the 4 cross members. The corded drill gives me enough torque for this operation. Also, I drill the first 2x4 out and then use the holes in it to mark out the holes for the rest of the 2x4s.
Déjà vu, with all of the holes drilled out and the mountain of wood chips cleaned off the bench, I reassemble the platform frame back together.
Step 6: Installing the Platform
To prepare to hang this on the wall, I measure out a level line at my desired height using a laser level and then measuring up from that line. I decided to put it at a height just slightly over my head so that I can walk under the platform if I want to.
Since I'm a one man operation, I first screw some mounting blocks onto the wall underneath the line where the platform will sit. For this I use 6" long ledger screws that are usually used for mounting decks. Total overkill for this application, but I wasn't sure how many layers of drywall are on this wall and I wanted to make sure I got plenty of threads into the wall stud after going through the 2x4 cleat and whatever drywall is on the wall.
I cut a scrap piece of wood, the height from the floor to the platform in anticipation of the installation as well. Then I take the whole platform and carry it into place. You can see why these wall cleats are so helpful now.
With the platform resting in place, I can move it to exactly where I want it and then I screw it into place with one more screw into each of the studs.
Step 7: Installing Plywood and Support Members
I left the plywood off of the platform to make it lighter when lifting it into place. So now I mark out the dimensions of the platform on the plywood and cut it down to size with my circular saw.
I then slide the plywood on top of the platform and screw it in place. I first fasten it in place along the wall and then move the front of the platform left and right until it lines up with the edge of the sheet of plywood. This ensures that the frame is completely square since I know that the plywood sheet is.
Now to hold the platform floating in the air on the side that isn't against the wall, I mount a cleat along the ceiling. This is just another 2x4 and I mount it in place using the same long screws. You can see I actually cut a temporary test hole in the ceiling just to make sure 100% that I was hitting the structure I thought I was.
Now the last piece to the puzzle is just a vertical 2x4 on either corner connecting the platform to the cleat on the ceiling. I use a few long deck screws at each end to hold it in place. This allows for me to remove the temporary column from under the platform and the structure is held in place by carrying the load to the wall and to the ceiling joists!
Step 8: Loading Up the Loft
I can then finally clear up some of my very precious floor space by storing away thing up in the loft. Mostly what ended up being stored up here is just extra materials and things that I don't need to access very often. This includes some veneers, buckets of paint & joint compound, tarps, drop cloths, and carpet scraps I use as sanding pads.
This is the point when I realize I can stop questioning everything in life and that everything is going to be ok..... for now.
I also mount one of my LED shop lights underneath the platform to light up my CNC work area.
Step 9: Glamour Shots
Thanks for checking out the build. For the full patented Jackman experience, be sure not to miss the build video!
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