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Minnesota Clay Co. USA Technical Info - Do-it-yourself Ware Rack

Materials needed for illustrated design:
8 Lengths 2"X4"X6' or 8' lumber.
5 lengths 1/2" diameter (6' or 8' long) electrical conduit (for ware board supports).
About 25 2" long wood screws
Tools needed:
Wood Saw
Hacksaw with metal cutting blade
Drill with 1/2" hole saw blade.

I am your typical basement potter. In other words: I don't have a surplus of space and it doesn't take very many pots to turn my area into a disorganized mess! Several years ago, when I began to participate in craft fairs, I decided that the volume of ware required that I get a ware rack. Because my area is fairly small, I decided I really didn't need a rack with wheels, I just needed a place to store 15 or more boards full of bisque ware and green ware.

This is not a sophisticated design, it uses common tools and materials. I am not a carpenter either (most of my home-made stuff looks as if Our Gang built it!) and there are many improvements that could made by a modestly talented individual. I first saw electrical conduit as ware board supports in damp booths used by a production pottery I worked in during the 1980's. Conduit works well, it supports a fair amount of weight without sagging, and the curved metal allows for ware boards to be slid in and withdrawn from the rack easily.

The dimensions of the rack and the spacing between the conduit can and should be altered to suit your work. I tend to make a lot of mugs, bowls and very few tall items, so I settled on 12" spacing between layers. Most items I make are not taller than 8", so when one accounts for the 1/2" to 3/4" thickness of the ware board, I still have at least a 3" clearance above my tallest item between shelf layers.
The Design
Ware Rack
  • Cut wood to length, in this case, four pieces 6' long, four pieces 28" long, and four pieces 33" long.
  • Cut 1/2" conduit to 36" lengths with a hacksaw.
  • Assemble the rectangular base frame using two 28" and two 33" pieces of lumber. Use at least three wood screws to fasten each joint.
  • Assemble the rectangular top frame using two 28" and two 33" pieces of lumber. Use at least three wood screws per joint.
  • Attach the 72" uprights to the base and top frames using wood, this assembly is best completed with the frame on its side.
  • Mark the 72" uprights every 12" from the base upward. Center the drill on these marks using the 1/2" hole drill bit. See image below.
  • Insert conduit through half inch holes in the uprights, it should be a tight fit. I didn't use cotter pins to hold the conduit in place- but if the conduit is loose, you may want to add pins.
  • Below: detail of conduit through the upright. Board Supports
Once the ware board supports are in, the structure should be very stable. Cross braces connecting the front and rear uprights can be added if your rack is unstable. Four castors could also be added to the bottom frame if you want your rack to be portable.