DIY Outdoor Firewood Rack

For this new project, I’m going to show you how I made this Western Red Cedar outdoor firewood storage rack. The roof and the overhang will keep the firewood dry. And with an open concept, plenty of air will get in if needed to dry it out.

Things I Used in This Project:


The majority of the project is made from Western Red Cedar, however I’m starting with making the base and I made that from pressure treated wood since it will be in direct contact with the ground. 

I flipped out the wings on my miter saw stand and started by cutting down two runners for the base on my miter saw.

Next, I started cutting the baseboards that will make up the deck. For these I’m leaving the back cut at a 90 but I wanted the fronts to have a bevel on them since they will be facing the front of the holder. To make these cuts, I beveled my miter saw head…making sure to move out the fence wing on the saw so it wouldn’t interfere with the motor when I cut. Then I made my cuts. After making a bevel, I’d move the second board down, switch the head back to a 90 and make the second cut.

I have a set of plans for this project here if you are interested, which includes a material shopping list, as well a cut list.

To start assembling, I positioned one of the deck pieces on one end and after making sure it was square to the bottom runners. I used a predrill and screws to attach it.

I repeated the steps on the other side, again making sure all sides were square to the runners. Then I filled in the middle, spacing the deck boards evenly across. To make this task go quicker, I cut two spacers to size and moved them along as I was attaching the boards.

And now that these boards are in place you can see how that bevel on the front will come in handy. Instead of having a hard 90 corner, it will drop to a point for a foot or hand entering the front of the unit. 

Now that the base is done, le’ts move on to making the body of the unit. I started by cutting all the boards needed to make up one side. For this entire portion I went with Western Red Cedar as my material choice. I chose this wood because not only is it a beautiful wood, but it has natural weather and rot resistant qualities that make it a top choice for any outdoor project. Plus I love how extremely light weight it is.

After getting my pieces for two sides cut, I started assembling them. I’m using Titebond III on all the joints in this build because it’s waterproof and of course this will be housed outside.

Once I attached the front and the cross members, I attached the back. There was a small gap when I went to attach the second cross member, and this is from the 2×4 being just slightly warped. To fix this I used clamp to draw it in flush to that cross member before I sank a few screws. You can always pull a measurement to make sure these are getting attached square, but I instead used my speed square.

I set the side down on the ground so I could next attach a second 2×4 to the back framing member. You’ll notice this one is slightly shorter and this is so I can have a shelf to attach a cross member to connect the two sides.

With those made, I next laid down some more glue and attached the two sides in their respected places. Note that this wood shed is plenty big for a Texas winter, but those of you in colder climates might need a much bigger unit. If that’s the case, you can easily keep the majority of the build the same but make the base longer, and push out the sides so you end up with the same height as this but much wider. 

Now that the sides are in their place, I moved to the top and connected them with a cross brace. And since I’m going with an angled back roof, I first ripped a bevel on this 2×4 over at my table saw so that it would match the angle of the sides. 

Moving back up to the top, I capped off both sides with one last piece. Again, the board had just a slight curve to it, so to get it flush I used another clamp to make it bend to my will instead of it’s own. (I’m not funny) 

I placed these horizontal framing members here because I knew I wanted to add a shelf to the wood shed to give myself a way to separate the smaller starter size sticks from the larger logs. To complete the shelf I took a measurement across the front then ripped down a 2×4 to attach.

The important thing here is to get it level with the existing boards that will make up the side supports for the shelf. To do this I used whatever was close at hand which was my speed square, but even a straight scrap board would work.

To secure it, I predrilled and toe nailed in a few screws. Another option would be to use a pocket hole jig. 

Next I repeated the same steps but framed in the back. Since I have a vertical member in the center, I cut down the board after ripping it to fit around the 2×4. Again, making sure it was level with the other supports. 

Now to make the shelf I went with 3/4 plywood, however if you don’t like the look then you could easily use some 1x cedar boards and create a slatted shelf here. Since I’m using plywood, I first cut myself a piece long enough and wide enough to make up the shelf then used my Track Saw to cut this portion out of the larger sheet.

Next I rotated the track for the saw and made the second cut for the shelf.

After getting the body of the shelf cut, I laid out the corners where it would need to fit around the 2x4s and then used a jigsaw to make the actual cuts. This notch is made easy with the help of a new 20V cordless jigsaw from DeWalt. DeWalt’s new saw has all the bells and whistles you need for accurate cuts and long term reliability out of it’s brushless motor. The no-mar shoe helps to ensure your material doesn’t get damaged as you move along your cut and it also features 4 different orbital cut patterns so you can fine tune the saw for your particular application. The Home Depot stocks these along with the cordless sander I used on this project and both of them talk to the same battery family. Win Win!

After making sure the shelf would indeed fit in place, I lifted it up and applied glue then threw in a few screws. 

So this top portion will be for storing small pieces but I’ve found with separating wood and starting fires that there are different sizes of wood needed. To create a third compartment for smaller wood, I threw in a divider in this top shelf. Since I wanted it to have the same height as the sides, I used the established sides to trace the pitch and height onto this divider piece.

Once I cut it out I found center of that 2×4 and glued then screwed it into place. Using my speed square here to make sure it was going in square.

And that my friends, is the bones of the unit done. Lets move into making it look pretty. 

The plan is to slat all three sides, leaving the front open. To hide the end grain of the slats, I first attached a board to the front to act as trim. This not only covers the front 2×4 but also over hangs the side of the unit enough to cover the slats I’ll be attaching next. In fact, I used a slat to help line up the over hang of this trim board, my mom was hanging out with me in the shop so I put her in charge of holding the slat while I attached the trim with my Brad Nailer

Once that was in place, I started cutting all my slats. To do this I figured out how long the side slats needed to be then set up a stop block at the miter saw to make cutting all of these repeatable cuts quick.

Now that I’m attaching the slats you’ll see how that back trim board I placed will come in handy. I can take the slats and butt them up against the back side of the board, and then stick it in place. So the trim board creates a hard stop for aligning all of these slats on the same line. To attach them I used Titebond III on the areas that would connect with the framing then my 16 gauge Makita brad nailer.

Something else you can do to make this step go quicker is cut a spacer to place in between each slat so you don’t have to measure each and every time. If you do this, I would recommend checking for level on your unit before attaching the first slat.

Next, it was the same process but repeated with a longer cut on the back. And then repeated for a third time over on the second side. Again, since I aimed to keep one board to make one complete row, I was careful to keep the boards in order as I was making these cuts and I made sure to use the same spacer as I did on the first side to keep the spacing consistent. 

When I was in the design phase for this project I modeled two different versions: this slatted version and a full closed up version. I was leaning towards the fully closed version thinking it would keep the wood dry and that’s best. However when I asked my Instagram audience for their opinion, it was pointed out that if I were storing green wood, it would need plenty of air movement to dry it out. So that was the deciding factor behind going with this open design. 

You’ll notice on both sides, the spacing worked out where the very top slat is mostly cut off. I figured out the shape of this slat by setting the spacing and whole slat in place, then just tracing the backside which told me where I needed to cut. Then I cut it at the bandsaw and stuck it in place just like the rest. 

With those in place I came back to trim the front to hid the end grain of the slats just like I did on the back side earlier. 

Alright, lets move to the roof! I am going with a corrugated roof that looks like metal but its actually a silver painted polycarb material. I first measured in place, then cut, and attached two boards that will give me a way to secure the roof. Next I set a piece of the roof in place and started playing with different overhang amounts. I decided to leave more than normal to try and protect the wood a tad more and hopefully keep it dry even when it rains. 

Once decided, I cut all the panels down to the same height using my jigsaw then used special roofing screws that have a rubber washer on them to secure it to the unit. These washers seat around the screw head, creating a seal around the hole you make to prevent water from getting in. I had these left over from roofing my shop but I believe you can find a small box of these in the hardware stores. 

And I actually thought I was done and that was it, however once I started staging the woodshed to take photos this front shelf edge caught my attention… in a negative way. I really thought the plywood end grain took away the prettiness of the cedar body so I quickly added in two more pieces of trim to hid it. There we go, much better I think. : ) 

Before wrapping up the project and moving into staining, everything got hit with a light sanding. I used a mild 120 grit sand paper on the random orbital sander I just received from The Home Depot. This ROS is in the same family of 20V cordless tools as the jig saw I mentioned above. Like the jig saw, this cordless sander from DeWalt is dripping with quality; from the texturized rubber grip to the 8 hole hook-and-loop sanding pad, it not hard to see that DeWalt is paying close attention to the needs of the user. Feel free to check them out using this link if you’re interested.

Alright… the last step is to apply a finish. With this shed being built out of cedar, you could definitely leave it raw and let it naturally patina into the beautiful gray that cedar turns to over time.

However, I chose to apply an exterior stain put out by General Finishes in the color of cedar.

This is one of their 450 stains that has an exterior rated pigment and resin system that provides great adhesion and durability. I can be applied by a brush or even by spraying it on. However, I went with a roller since the majority of the surfaces on this unit are flat. And then I came back with a brush to get all of the in-betweens.

This is my first time using this finish and something I really love about it is that it doesn’t require a top coat. However, if you would like more protection, you could also apply a few coats of the 450 clear top coat as well.

And that’s it! Now it’s time to load this thing up, get it out of the shop and moved onto the property where I am actually going to be keeping it. This unit is big but it is actually really pretty light and easy to move around with two people helping.

I actually have a beautiful shed on my property that I plan on converting into a tiny home. And on one side, there is a very spacious overhang that the wood rack seemed to fit perfect in. And you can’t see it here, but I actually moved a fire pit close to the area so that whomever is staying in the house can enjoy a nice fire in the evening time.

And that’s it! This rack turned out even better than I was expecting. Don’t forget that if you are interested in building one yourself, I do have a set of plans here.

I hope you guys enjoyed this one. I’ll see you on the next project.

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