Rockler Pack Rack – A Mobile Clamp And Tool Storage System

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Rockler Pack Rack

Contrary to popular belief, it technically is possible to have too many clamps. It’s just not something you’re likely to ever experience; like unicorns or an entertaining Rob Schneider movie. However, an impressive clamp stash is only the beginning. Now that you have them, where will they be stored? Clamps are heavy; but there’s no need to lug them back and forth when they can be rolled right over to you – wherever you need them – with very little effort. Given that almost every woodworking project requires clamping at some point, the Rockler Pack Rack Clamp & Tool Storage System is a beautiful solution that piqued my interest at first sight. But is it worth your hard earned money? Well, we’ve received a Rockler Pack Rack to try out so I guess we’ll find out together!

Rockler Pack Rack – Some Assembly Required

Rockler Pack Rack
The parts come securely mummy-wrapped in cellophane.

Assembly of the Pack Rack is fairly simple. The instruction booklet is short and sweet with lots of pictures for clarity. It took me about an hour and a half – working at a casual pace – to put together (not counting the shelf and wooden parts).

Pack Rack hardware
It looks like a lot of hardware, but it’s not hard to assemble.

Once it’s assembled, the Pack Rack is impressively sturdy. It’s not going to twist or “rack” on you.

Thread lock
All of the bolts come with a drop of thread lock to keep things nice and tight.

Due to tight clearances, a couple bolts were tricky to tighten. But I was able to cinch them up nicely with a thin wrench and a deep well socket.

Rockler Pack Rack – Plenty Sturdy

Pack Rack parts
Here are the main structural components.

The size of the box will fool you at first. But when you lift it you’ll realize there’s a lot of metal in there. At 47 pounds, the steel frame is heavy enough for a solid unit, but light enough not to break your back.

Bolted corners
The eight corners are each secured with four bolts. Once they’re tightened, it’s a very rigid structure.

Speaking of not breaking backs: the Pack Rack is a 31”L x 24”W x 58”H multipurpose shop cart that’s plenty sturdy for just about anything you’d want to use it for. The tapered design makes it very stable and keeps clamps in their place.

Rockler Pack Rack – Hot Rods

Clamp/shelf rods
The Pack Rack comes with eight 5/8″ diameter, zinc-coated steel rods.

The eight included steel “rods” are actually hollow tubes. I loaded a couple of them down with heavy clamps (and placed a bunch of weight on the shelf) with no noticeable flexing. So they are plenty strong.

Rod holes
Each side has 13 different rod holes, allowing for easy customization.

The rods are held in place with hairpin cotters (“R clips”), so it takes only moments to install or rearrange them to your liking.

Hairpin cotters
The two sides of the Pack Rack can be set up completely different from each other, depending on you needs.

The eight included rods are enough for most applications, but extras are available in packs of two. Rockler also offers extra long rods, for even greater storage capacity.

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’ – Keep That Rockler Pack Rack Rollin’

Swivel casters
Rugged, high quality casters for effortless movement.

The Rockler Pack Rack comes with heavy urethane swivel casters that glide like a banana peel in an oil slick on ice. All four casters swivel for complete freedom of movement; none of that shuffling back and forth nonsense.

Locking casters
Two of the casters have locking mechanisms that stay put right where you tell them to.

The Pack Rack is a pleasure to roll around the shop. The movement is silky smooth, even with a full load. And a full load of clamps is a lot of weight.

Installing Shelves On The Pack Rack

Wood not included
BYOW: Bring Your Own Wood.

You must supply your own sheet goods if you want shelves; I used 3/4” plywood. The bottom shelf sits on a lip formed by the angled steel of the frame. Just cut a piece to the proper dimensions, clip the corners (clearance for the bolts in the frame) and set it in place. There’s no need to fasten the bottom shelf in place; it’s not going anywhere.

Shelf brackets
One set of shelf brackets is included with the Pack Rack. The bottom shelf doesn’t require hardware.

For any shelves above the bottom, there are special brackets that hook over the clamp hanger rods. For most applications, you probably won’t need any more. But – if needed – extra brackets may be purchased separately in sets of 4.

Work surface
Work table using shelf brackets and a roller stand. Photo:

The shelf brackets can come in handy for other purposes as well. Above, a pair of shelf brackets holds one end of a work table. This might be a great solution for small workshops, where horizontal surfaces are at a premium.

Unexplained countersunk holes
See the two holes near the hook? I have no idea why they are there. With some imagination, you may come up with a creative way to use them.
Rockler Pack Rack shelf~~
The brackets extend far enough to clear the heads of most clamps.

Accessorizing And Customizing The Rockler Pack Rack

Dust collector
The Pack Rack used as a mobile dust collector chassis. Photo:

The most obvious use for the Rockler Pack Rack is clamp storage. But a look around the Internet revealed lots of alternative ideas.

Decked out with tool pouch
Here, one end is being used to hold a carving tool pouch. Photo:

One popular use for the bottom shelf is to hold a shop vac or pancake air compressor. I also saw several examples where people have used the Rockler Pack Rack to mobilize their dust collector.

Top cap accessory
With the steel top cap accessory, which allows you to store various loose items on top of the Pack Rack. Photo:

Other available accessories include:

* A top cap tray for holding loose items.

* Additional clamps rods.

* Longer clamp rods extra storage of clamps, extension cords and more.

* Parallel clamp rack which can be hung on a wall or used with the Pack Rack. Though my Bessey K-Body parallel clamps stay on the stock Pack Rack rods just fine.

Pack Rack with shop-built topper
To better suit my needs, I built the red addition on top. Continue reading for more information on that project.

I built an additional storage module for the top of my Pack Rack. For tips on how it was made, there’s a brief overview at the end of this article.

Rockler Pack Rack – Final Evaluation

Rockler Pack Rack

With such a useful and sturdy shop cart, it’s hard to find much fault. My only criticisms are minor. First, some of the bolts can be tricky to tighten during assembly, but I eventually got them all. I also couldn’t get mine perfectly squared up. But it’s close enough for government work and doesn’t affect its performance one bit. This is a utility item, not a precision machine.

Finally, to figure out what size to cut my upper shelf, I had to tape the brackets in place then measure the span between them. It would have been nice if Rockler included a chart to tell you the different shelf dimensions (every shelf position accepts a different sized shelf).

Clamp racks
I could use one more Pack Rack. I still have a few dozen more clamps!

Several years ago, I made a rolling clamp rack out of wood. For all the trouble it was to design and build my own, the Rockler Pack Rack is a great deal. It’s also stronger, more stable and rolls a lot better than the one I made myself.

Shop Made Pack Rack Topper – Quick Construction Tips

Pack Rack topper
Shop made Pack Rack topper.

If you like the topper I built for the Pack Rack and want to try making your own, here are a few tips to get you started:

Copy the angle of the Pack Rack. It’s approx. 80°.

I wanted the slant of the Pack Rack to follow through to the topper. So I used a sliding T-bevel to measure the angle near the base. That angle was then transferred to my table saw blade.

Tilt the blade
Use that angle to adjust the tilt of your table saw blade.

Like the shelves, my topper is made entirely of scrap wood I had laying around the shop. The sides (or faces, I suppose) are 7/16” OSB scraps from when I did the walls. The rest is 3/4″ plywood.

Cutting the sides
This project was built off the cuff. The pieces were all cut to fit.

The most important thing is to be conscious of the direction of your angles; it’s easy to get confused. The angles of the base, top and shelves point in towards each other (like a trapezoid). Same with the lower braces.

Cutting panels
When cutting the top and bottom edges of the side panels, bevel one edge then flip the piece like this (rotate around the long axis). Then bevel the opposite edge. They should end up leaning in the same direction.

The top braces and shelf braces are angled in the same direction (like a parallelogram). Same goes for the side panels.

The divider is shaped to follow the same angle, but none of its edges are beveled.

Rather than have open tunnels all the way through, I used a vertical divider to separate the space. The bottom of the divider is narrow enough to allow the side panels to rest atop the bottom panel.

All pieces are glued and pin nailed in place.
Coming along
Once both sides were in place, I was able to measure for the top panel and shelves.

The shelf on the shallower side is high enough to accommodate a gallon of glue underneath. The other shelf is closer to the middle.

End view
This view should help you visualize your angles.

I painted the assembled unit then drilled holes for 3/8” hardwood dowels, which were glued in place. Finally, it was screwed to the top of the Pack Rack, using the existing accessory mounting holes and some coarse threaded wood screws from underneath.

Pack Rack with topper
And there she stands, in all her glory. Eager to be loaded.

The Pack Rack sells for $169.99 at our sponsor Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. For the money, the Rockler Pack Rack is where it’s at!

Buy Now - via Rockler

Photo of author

About Steve

Steve made his first woodworking project at age 9 (in 1982) and whittled his first wooden chain at 18. He was also a consumer electronics repair tech and shop owner for a little over 20 years, until his impending obsolescence became impossible to ignore. Since then, Steve has focused passionately on manipulating his wood... in his workshop. Don't judge him.

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