Monday, October 19, 2015

DIY Utility Cart

Once I stumbled upon a video on the website for 'This Old House' which showed how to make a simple Utility Cart.  You can see their video by clicking here.

Recently I built a new table saw station and chop saw station using some workshop tables I had.

Using these tables as dedicated saw tables, I needed to move around some of my other power tools that normally sat on those tables, namely my tabletop belt sander and my tabletop planer.  I also have a space in between these 2 tables that I can utilize, so I thought I'd try making the utility card.

My plans are based on the one see on 'This Old House''s website, but I changed the dimensions to better fit the space in between my worktables.  I'll also change the handle slightly, and I'll be using some pine wood boards and plywood for this job.  Their cart is made entirely from one 8'x4' sheet of plywood.

So, with my simple plans completed in SketchUp, I went out and bought the lumber I needed.

As always the first steps are to measure and mark all the cuts.  The thin pieces of wood were cut on the new chop saw station...

...while the large piece of wood was cut at the new saw table.

Both my saw tables work so much better now, so I had the pieces cut rather quickly and accurately.

Next I began cutting pocket holes in the wood pieces.

All but 4 pieces of wood needed pocket holes. 

When that was finally done, I began assembling the 4 frames that make up the 4 sides of the cart.

Before long I had my 4 sides complete.

Then I began assembling the 4 sides...

...until the frame was complete.

Next I added the bottom shelf of the cart...

...followed by the top shelf.

And it's looking good.

Next I cut 4 supports for the inside of each leg.

These were glued and nailed in place.

I also added 2 rails on the inside of the top shelf for 2 reasons.  One reason was to cover a small gap in one of the corners.  The second reason was just to make a nice step look.

Next it was time to add the casters to the bottom, but for some reason the casters seemed too short.  To correct it I cut 4 pieces of 2x4 wood...

...and I was about to attach them to the bottom when I realized I made a mistake.  The bottom of the shelf was supposed to be flush with the bottom edges of the frame.

So I unscrewed the bottom shelf, moved it to the correct position and re-screwed the shelf back on.

Then I added the casters.  The front casters are swivel casters, whereas the back casters are stationary.

Now the cart looks better.

But it needs a handle.  I cut 2 spare pieces of wood, and cut 45-degree cuts to round it out a bit.

I softened the curves with the tabletop belt sander.

Next I drilled a hole into both of them at the same time using a 1" spade bit on my drill press.

Then I added pocket holes.

Next I cut a 1 inch diameter dowel...

...and passed it through the 2 pieces of wood.

I then used pocket screws to attach the handle to the cart.

But I still have a few mistakes to fix.  In the picture below are 2 mistakes.  The first mistake was that the screws I used for the casters were too big and drilled through the bottom shelf.  I fixed this easily with smaller screws.  The second mistake is with the supports.  Since I had initially placed the bottom shelf too high, the supports no long reach to the corrected height of the bottom shelf.

The supports were glued and nailed in place, so to make it look right I simply cut smaller pieces of the same size wood...

...and glued and nailed them in place under each support.

Construction is now complete.  The next step was to sand everything smooth.  I used my rotary sander to smooth of the 2 shelves.

...and I used my mouse sander to begin rounding out all the edges.

At the time I began sanding it was already late, so I stopped what I was doing and moved the cart in between my saw tables and called it a night.

The next day I went back to sanding.

Once all the sanding was done I gave it a good cleaning and I'm done!

The cart looks great and fits where it's supposed to nicely.

One of the uses I have planned for it is to keep my table top belt sander on it.  It fits perfectly on the top and is a good height for sanding things.

It also fits nicely on the bottom shelf for storage.

But one of the main things I plan on using this cart for is my table top planer.  This awesome tool is very heavy and not easy to move around.

But thanks to this cart, it can readily be used at any time.  The wheels on the cart lock, so I can move this where I need it, lock it, and begin planing wood.

This utility cart is a great addition to my workshop!

Thanks for reading!


  1. I wanted to built one but as a first timer, This seem hard because I can't think of where to start. It seems and look easy but figuring out the pieces made it hard.

    1. If you click on the link in the very beginning you can watch the video tutorial from This Old House. This should give you a good idea how to start. Also, labeling each piece with pencil is a good way of keeping track of all the parts to your build.