Monday, June 6, 2016

Another New Workshop Tool Cart

Not too long ago I revised a Harbor Freight tools stand I had by adding solid shelves, a mobile platform and a nice top with a drawer and my pocket hole jig attached to it.


As much as the revisions were a definite improvement, I was still not overly happy with it.  I thought I could build something better, plus use 2 of the leftover drawers I received from a kitchen demolition job I had.


But the top I made with the drawer was actually pretty nice, so I began designing a new tool cart which will keep the top I already made, plus use those leftover drawers.  I also wanted to make the cart a few inches shorter, as the current height of the pocket hole jig on the cart is a little too tall, and my arms strain when using it.


I liked the design, but I didn't get around to making it until my Surface Planer cart - a project that was also somewhat recent - broke.  So, I emptied out the drawers and threw out the cart.


Now was a good time to make my new tool cart.  I need those drawers for all the stuff that was in the surface planer cart.  So I went out and bought the wood I needed.


As always my first steps are measuring and marking the wood for cutting.


I cut all the pieces with my circular saw and my home made square cut jig.


Cutting all the pieces did not take much time.


Next I used the HF cart one last time to drill some pocket holes in the boards.


Then I gave each piece a good sanding before assembly.


...I also marked the positions of each shelf on the boards.


Then I began putting it together with pocket screws.


First came the top and bottom, followed by the larger shelves.


Then I attached the middle wall, plus the small shelf on the right side of the cart.


Since the space was getting tight, I wasn't able to use pocket screws for all the joints.  Some had to be made using screws from the outside of the cart.


But after a little while it was all together, except...


...something wasn't right.  The middle wall appeared to be higher than the 2 outside walls.


I confirmed my fears by putting in one of the drawers.  You can see the large gap on the right side.  The drawer on the top was also too tight, and the bottom drawer wouldn't even go in.


After cursing for a few minutes I took the whole thing apart and lined up the 3 walls.  Obviously I messed up in marking & cutting as the 3 walls are all slightly off.


So I lined them up flush on one side, clamped them to my work table, attached my square cut, and trimmed the edges so they were all the same height.


Then I went back to assembling it.  This time I put the drawers in place with Popsicle sticks (as spacers) and began reattaching all the pieces...again.


But this time it went together perfectly.


And the drawers slide nicely in and out.


Some of the pocket screws breached the top surface of the cart.


My angle grinder too care of this quickly.


With the carcass of the new cart done it was time to empty the old one...


...and remove the top and bottom.


I took the casters from the old cart and put them on the new one.


Then I attached the top of the old cart onto the new cart with glue and nails.


On the back of the top I made holes for attaching my dovetail jig.


This dovetail jig I bought a long time ago, but never really got the hang of making dovetails.


It's something I'll have to practice more once this cart is done.


Next I needed to attach the back.  I cut some thin plywood on the table saw...


...and nailed it to the back of the cart.


And now the new cart is done!


But I still have that old pathetic tool stand.  I might as well make it a little more usable.


I cut some scrap plywood on the table saw...


...and I attached it to the top of the stand.


Then I attached the metal top of my old table saw (may it rest in pieces).


Here the cart and the stand are side by side.  I'm glad I finally found a use for that old table saw top.


I'll probably wind up giving this stand to someone.  It's not bad at all - just not what I really want.


...although I could use it as a painting stand.


But the new tool cart is exactly what I wanted.


As I was opening the new drawers to take this picture I realized there were no handles.


So I attached 2 handles I had to the 2 drawers.


And now I'm done for good!


At the moment I like having my fan on the cart, with some of my current helmet builds on the stand.


In the 2 large spaces on the bottom of the cart I have my hand planer, and a box filled with various hardware.  And also some garbage bags.


The 2 vertical shelves hold my wood burning set, some iron-on edge trim (something I have yet to try out) and some hoses for the shop vac.


The bottom drawer now holds my rivet tool and hardware, plus various tapes and a belt clamp.


The bottom drawer holds all my C-clamps and spring clamps (that used to be on the HF cart) and my incense (that used to be in the surface planer cart).


I had been planning to build this cart for weeks, but it only took about 4 hours for me to make.  It's not very pretty - none of the drawers match the carcass - but it doesn't have to be pretty.  It's functional and very useful.  And the lower height of the table will make it so much easier to drill pocket holes.


And the stand - it too is useful.  I'm running out of places to put all my helmets!


A few weeks later I wanted to address a small problem I had.  Whenever I use the pocket hole jig it created a lot of saw dust that would fall inside the drawer.


So I glued and nailed on a thin wood lip, and attached a piece of wood in front of the jig.


The wood has a hole big enough to fit my shop vac hose.  Now when I use the jig I can attach the hose and vacuum away the dust.


And on those lazy days where I don't feel like hooking up the shop vac, the wood will block a lot of the dust from falling in the drawer.


I also added a block to that thin top shelf...


...so I can rest the drill when I need to preposition wood in the jig.


And then finally I made a bottom drawer out of scrap wood I had.  It's not overly pretty at all...


...but it does hold a lot of stuff!


After that I had to make a drawer on top.


I haven't found stuff to put into it yet, but I will.


This is one weird looking cart, but it is going to be super useful in my shop!


Thanks for reading!

A month or two after making this cart, I wasn't overly happy with it.  I thought I could have made a lot of it better.  Plus I still wasn't overly happy with the height of the pocket hole jig.  So I made another revise, and now I love it!  I removed the pocket hole jig and put my drill press in it's place.


I moved the jig and mounted it onto a large piece of plywood.


Now its a little easier for me to clamp the jig where I want it during my projects.  Plus its a lot easier to clean.


The board has a handle on it which mounts to the side of the cart.


The small drawer that was originally part of the HF cart was moved to my tool cart.


So I made a new drawer to fit the empty space on this cart.  I also made some simple wood handles that attach to the front.  With all the drawers full, this cart is heavy so the handles are very helpful.


I fixed up the 2 bottom drawers and made some proper drawer fronts from scrap wood from a previous job - which was stained a darker color.


But perhaps my favorite revision was utilizing the somewhat useless space on the side into a hinged door that reveals and stores a lot of my clamps.  This space holds 12 spring clamps, 3 C-clamps and 2 of my corner clamps.


I also properly attached a new back with glue and nails/screws.  The old one had began falling off from the bottom drawers knocking into the back when pushing in the drawers.  Since the drawers didn't used to have drawer fronts, they would just slam into the back.  Now that doesn't happen with the improved back and drawer fronts.



Then I decided to stain and paint the cart.


Before I only liked the cart.  Now I love it!
Thanks for reading!

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