Monday, June 25, 2018

Last of the Workshop Carts

So many new carts have been made in the last few weeks.


And as a result I've been able to sell off a great deal of stuff that once occupied my workshop.


And also buy a new table saw.


But I still have 3 of my old carts remaining.  Since the new drawers on my new carts holds so much stuff, I was able to totally empty out the old drill press cart (seen on the far left, below).


 I had actually began designing one last cart to replace the 3 older tool carts I still had.  This cart would be 4-foot long and have a total of 6 good sized drawers, one long smaller drawer and some storage space.


But I actually really like two of my old carts, and there's nothing wrong with them, other than the fact that they don't match my new carts.  So after a while I decided not to make a new cart to replace them, and instead I disassembled the old drill press cart.  I then used some of the material from that cart to make 2 new drawers for my old miter saw cart (left).  Originally it had only 2 drawers on the top and a large space underneath (for my compressor), which was covered by a door.  Now it has 4 drawers.


I figured I'd try to strip the finishes from these 2 carts to better match my other carts, so I bought some stripping gel and applied it to the cart that had my bench top grinder on it.


The gel did not do too much.  Actually sanding removed more than the gel did.


But at the time of this writing it's June in Arizona - which means it's HOT!


And I do not want to spend hours in my workshop sanding with nothing but an inexpensive plastic fan to keep me cool.


So I had an idea while sweating gallons in my workshop.  Inside my house I have a floor fan which is crazy strong and made out of metal - entirely (metal blades, grill, etc).  We let our out-of-town guests who aren't used to the extreme temperatures of Arizona use this fan when they're visiting.


Since we rarely get guests, I decided to bring the nice, strong fan into my workshop.  I temporarily placed it on my tool cart.


The breeze from the new fan is a hundred times better than the old fan, but it's still hot air.
So from time to time I also use a spray bottle in front of the fan for some extra ahhhhhhhhhh goodness.


Below is a little video comparing the 2 fans.
Cheap Plastic Fan vs. Metal Fan

So I was thinking of switching the good, strong fan with my weak workshop fan, and building a smaller cart for it.  Since it's 90+ degrees here May through October, a cart specifically for a fan is not unpractical in my opinion.  Plus, if I add some more drawers, then it has more of a use.


This cart would not be overly tall, since the fan itself can tilt up and down.  Also the cart will be on casters, so it can move in any direction easily.  As always, I designed my stuff in Google SketchUp, but before I went out and bought any material I decided to rummage around to see what scraps I could use. 


I have a lot of wood left over from the old cart I already disassembled, but not enough to build an entire cart and drawers out of.


I do have the casters from the disassembled cart though.


On the side of my house I sometimes keep bigger stuff I plan on throwing away, and amongst this stuff was one of the temporary tool carts I had built a few months ago.


This temporary cart was just a 2x4 frame with some particle board shelves and 1x2 trim.  So I brought it back inside to see what I can do with it.


First I added the casters back to the bottom.


Then I put the fan on it.  Because of the size of the fan's stand, I had to place it on the top at a 45-degree angle.


I then used some mending plates I recently bought...


...to tie down the fan to the top of the cart.


And it's actually not bad.  It's a good height for the fan.


And the bottom holds some of my scrap bins.


So this will do for the time being.  I needed to go back inside to cool off for a bit.  When I was finally able to go back into my workshop, I moved around some stuff so the cart can fit against the wall.


Next I needed to do a few more things for this temporary cart.  In the image above the fan is pointed where I want it to be, but the "front" of the cart (where I can push in or pull out the bins underneath) is facing the side.  So I took off the binding plates and reoriented the fan.  I also reshaped the binding plates a bit to look a little nicer.


And now the fan is pointing where I want it to point, and the bins underneath are easily accessible.


Next  I needed to do something about the extension cord.  There's too much of it.  When I move it all around the workshop, the cord will probably interfere with the casters of this cart and perhaps my other carts.


So I simply attached a hook to the back.


This will better hold the extension cord and keep it from becoming a nuisance.


Then I drilled a hole in the front and screwed in this long knob - simply to make it easier to pull the whole cart.


 With all that done with I put the cart back in place.


Again, this is just a simple, temporary solution - but it did open my eyes to some things.  The cart is nice and light, thus making it easy to move around.  If I make a new cart with many drawers, the extra weight might make it hard to move around my workshop.

And yes, I do move the fan around the workshop with me, because as you saw above, 107 degrees is not the type of weather to rough-it.  

So I need to redesign my cart to be lighter.  My first redesign was similar to what I presently have, using 2x4s and some decorative cross-trim.  But I didn't care too much for this.


My second redesign was a triangular cart to fit the base of the fan perfectly - but this doesn't allow for good storage underneath.


My final redesign was a solid cart with a single drawer on the top.


And there's still ample storage underneath for all those bins I have.


The pink triangular shape is the size of the base of the fan.  Like my current set up, the fan will be on the top at a 45-degree angle.


Satisfied with my redesign, I color coded each part and figured out how much material I'll need.


Then I went to the store and bought my materials.


Since I've made so many carts in the recent few blog entries I'm not going to go into great detail on how I made this one.  


Essentially, all the wood was cut to size first by my circular saw (above), table saw (below)...


...and Miter saw.  The miter saw was used to cut the 1x2 trim pieces.


The last few carts were made from melamine, which is not a great material for using pocket holes.  But this cart will be made out of plywood which does work well with pocket holes.


Once all the pocket holes were drilled, I began assembly using my corner clamping jigs to keep the pieces square while screwing in pocket screws.


Once the top, bottom and sides were assembled I cut some spacers for the drawer shelf and placed them on the bottom of the box (which is really the under side of the top of the cart).


Then I laid the shelf on top of the spacers, and clamped the whole cart together tightly as I drilled more pocket screws.


Now that the carcass of the cart is done it was time to begin making the face frame.


The face frame is made up of 1x2 lumber, which was all cut on the miter saw using a stop block for exact repeatable cuts.


Then all the trim was glued and nailed to the carcass.


With that all done, I cut the sheet of hardboard to size, which will be used as the back of the cart.


The hardboard was glued and screwed to the back of the cart.


Next I removed the fan, boxes and casters from the temporary cart, and attached the casters to the bottom of the new cart.


And now the cart is mobile.


I then added the boxes underneath and attached the fan to the top.


I also attached the hook to the back to hold the extension cord.


next it was time to make the drawer.   Again I won't go into much detail.


I made these drawers just like all the other drawers from the past blog entries.  The bottom is leftover hardboard from the piece I cut for the back of the cart.  The wood for the drawer is leftover wood from the old disassembled drill press cart.


I drawer fits perfectly.


For a drawer front I temporarily used a piece of plywood, again from the disassembled drill press cart, and attached it to the drawer with a knob.


This drawer front looks a bit rough, but I am okay with it for now.  


With the drawer done I can call this new cart complete.  I filled up the drawer with some stuff I previously put in another drawer.  My incense, iPod and Bluetooth speaker now occupy this drawer.


The bottom holds those scrap bins plus my corner clamping jigs and a binder full of project ideas.


All this cart (and actually, my other carts) needs now is just a good sanding.


A few days later I was working on making new wall shelves (blog entry coming soon).  Below is an image of the old wall shelf.


Once this old shelf was taken down I disassembled it and used wood from it to make a new, better looking drawer front.


And with this last cart done, I can happily say that I do not need to build any more new carts for my workshop.  Every big tool in my workshop now has it's own cart, and all the many drawers I've made hold all my tools nicely.


This fan cart will definitely make it easier to work in my shop during the hot weather.  Although, I will still have to limit the amount of time I'm in my shop during the extreme temperatures.

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