Rolling Tool Box Cart Plans

Save your back with this handy shop cart

Build a simple rolling shop cart to transport heavy toolboxes and pieces of wood from one end of the shop to the other. All you need is a sheet of 3/4-in. plywood.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

TIME

One day

COMPLEXITY

Simple

COST

$20 - $100

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Cut the plywood, then assemble

Whether your shop is big or small, it's sure handy to have a cart or two for moving stacks of parts from one machine to another. My carts make an endless journey around my shop, from planer to table saw to drill press to sander, and on and on. They're never empty!

Constructing this cart is simple—all the parts are just glued and screwed or nailed together. You'll need one full sheet of 3/4-in. plywood and a box of 1-1/4-in. screws.

Sometimes I use a cart to support my table saw work, so I built my carts the same height as my saw. If you want to do the same, buy the casters for your cart before cutting any parts to size. (I recommend using casters that are at least 2-1/2 in. in diameter.) Then measure the total height of one caster and alter the lengths of the cart's legs as needed.

I've laid out the parts so you can crosscut your plywood into three 32-in. pieces before having to cut anything to exact size. It's OK if these crosscuts are rough; a jigsaw or circular saw would work fine. After this, it's best to use a table saw for ripping the parts and a miter saw or table saw for cutting them to length.

After breaking down the plywood into manageable sizes, cut all the leg pieces (A and B). Glue them together, using nails or screws to hold them together while the glue dries. Make sure their ends are even.

Cut the parts for the upper and lower boxes (C, D, E and F) and glue and screw them together. Next, cut the shelf and bottom (G) to fit the boxes and glue and screw these pieces into place. (Adding a bottom to the upper box makes it easier to clamp things to the top of the cart. Without a bottom, you'd only have a narrow 3/4-in. edge to clamp to.) Make sure the shelf and bottom don't overhang each box or the legs won't fit correctly. To avoid any overhang, you could cut the shelf and bottom 1/16 in. smaller all around.

Fasten the legs to the boxes, using three screws at each corner. Finally, cut the caster supports (H) and top (J) to size and add them to the cart. Fasten the casters using 3/4-in. No. 14 sheet metal screws.

Meet the Expert
Tom Caspar has been rolling around his workshop for more than 40 years. He recently retired as editor of American Woodworker magazine.

Figure A: Rolling Shop Cart

The overall dimensions of the rolling tool box cart are: 20" wide x 32" long x 34-1/4" tall. All materials are 3/4" thick.

For a large, printable copy of this plan, along with the Cutting List, see Additional Information, below.

Figure A
Cutting Diagram

By following this cutting diagram, you'll be able to cut all the pieces for the rolling tool box cart from a single sheet of plywood.

Cutting diagram

Additional Information

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Clamps
  • Miter saw
  • Air compressor
  • Air hose
  • Brad nail gun
  • Cordless drill
  • Circular saw
  • Countersink drill bit
  • Framing square
  • Hearing protection
  • Straightedge
  • Safety glasses
  • Table saw
  • Wood glue

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • 3/4-in. plywood
  • 1 1/4-in. screws
  • 2 1/2-in. casters (4)

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