Rolling Tool Box Cart Plans

Save your back with this handy shop cart

Next Project
Time

A full day

Complexity

Beginner

Cost

$51–100

Introduction

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.

Tools Required

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

Materials Required

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

Getting Started

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. Carts make an endless journey around a shop, from planer to table saw to drill press to the sander, and on and on. They’re never empty!

Constructing this DIY tool box 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.

Plus, learn how to tame the clutter and work smarter with these ingenious (and inexpensive!) workshop storage tips you can DIY.

Project step-by-step (5)

Step 1

The Rolling Tool Box

Family Handyman

You can use your cart to support your table saw work, so build your cart the same height as your saw. If you want to do the same, buy the casters for your cart before cutting any parts to size. (We 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.

For a large, printable copy of Figure A and the Cutting Diagram, along with the Cutting List, see Additional Information, below.

Step 2

DIY Tool Box Cart Cutting Diagram

cutting digram rolling toolbox cartFamily Handyman

We'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. And 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.

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.

Step 3

Cut Leg Pieces to Length

Setup Tips The blade setup determines how deep the pins and sockets are on your joint. Box joints look best when they are cut to match the thickness of your stock. Make a test joint before cutting into the material you plan on using for your enclosure. Your jig will likely have to be fine-tuned after its initial setup. Using a framing square, check that the blade is 90-degrees to the tabletop and 90-degrees to the miter gauge sled. If the joint is too loose, the pins are too small, so make the space between the blade and the peg bigger by sliding the jig along the fence, moving the peg away from the blade. If the joint is too tight, make the pins smaller by sliding the jig to move the peg closer to the blade. Building the box jig Before you start, be sure all your parts are cut to size and then swap your table saw blade to a correctly-sized dado stack. This includes trimming the square stock to the exact same width as the dado stack for the peg. This post is written for 1/2-in. x 1/2-in. notches in 1/2-in. thick stock. With the miter gauges in the miter slots, fasten the fence through the back of the miter gauges with 1-1/4-in. screws to make a sled. Clamp the second piece of plywood flat against the fence and push this setup through the dado blade. Unclamp the piece of plywood and glue a 2-in. length of 1/2-in. square stock (remember to match to your specific dimension) into the cut you just made. Create a space between the peg and the blade using the remainder of the 1/2-in. stock; this makes the pins and sockets the same size. Clamp the jig to the miter gauge sled. Making the cuts With the jig adjusted, make a test joint to check the fit. The initial adjustment may need to be dialed in to get the fit nice and snug. If the joint is loose, the pins are too small (slide the peg away from the blade). If they don't fit, they are too big (slide the toward theFamily Handyman

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.

Step 4

Upper and Lower Shelves

crosscut tip for table saw

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.

Step 5

Fasten the Cart Together

rolling toolbox cartFamily Handyman

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.

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Additional Information