Many woodworkers use a garage as their wood shop. In most cases, space is at a premium, so having large woodworking machines (such as a table saw, drill press, band saw or jointer) on a mobile base is a necessity. While many mobile bases are available, building a decent mobile base is relatively simple and rather inexpensive. Designs vary from basic to rather intricate, but the premise is the same: the machine should be stable when in use, but mobile when needed.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 3 8-foot long 2-by-4 boards
- 24-by-24-inch piece of 3/4-inch thick plywood
- 10-inch long piece of 2-by-2 lumber
- 4 heavy-duty 2-inch swivel casters with mounting screws
- 8 3-inch long deck screws
- 12 2-inch-long deck screws
- 12 1-1/2-inch long deck screws
- 2 large wood-threaded eye-hooks
- Large wood-threaded screw hook
- Broom handle
- Circular saw
- Power drill with screw bits and drill bits
Cut two pieces of 2-by-4 lumber to 24 inches long, and another two pieces to 17 inches long. Lay out these four boards flat on a table so that they form a 24-by-24-inch square (the 17-inch boards should butt into the 24-inch boards at the corners). Using the 3-inch screws, attach the shorter boards to the longer ones by "toe-nailing" the screws at an angle (one on each side of each end of the 17-inch boards).
Place the 24-by-24-inch piece of plywood over the square frame and attach the plywood to the frame, using 1 1/2-inch deck screws.
Flip the frame upside down. Attach one caster to each corner of the 2-by-4 frame.
Cut two 16-inch long pieces and one 10-inch long piece of 2-by-4. Also, cut two 32-inch pieces of 2-by-4 lumber. Attach the two 16-inch pieces to the two 24-inch side boards on the mobile base frame. Center these two boards between the casters, making sure that they don't interfere with the turning of the casters. Attach using 2 1/2-inch deck screws.
Turn the mobile base over onto its wheels. Attach one eye hook into the centre of each of the exposed edges of the 17-inch 2-by-4 frame. Tighten the eye hooks until the outside of the eye is flush with the edge of the board.
Attach the 10-inch 2-by-2 to the 10-inch 2-by-4 you cut in Step 4 with some 2 1/2-inch deck screws. Position the 2-by-2 so that ends of the boards should look like a capital L. Drill a hole through the 2-by-4, centred on the edge opposite the 2-by-2. This hole should be at a 15-degree angle, and the diameter should be the same as the end of the broom handle. Insert the broom handle into the hole. Finally, insert the hook into the opposite edge of the 2-by-4, with the hook facing up. You have just created a lever for lifting the mobile base.
Insert the hook of the lifting lever into one of the eye-hooks on the mobile base. Pull the broom handle toward your body, and the base should lift off the ground. Place one of the two 32-inch boards under the double-thickness of the 2-by-4s on the mobile base, near the two casters closest to your feet. Repeat on the opposite side.
Lift the table saw onto the stationary mobile base assembly. The base should not move, as it is resting on the two long 2-by-4 boards. To move the saw, simply use the lifting lever to raise one side of the mobile base, and slide the board out from under the base with your foot. Repeat on the other side. Simply reverse the process after rolling the saw and mobile base to the desired location.
Tips and warnings
- Never operate power tools without using safety glasses.
- Woodworking machines are heavy. Do not attempt to lift your table saw or other machine into place without help. Enlist the assistance of one or two friends to lift the saw onto the mobile base. Also, do not attempt to lift the machine onto the base when the base's wheels are on the ground, as the base is too unstable and will roll too easily to properly position the heavy tool onto the base.
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