Office chair to welding cart

I wanted to make a cart for this old wire-feed welder. I first thought of making a stand and using some office chair casters, but then thought maybe I should reuse the whole base of the chair instead. I found a smashed office chair with a good base that was just the right size.

But the base was a bit lower than ideal.


My next thought was to get more height by adding a box with a drawer. Here I'm testing the concept by stacking some plywood scraps and an old desk drawer. This height seems about right.


For material, I used some old plywood. Here cutting up a leftover strip of plywood from making these garage shelves, (and that material was recycled even before that).

The edges were a bit rough. I cut the pieces I needed to length, then ripped them on both sides to get good parallel edges. I then re-cut the pieces to their final lengths to make sure everything was square. I'm using my homemade table saw.


Checking how the pieces will fit around the old drawer that I want to reuse.


Then brad nailing and gluing the pieces together. One side of the plywood had floor glue residue on it, so I cut a shallow rabbet where the joint is to expose the wood for gluing.


A piece of 1/2" plywood will form the bottom, also glued and nailed on.


A larger piece of plywood, already varnished, forms the top. This plywood even has some nice edging on either side. It came from a piece of furniture from the garbage. Conveniently, it was just the right size. In fact, the whole project was from scraps that were about the right size. There were almost no cutoffs.


The drawer is about 10 cm deeper than I wanted.


So I cut off the back 10 cm of it. Then, I cut the back panel out of the cut off part and nailed and glued that into the back of the drawer. It wasn't the first time I modified and recycled a drawer. See here: dresser, and here: refacing drawer


The drawer now fits, but it looks awful, even for a welding cart.


I took the handle off, then tried cutting away some of the veneer on the table saw, but the saw, with the sled on top, couldn't quite reach across it.


I tried removing the rest of the veneer with a hand plane, then a chisel. But in the end, I just put it on the jointer. It was still good to have cut off much of the old veneer first though. I always hate cutting into old crap with the jointer. There is always the risk of hitting metal or sand.


The wood on the front of the drawer wasn't very nice looking, so I used a pre-finished scrap of plywood as a new drawer front. I made it slightly oversized so it covered the bottom and sides of the drawer's box.


I added some 3/4" plywood to the bottom of the box for mounting the office chair base. With the bottom of the box only 1/2" thick, I didn't want to screw the chair base directly onto that.


Finally, an old drawer handle, also from the garbage.

I thought about reusing the old wooden handle (which looked ok after I sanded the stain and dirt off it), but with the rest of the box already varnished, I didn't want to add an unvarnished handle.


It turns out, I had counterbored the holes for the handle's screws a bit too deep, so the screws were slightly too long. Two washers behind the handle fixed that, and I think it actually looks better that way.


Welder placed on the cart.

The drawer is useful for keeping extra welding wire, welder tips and welding mask lenses. It's nice to have a logical place for that stuff.

And other than the glue, brad nails, and eight drywall screws, the whole thing was built from material that came from the garbage!

And it took only two hours to build, including filming the process. But that's not counting thinking about it and deciding which pieces of wood to use before I started. Sometimes deciding which wood to use takes a long time!


Update:
I was intending to mostly weld outside, but I wanted to experiment with the welder on a rainy day. Using a homemade blower and some dryer vent hose, I rigged up a welding smoke extractor. Just blow it outside. Works really well.


I have since built a workbench on wheels that now holds the welder. I just wheel the whole workbench outside for stuff like welding that makes lots of smoke.


See also: