Making a sheet-goods lumber cart
Here I already have the pieces for the cart cut to length and mocked up. The pieces of plywood and such are going to stand upright, with a few pieces of wood sticking out the back of the rack to keep the sheets from tipping onto each other.
Joining these pieces is best with a mortise to be cut at a right angle to the piece of wood. The pantorouter is a machine that can do that.
I should add, most instances of mortises at a right angle to the grain are the result of poor design. The mortise cuts across too much of the piece of wood, weakening it. A pair of dowels is usually better than a mortise across the grain.
I made a template with three notches in it to position the router for drilling three holes in line side-by-side.
But for the mating pieces I had to jig the workpiece up vertically to drill them. My pantorouter doesn't have a tilting table, so I used a jig to hold the wood. This jig is actually my very first, very basic tenon jig (that I built around 1997).
After that I let the glue dry for an hour before removing the diagonal clamp.
I made some wooden wheels, marking circles with my beam compass, using it with a very short beam to be less awkward.
I then jigged something up to cut the wheels slightly thinner towards the edges. The main goal for this is to make them slightly wider near the "hub", so when they rub against their mounts, they will rub near the middle, with less friction.
Washers on the axles would have solved that problem, but I didn't have any washers of the right size handy. Think of the bump near the hub as an integral washer.
The idea was that the cart only has wheels on the back, and if I need to move it, I'd just pick up the other end with a hand truck. This was inspired by this technique for moving, hitching and unhitching a loaded trailer.
But fully loaded with sheet goods, the cart was very heavy and awkward to manoeuvre this way. It was very difficult to move it other than in a straight line.
This is awkward, but my main motivation for putting wheels on it is that it's easier to move it into position once I decide where it goes (I still haven't figured out a final layout for the shop yet).
But with the cart easy to move in a straight line, it will be easy to pull away from the wall to get at stuff behind it, so I may end up storing more sheet goods there.
Also, with the cart heavier than anticipated, I also added a diagonal brace to the back to give it more side-to-side stiffness.
Most of the "sheet goods" are reclaimed material from the garbage. Except for Baltic birch plywood, I have not bought any new plywood in at least five years. But having moved to the country, my opportunities for scavenging wood from the curb will be fewer, so I may have to buy some new plywood again, maybe a year from now.
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