Workbench goes mobile

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Mobile assembly table

So working in a small / compact woodworking workshop does present me with some issues. One of the biggest issues is how best to use the space. I don’t have many big machines at the moment, but as time goes on I hope to invest in a few, so space and how I use it will become much more of an issue.

I’ve read a fair bit about how to get the most out of a small space and it seems that making things mobile is the key. Being able to vary how the work moves around the workshop is really important for different size projects. So being able to move the table saw, assembly table, pillar drill, workbench and others is what I have been thinking about. Bear in mind some of these things can be up to 500kgs and moving them myself is usually the only option.

So I have decide to put castors / wheels on the plywood assembly table as a start. Now this should b e easy, just screw them to bottom of the table legs and off you go…. well no. The problem with that is that as soon as you have things on wheels… they start to move around. They start to rock and sway when you are working on them. This is not great from a safety point of view and no good from an accuracy point of view either. Having solid and stable platforms to work on is really essential.

I wanted a way to have the assembly table mobile, but steady and solid. I remembered watching a video by Norm Abrams about making castors that can lift out the way when not being used. I couldn’t find the video but after a few rough sketches I figured it out.

Basically the castors are mounted on boards that hinge up out of the way when not needed. The boards that the castors are mounted to can then be held down in place by wooden chocks. These chocks can be lifted out of the way with a short length of rope so that the wheels can lift off the ground and the legs then sit firmly back down on the floor.

It’s actually pretty simple but I am finding it quite hard to describe here. Hopefully the pictures below will make it a lot clearer. I bought the industrial strength castors a while ago on Amazon, the hinges I had from a previous project and the plywood was just off cuts I had lying around.

I drilled holes for bolts to attach the castors to the plywood boards and countersunk the nuts so they would sit flush in the holes. Having the bolts heads and nuts flush means that the hinged boards and castors don’t catch as they move or turn.

With the castors in place I am now able to move the large assembly table around my workshop without breaking my back and have it rock steady when I need work on it. I am sure this approach could be used on other projects / applications.

If you have tried making something like this then please send me photos of how you have made things mobile in your workshop, I’d love to see them.

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