Making a workbench that is both massive and mobile is no small feat. Most of the approaches I have seen have one of the following complications:
1. The mobile base is outboard of the legs. You trip on them. You need new front teeth.
2. The mobile base has “locking” wheels that fail to “lock” completely.
3. The mobile base has spindly wheels that cannot climb a single layer of sawdust.
4. The mobile base is very complicated or expensive.
This week, reader Phil Donehower of North Carolina sent me photos of the mobile base he installed in the legs of his French-style workbench. I think his idea has real merit and might help spark some neurons in your own noggin.
Here’s how it works. The hardware lives in a cavity in the bottom of each leg and is raised and lowered by all-thread rod that runs from the casters up to the benchtop.
Donehower began with four 2″ swivel-plate casters and attached them to 1-1/2″ x 2″ rectangular steel tubing that he cut to the same size as the caster plate. (See here for the tubing: http://www.speedymetals.com/s-202-rectangular-tube.aspx).
He attached the 1/2″ x 13tpi all-thread rod to the steel tubing using 1/2″x 13tpi hex nuts and washers. The all-thread runs through a 1/2″ steel hanger plate attached to each leg (see http://www.duffcompany.com/catalog/hangers.pdf for details).
To raise and lower the casters he uses a screwdriver to turn the all-thread rod through holes in the benchtop.
In my never-ending effort to meddle, I wonder if instead of a screwdriver you could modify the all-thread to accept a nut driver that is chucked in a cordless drill. That would be fast and easy.
In any case, Donehower said the system works great and cost him only about $40 in materials.
– Christopher Schwarz