Chris Schwarz's Blog

The Easiest Way to Make Your Bench Mobile

I’ve always resisted adding wheels or a mobile base to my workbenches. They can be complex, in the way of your feet and take some fiddling to engage and disengage.

So we’ve always put our benches up on furniture dollys when we needed to move them.

However, readers have pestered me for years now for ideas on how to make their benches mobile. Most of these people work in a garage workshop where they need to have everything on wheels so it can be pushed aside for the spouse’s car.

They never take me up on my first solution, divorce.

So I offer this idea. I’ve never seen it before, but I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it already. It’s based on a “Shortcut” we published years ago as a way to raise and lower your workbench. But instead of swinging a big block of wood under the feet to raise the bench, I decided to put four 3″ casters there.

I attached two 3″ casters each to two 1-1/2″ x 5″ x 24″ lengths of 2 x 6 that I trimmed up. Then I attached two unswaged utility hinges to each 2 x 6. One hinge for each leg. I had to saw out a 3/8″ x 3/8″ rabbet on the corner of each leg to receive the barrel of the hinge. Then I screwed the hinges to the legs.

I did this to Megan’s bench in about an hour today (that will teach her to leave the office to get a pedicure). Hope she likes it.

The video below shows just how fast this system works. In less than 30 seconds I put the bench up on its wheels and then down again onto the floor.

– Christopher Schwarz

Still More Workbench-related Links and Resources

– “Build an 18th-century Workbench” a new DVD with Christopher Schwarz. Buy this now at the pre-order price and I might win beer money. Seriously.

– See a reader’s solution to a mobile workbench that I posted here. Very cool. A little complicated for my taste.

– My DVD “The Workbench” (Lie-Nielsen Toolworks) shows you how to modify your workbench to improve its workholding abilities.

27 thoughts on “The Easiest Way to Make Your Bench Mobile

  1. Mark S.

    This is SO much better than the way I did it. I modified the workbench plans that I had to use 4×4’s for the legs so that I had a mount for the casters. Live and learn, this way is so much easier.

    I can say that the 4×4 legs did work well and I’ve used it like this for many years. I’ve had 400 pounds or more on the bench and it held steady.

  2. Clay Dowling

    The prevailing thought is that her applying a screwdriver to remove the casters is the best of all possible outcomes for Chris, if she doesn’t like having casters put on her bench. It’s assumed that she’s not a helpless waif, or she wouldn’t be an editor at a woodworking magazine.

  3. Michael

    Is the prevailing thought here that Megan is unable to operate a screw driver and remove Chris’ improvement?

  4. Eric R

    Norm’s way is better.
    And Megan is going to go "ground combat" all over you.
    Sorry dude, my money is on her.

  5. Steven D

    This is a a nice simple solution. I agree with Michael about spring hinges to retract the casters or a small spring middle of the caster board to the strecher. Simply lifting the bench would clear the casters to the retracted position. It would address the concern of toe trap. I don’t see any significant possibility of a toe trap kicking the casters in plac as Chris does in the video. His foot is only under the assembly once the casters are under the legs and strecher. As Chris says, gravity and the casters are then protecting his foot.

  6. Rainer

    Re: "That will teach her"

    Naw… Put a set on her office desk as well, and then make sure she spends a morning each week hunting for her desk and bench. THAT will "teach her!" 😉 You’ve got to live life on the edge.

    Rainer (and I’m sure they’re very pretty feet…)

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