Mobile Worktable #1: Rolling worktable design

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Blog entry by DonnyBahama posted 06-26-2011 11:10 PM 3164 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Mobile Worktable series Part 2: Scenes from the project in-progress (part 1) »

As I said previously, an incredibly generous guy is giving me his cabinet saw in return for me building him a mobile worktable. Due to his vertigo, he needs a fairly high work surface. I had him hold out his hands at the desired height and measured. It was 44” so that’s reflected in my design.

The model for this work table is one I saw on The New Yankee Workshop – but I made a few improvements. The pull-rope that raises the caster jacks (thus retracting the casters) is permanently attached to the bottom of the stressed-skin box that supports the work surface. This way, my friend doesn’t need to bend over to grab the rope. He also requested a lower shelf for storage so I’ve incorporated one. Also, because he’s in his mid-70s and the table will be fairly heavy (even before he has any projects on it or stuff stored on the lower shelf) so I designed a lift jack. I couldn’t figure out how to round the bottom of the lift jack in Sketchup so there’s just a circle drawn on it at the bottom. Likewise, I plan to round over the corners (vertical edges) at the top of the lift jack for more comfortable operation.

In the Sketchup 3D Warehouse, I call this “Rolling/Stationary Work Table (Basic)” – “basic” because I have a plan in mind that incorporates drawers in (and below) the stress-skin box and has a built-in, enclosed lever mechanism that will raise all four caster jacks by sliding the lever from left to right.

Here’s the Google Sketchup model – hope you like it.

-- Founding member of the (un)Official LumberJock's Frugal Woodworking Society -

2 comments so far

View DonnyBahama's profile


215 posts in 2525 days

#1 posted 06-27-2011 03:32 PM

Update: I met with Nick last night. He loved the design and was amazed by Google Sketchup. He agreed that we should edge-band the MDF sub-top, leaving a 1/8” lip above it for the sacrificial masonite top to sit down in. He requested one modification – he wants the ability to sit at the workbench, “belly up” to the worktable with his knees tucked under. He suggested that we indent a section in the lower shelf, but I don’t think that can be done without compromising the integrity of the design. (That front stretcher needs to be intact.) I suggested a flip-up extension with flip-out supports (something akin to to a drop-leaf table). He liked that better. (Even more work surface!)

He had a standard 30” bar stool in his garage so I had him sit on it and hold his hands out at what he thought would be the perfect work surface height. It measured 40” – 4” less than the previously determined “optimal” height. We thought about meeting halfway at 42”. I put the tape measure at 42” and he tested it while sitting on the bar stool. It seemed fine to him but I wanted to do one last test. I had him stand up again and put this hands out at what he considered the optimal height. It measured 40” so we settled on that.

The last thing I measured was how high a footrest should be while he was seated on the bar stool – if I could get the lower shelf at that height, it would be a very comfortable setup for him. We measured it at 9~10”. Considering the height of the casters, there’s no way to get the shelf that low without making the caster jacks really, really short, and I’d be concerned that they might not function properly if we did that. I was showing everything to my wife and she came up with the idea to just screw a long strip of plywood to the front surface for use as a foot rail. Marvelous idea!

Side-note: At one point, Nick said to me, “I hope you’ve got plenty of room in your garage, because when I die, this is going to be yours.” I had to fight back a tear. I don’t have room for this gigantic thing, but when the time comes, you can bet I’ll make room.

-- Founding member of the (un)Official LumberJock's Frugal Woodworking Society -

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4394 days

#2 posted 06-27-2011 09:54 PM

Nice. A happy customer.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

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