Flip-top tool cart

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Project by ic3ss posted 07-22-2015 10:20 PM 9249 views 18 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a project on my to-do list for quite a long time, a tool cart that will hold the “portable” power tools (enter sarcasm here). The planer weighs almost 80lbs, the spindle sander an easy 50, and the other two are just a hassle to deal with.

I found the idea about a year ago on the web, and really liked what other folks have been doing with the design. I tend to keep my shop furniture pretty basic, as long as it meets my needs. I had planned on making a couple of drawers to go in under the spindle sander but as yet I don’t have a pressing need for them. I’ll get to it later.

Had I to do it over again, I would probably make the walls double thick for it to resist bowing better. The longest wall has a bow in it from when I put it together and with the weight on it, it will flex a bit if pushed too hard. Below the floor I glued and screwed a 3” wide triple thick perimeter and that’s what the walls are screwed to. It’s secure, it’s just too thin I think.

Picked up some casters at Harbor Fright for pretty cheap. This was one of the few times I admit HF had a good deal. These casters are by no means bullet proof, but they bear the weight well and run smooth. I’d buy them again. I’ve been using the cart for a couple of months now, I needed it right after I finished my workbench as I was having to keep these tools on the floor or on the table saw. I’m telling you, that planer is a real SOB to pick up off the floor. It’s really nice not having to move these around any more, and having them always available.

I made my cart a bit larger than many I’ve seen so it takes up a bit more floor space. I can’t recommend the basic design of a flip-top cart strongly enough, Its really made a difference in keeping my shop organized.

Have a great day.


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

16 comments so far

View fivecodys's profile


566 posts in 1055 days

#1 posted 07-22-2015 11:03 PM

I really like this idea!
I wish I had seen it before I build my flip top cart.
Very clever sir.
Thanks for sharing.

-- Chem, Central California

View boatz's profile


79 posts in 1070 days

#2 posted 07-23-2015 12:13 AM

Nicely done

-- You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes you just might find, you'll get what you need

View Bureaucrat's profile


18337 posts in 3071 days

#3 posted 07-23-2015 12:43 AM

Nice job.
I have four flip top carts and like them over all. The hardest part for me was deciding which tool to put on which cart. Should the belt/disc sander go on the opposite side of the drill press or would it be better opposite the planer. I made my choices but second guess myself regularly. I have the belt/disc sander opposite the grinder and drill press; the planer opposite the scroll saw; the jointer (4”) opposite the miter saw; and the band saw is on the flip side of my out feed table for the TS.
No matter how much I second guess my self, it beats having to lift any of these things!

-- Gary D. Stoughton, WI

View ic3ss's profile


386 posts in 2196 days

#4 posted 07-23-2015 01:10 AM

Yea, I forgot to talk about the spindle sander. I needed a way for it to be on the cart but have the table at the right height for me. I like to use it a bit lower than some people perhaps, like to be able to lean over and look straight down on the work. If I had put it on the flip top it would have been way too high, so I made this step for it to sit on. Anyway, it works very well.


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View jshroyer's profile


80 posts in 1078 days

#5 posted 07-23-2015 11:38 AM

For casters i got the harbor freight moving dollies because they were cheaper. I just had to disassemble them.


View majuvla's profile


8700 posts in 2287 days

#6 posted 07-23-2015 12:15 PM

Nice set for those who have space for it.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Underdog's profile


878 posts in 1455 days

#7 posted 07-23-2015 12:51 PM

Never thought about incorporating a stationary top to the side of the flip top cabinet. Interesting idea. And yes, these beat picking all the equipment off the floor to use them. I need at least one more of these to get two more machines off my floor.
You could retrofit a face frame on that to stiffen the sides up a bit.
Great stuff, thanks for posting.

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View gotwoodworkshop's profile


7 posts in 474 days

#8 posted 07-23-2015 02:25 PM

Do you just use the slide bolt latch to lock the side in place, or is there any other kind of stop to so that it doesn’t keep wanting to spin? I have wanted to make one of these for the longest time, but for whatever reason the concept is really hard for me to grasp when wanting to do it. I assume there is just a threaded rod that runs through the center of the flip top, is that correct? Any help or information would be great! The cart looks awesome by the way, great job!

View Rockfoot's profile


28 posts in 459 days

#9 posted 07-23-2015 03:34 PM

Nice project. I’ve been contemplating doing the same for my bench grinder and disk sander. The grinder doesn’t get used much, but when I need it, it’s a pain to dig it out and set it up in the bench.

View ic3ss's profile


386 posts in 2196 days

#10 posted 07-23-2015 05:59 PM

Thanks for all the great comments, I really didn’t expect this much interest.

So, I only have the sliding bolts to keep the top in position. I put two of them on, one for each side so in both positions I can lock both bolts on each side at the same time. More is always better.

When I built the top, I cut out three boards the same size. Two for each face, and one for the center. The center was cut in half. I then made a sandwich with the two halves in the middle, and I put a solid steel rod between the two halves and glued it all together. The rod can then be slid out of it’s channel. I hand threaded the ends of the rod with a die, I don’t recall the rod diameter or the thread I used, but I made sure it was long enough so that the rod comes out of the top, goes through a large fender washer, then the cart support walls, then anther large flat washer and lastly a Nylock nut. The fender washer is a spacer to make sure the top doesn’t rub on the walls as its rotating.

I used carriage bolts to fasten the tools down to the top, and each of them go all the way through to the other side, so tool placement on both sides had to be planned out before drilling any holes.


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View Blackie_'s profile


4527 posts in 1932 days

#11 posted 07-23-2015 06:42 PM

Very nice Wayne, I like your method on the rotation, you mentioned you had a bow in the side wall, Not sure wall thickness but if 3/4” I would’t think you’d have that issue?

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View ic3ss's profile


386 posts in 2196 days

#12 posted 07-23-2015 06:47 PM

Another thing I forgot to put in the posting. I used 1/2” baltic birch for the whole thing. Where I needed more strength, I just doubled or tripled up plys. I could have added a second ply to the wall, opposing the bows to cancel them out.


-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View greg48's profile


588 posts in 2177 days

#13 posted 07-23-2015 07:55 PM

I think that you may want to go back and double up the the two tall walls. I made mine with 3/4” flake board and doubled them. I still pull the walls a bit when I tighten the eye bolts to secure the top. I do like the side side unit to add an additional “light” tool. BTW, your spot on about having to lug the planner up off the floor overtime you need it.

-- Greg, No. Cal. - "Gaudete in Domino Semper"

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 1712 days

#14 posted 07-23-2015 08:06 PM

Nice job! If you’re really concerned about the outside, longest wall bowing, you can always laminate another 3/4” plywood panel to the outside and it would not be noticeable.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View lumberpete's profile


5 posts in 457 days

#15 posted 07-23-2015 09:13 PM

I have a very small woodshop. This is a great idea.

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