First project: Flip-top tool stand from Shopnotes

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Project by LDubb posted 08-09-2012 01:52 AM 8133 views 6 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When my dad died a couple years ago, I got his 1964 Shopsmith Mark V and 1968 Powr-Kraft Radial Arm Saw. Each had been disassembled and left in ruins probably 20 years ago. I spent the two years after his death restoring both tools. I hadn’t done any serious (?) woodworking since shop class in junior high school, except for simple lumber cuts and drilling holes for my kids’ school projects and various small house projects. Now that the tools are up and running, I decided to jump right in and build something out of ShopNotes. This is the very first thing that I’ve ever “constructed.”

My goal was to spend less than $20 on it. So I took about a month of gathering scraps from Home Depot and claiming hardware from Freecycle before starting. I ended up spending just under $14 from start to finish.

I followed the directions verbatim, except that I used 2.5” castors, instead of 3” (because I got them free). Each time there was a technique that I didn’t know how to do, I looked in Power Tool Woodworking for Everyone and on YouTube (that’s how I found this forum). Almost everything worked exactly like I hoped and I learned that I am still trainable (wife will debate that).

Now a few questions…

1. What tools should I put on this? My sander is not attached yet. I also have a miter saw, router, bench grinder, and a couple other items. When I rebuilt the Shopsmith I got rid of many of the tools that the SS has available as accessories.

2. Does this need to be stained or sealed? The plywood is birch and the kickboards, supports, and spacers are poplar.

3. What should I build next?

-- Lewis in Lewisville, TX

14 comments so far

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 3650 days

#1 posted 08-09-2012 02:09 AM

Good work.
Most people use them for planner and miter saw or a drill press if the height is long enough. larger tools in general since they are heavier to move around.
flip-tops have the convenience of providing two in one space but on the other hand take a way the space that could be used for drawers.

-- Router รจ ancora il mio nome.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3173 posts in 3372 days

#2 posted 08-09-2012 03:39 AM

I am building that exact flip top mobile cart…well sorta. I am using leftover 2x material from a workbench I dismantled. I will be mounting my Dewalt planer on one side and a Harbor Freight oscillating sander on the other side. Can’t sand and plane at the same time so… :-)

My miter saw is too big to be mounted on a flip top. I am considering mounting a bench grinder and a belt sander on another cart. I have a small shop ( one car garage) so mobility is a big plus. A lot of my stuff winds up in the driveway out front where I use it under a pop-up canopy.

Check to see if your miter saw will fit. Or hang your grinder on the other side.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Ken90712's profile


17575 posts in 3330 days

#3 posted 08-09-2012 08:25 AM

I built this same project when it first came out.

Nice job!!!

I have my Dewalt planer and my sliding 12 inch Hatachi miter saw on mine and love it. I stained mine and sprayed it with some Varnish that was getting old. you done have to seal it.

I would conside making some kind of router table once you have one you’ll wonder how you lived with out one.

Good luck.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Oldtool's profile


2723 posts in 2332 days

#4 posted 08-09-2012 11:58 AM

Nice build. I especially like the fact you set your limit at $20, and achieved it for $14. We think alike in this respect, being very “frugal”.
I think you would be best to answer your own questions, because you know your woodworking better than anyone else. Mount the tools you would use most on the cart, and the least used get stored in a spot less accessible.
My preference for finishing jigs is extreme minimal, as long as they’ll function fine without it. I made a router sled for flattening boards, and I simply put a coat of wax on the top, with occasional additional applications, so the router would slide easily.
Build what you find you have a desire to build next. Woodworking is supposed to be fun, not a regimented list of things to accomplish. That would then be “work”.
Happy woodworking.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3373 days

#5 posted 08-09-2012 01:38 PM

First off. Welcome to the wonderful, and sometimes insane world of woodworking.

Secondly, and far more importantly, I am sorry to hear of how you came about your tools. I would much rather have my Dad around still than to have his stuff… But at least you have what are now heirlooms and memories.. Hopefully you can make your Dad proud through the use of his tools…

To answer your questions…

1. What tools should I put on this? Typically, flip top tool stands are used for items such as sanders, lunch box planers, bench grinders, bench top jointers, drill presses (short ones), and even miter saws. Do NOT use them for sliding miter saws, too many movements in too many directions to want to be flipping them around… You may or may not want to mount a router table on this. I doubt it. Keep looking at Shop Notes, and look at some back issues. They have had some great plans for some really cool looking knock down router tables.

2. Does this need to be stained or sealed? It can be. I had a plywood workbench in my shop for 10 years before I gave it to a friend that was completely unfinished with no ill effects. I have started painting a lot of my shop projects out of a desire to not have my shop fixtures contribute to a darkening of my shop. But you don’t have to. Stain / clear coat ARE important if the piece will be exposed to moisture of any sort though. Even sweat from a beer bottle for example… It wouldn’t hurt it to give it a good coat or two of brush on urethane…

3. What should I build next? That is entirely up to your hearts desire… My first getting back into it woodworking project was a step stool for my wife. She’s 5’ even and when we bought our bed with the nice fluffy pillow top mattress when we got married…. well we didn’t take height into consideration… :-)

In my home, as well as my shop, storage is always a problem. I would suggest that if you are looking for project ideas, start digging for storage ideas…. Boxes are a great place to start. And honestly, shop related projects are a fantastic way to build your skills up while building your shop. You can get lots of practice with the joinery styles you are interested in, and you won’t be concerned so much with the results as the process and getting good at it…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Mainiac Matt 's profile (online now)

Mainiac Matt

8407 posts in 2469 days

#6 posted 08-09-2012 04:36 PM

Nice first project….

I have some of my dad’s old tools…. feels good to use them.

-- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2365 days

#7 posted 08-09-2012 05:56 PM

Ok, I need some help on this. What is the “flip” part? Do you put attach a tool to each side of the top and flip it to the one you want to use? If so – what a great spacesaver!

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Oldtool's profile


2723 posts in 2332 days

#8 posted 08-09-2012 06:05 PM

When you finish a project, and it looks this good, you flip head over heels with joy.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

The top flips over for another use.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View John Harris's profile

John Harris

59 posts in 3185 days

#9 posted 08-09-2012 06:18 PM

I am going to play the devil’s advocate and say definitely put a finish on it. I am not a good finisher, so I look at a project like this as a way to practice a new technique. If it comes out nice, you’ll end up with a great looking shop. If it comes out not too great, well, better to practice here then on your first really nice project for inside the house.

Great job!

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3029 days

#10 posted 08-10-2012 12:41 AM

Great first project, and one of the best space savers around. I’m planning on several in my miniscule shop.
On deciding which tools to mount on one of these, nobody seems to have taken weight into account. One heavy tool on one side and a light one on the other side will result in a fight every time you try to flip the other tool to the top. Another thing to consider is balance. Ignore the dimensional center of the tool in favor of the center of gravity so the tool’s weight is centered over the pivot point, as this again makes for easier flipping. If it’s a pain to flip, you’ll avoid using it which is contrary to the purpose.

Have fun.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View chopnhack's profile


375 posts in 2535 days

#11 posted 08-10-2012 01:08 AM

Really nice Lewis! Looks square and functional. I would put some sort of finish even if it is just wax, but I have omitted this step myself on shop furniture so there is no rule there. If your miter saw will fit, I would put it on, if it doesnt, then I would go with the grinder.

-- Sneaking up on the line....

View Sean Reed's profile

Sean Reed

3 posts in 2242 days

#12 posted 08-25-2012 10:34 AM

John _ I cannot send you a mail until I have at least 5 postds – can you help me with the FLL table idea you posted about 3 years ago?

View Sean Reed's profile

Sean Reed

3 posts in 2242 days

#13 posted 08-25-2012 01:24 PM

To John Harris – FLL is the First Lego League – I built a plywood table last year and it stayed in one place – this time I will be traveling with the table – it is just too heavy to constantly move around. I like your concept but was wondering how you connected the tubes together – any sketches, diagrams, or instructions would be helpful

View LDubb's profile


5 posts in 2273 days

#14 posted 09-22-2012 11:56 PM

So here’s an update from my project last month. Thanks, everyone, for the great suggestions. I lived with several different tools on the new table and finally decided on my small disc and belt sander and my miter saw. My initial concern was that I use the miter saw so often and it’s easy to throw in the back of my truck and head to my mom’s or a friend’s and work on a project there. Solution: I bought a new sliding compound miter saw. Problem solved.

I also stained the table with some leftover stain and then sprayed a sealant on it. I really suck at staining. I’m not happy with the result, but it is just shop furniture, right?

Anyway, it’s working great in the shop and tucks away when not in use. I’m really pleased with the end result (stain notwithstanding) and glad that I jumped into this project. I learned a great deal and appreciate everyone’s feedback and helpful commentary.

Finally, I asked everyone what the next project should be. It’s an adirondack chair—again out of recycled materials. See my post for that soon.

-- Lewis in Lewisville, TX

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