Why are shop carts so valuable?

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Forum topic by TheGreatJon posted 02-18-2015 03:48 AM 1141 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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337 posts in 1232 days

02-18-2015 03:48 AM

I’ve never done any woodworking in a production setting. I’ve only ever played around in hobby shops and custom shops, so this question might just be from a lack of production experience. Regardless, I am wondering why old, beat up wooden shop carts sell for such a premium. I was at an auction recently and saw about 50 of these carts sell for $80-130 each. I ended up with a cart of my own on accident because I wanted some stuff that was piled on top of it. After bidding they said it was all part of the lot. It is handy, but I don’t see why it would be better than the metal shop carts, or a bunch of 2×4s glued up and mounted with casters.

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8 replies so far

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#1 posted 02-18-2015 03:51 AM

urban chic….
modern industrial…
Call it what you want, but trendy costs money!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

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#2 posted 02-18-2015 03:53 AM

The casters are what makes it pricey. Good casters are freaking expensive. Most of those are probably rated for 300-400lbs each or more. Especially if they have solid steel casters.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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337 posts in 1232 days

#3 posted 02-18-2015 03:54 AM

Ah ha. I just did a few google searches and found what you’re talking about. Apparently I’m not cool enough, because it would irritate me if my coffee table went rolling around everywhere.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

View JAAune's profile


1799 posts in 2316 days

#4 posted 02-18-2015 04:23 AM

The casters we like to use in our shop cost $36 per castor. That’s $144 in wheels per cart we build. Add cost of materials plus the shop rate for the time spent making a cart and it’s going to be at least $200 to build a new shop cart.

For a commercial setting, quality casters are valuable because no one wants to spend a minute coaxing a reluctant cart to move 50 feet to the next machine. Cheap casters don’t work so well once a cart gets loaded with 400lbs of wood and clamps.

However, I don’t care much for those low, industrial carts because they aren’t built for the sort of work we do. Taller carts are preferable.

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Jim Finn

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#5 posted 02-18-2015 12:44 PM

The ones I have seen have cast iron wheels. Because of air quality laws casting of iron in this country has almost disappeared.

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7736 posts in 2006 days

#6 posted 02-18-2015 01:59 PM

Because “old and broken in” is the new black :-)

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#7 posted 02-18-2015 04:05 PM

In our molding plant we built our own carts out of steel. They were 40” wide and 92” long. We ended up with about 350 carts. We could put 6 2×4 standards on them. Most of them had 4 swivel casters on them. The carts were rated for 4500 lbs. They each paid for themselves within 6 months easily. We couldn’t have gotten by without them. Once a bundle of wood had gone through the gang rip saw the were light enough to go through the rest of the process. We had 5 forklifts but we would have needed at least 3 more forklifts without the carts. Two men could push the loaded carts wherever they were needed and they moved through the plant in a linear fashion instead of the way you would normally carry a bundle on a forklift so they also saved a lot of room and all of the lumber and moldings went through the operation in a more orderly fashion.

In my personal shop just about every machine and workbench or cart is on rollers except for my biggest machines and my main workbench. I make sure that my carts are also for storage and have drawers and shelves. My shop is a little crowded and this gives me a little more flexibility.

One of the reasons those old beat up carts sell for so much is because some people build tables out of them.

You use to be able to buy these for as little as $15.00 a piece in an industrial auction. Don’t ask me why somebody would pay that much for a wore out lumber cart. But, hey, this is America.

helluvawreck aka Charles

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642 posts in 1752 days

#8 posted 02-18-2015 05:07 PM

People take and repurpose them into coffee tables, there is a demand for them on the DIY market to do this so therefore the market can raise the price on them because people will pay it. This is a picture of a cart from Restoration Hardware that sells for $995.

So at that price you can see how paying a couple of hundred bucks and cleaning one up seems like a steal of a deal.

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