Mobile Worktable #4: Scenes from the project in-progress (part 4)

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Blog entry by DonnyBahama posted 07-23-2011 09:11 AM 3755 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Scenes from the project in-progress (part 2) Part 4 of Mobile Worktable series Part 5: Finishing up »

Well, the table is on its feet now. The caster jacks work, but not well. A number of problems have come up – which Norm failed to mention or caution me about. There needs to be some slackl/space between the various pieces that make up the retractable casters… Norm says the caster panels should tuck under (and be suported by) the end stretchers (which they’re hinged to) – but without a little slack there, the caster panel doesn’t flop all the way down (which in turn prevents the caster jacks from flopping into place.) Likewise, a little space is needed (between the bottoms of the front/rear stretchers and the tops of the caster jacks) when attaching the two via hinges.

Anyway, as it is right now, when you lift the end of the table, the caster jacks don’t want to drop all the way into place. Their stasis is to hang about 10 to 15 degrees off of vertical:

That may not be a big deal – the casters still drop and are held in place and it rolls around as it’s designed to—but what is a big deal is that it’s really tough to raise the casters by pulling on the rope. This became even more true once I moved the MDF top in place.

The slide-out support for the flip-up work surface is done, though…

The shop-made drawer-glide with self-adhesive UHMW (Woodcraft “Slick Strips”) bearings are smooth and work really well. (I need to get a picture from the other end so the glide mechanisms can be seen.)

Tomorrow, I’ll be mounting the top and installing the flip-up shelf and maybe making the lift jack. (It’s pretty heavy with the top resting on it – difficult for a 76-year-old guy to lift the end so the caster jacks will drop into place.) I also need to install the lower shelf – and figure a way to make those retractable casters work more smoothly/with less effort.

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

2 comments so far

View Sylvain's profile


789 posts in 2766 days

#1 posted 07-23-2011 07:30 PM


Interesting work.

The pictures don’t show how you put the hinges for the caster jacks.

The drawing explain why it might not come vertically. The last part of the drawing offers a solution which takes advantage of the non-verticality as it would then be self locking.

If you want your caster jack to hang vertically, the hinge must be at the vertical of the center of gravity. You may choose to change the way the hinge is used or to move the center of gravity by adding mass to the right of the caster jack.

Sorry, I don’t know how to do to show the complete picture, it seems you have to click on it to view it all.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View DonnyBahama's profile


215 posts in 2798 days

#2 posted 07-23-2011 07:36 PM

Thank you, Sylvain! That makes perfect sense, now! I did try adding weight to the right of the caster jack (by clipping a small pair of vise grips to the eyelet that’s inserted into the caster jacks) and that did seem to work. What puzzles me, though, is that my design is based on (and pretty much identical to) what I saw on New Yankee Workshop… somehow Norm Abrams is defying gravity! (I’ve always suspected Norm had superhuman powers!)

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

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