Mobile Assembly Table - Doors and Retractable Casters!

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Project by Mark Whitsitt posted 05-22-2010 06:39 PM 43132 views 22 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Once again, something mobile… nothing special, but useful in my garage shop.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of our local commercial lumber yards that sells cabinetry, doors, flooring, etc. to contractors. They have a door mill where they make all kinds of doors under special order as well as standard products for use in home construction.

I asked if they had any dunnage (damaged) solid core doors, knowing that they probably would, and asked how much they’d want for one. They said $15. So, I went back to the door mill, and one of the best guys you’d ever want to meet, Harold, showed me two solid core oak laminate doors that had some edge damage such that they couldn’t sell them to contractors or home builders. I took both of them!!! Flat, solid, smooth, perfect…

The first picture shows the nearly-finished table with the door mounted on top. It’s 35 1/2” deep and 80” wide. I built it to come out to 38” tall, the same height as my Bosch table saw, so it could be used as infeed/outfeed/side table for that tool.

The second picture shows how I joined almost everything with pocket hole/screws (Kreg jig) just because it results in very clean, strong joints. The apron under the table top is joined to the 4×4 legs with screws from the outside of the apron, but it is joined to the table top using pocket holes.

The third picture shows the 5” casters I installed on the legs. I wanted a smaller caster, but this size allowed the width of the wheel to clear the width of the mounting plate. This, in turn, allows all four legs to rest solidly on the floor, but when the other end is lifted up, only an inch or so, the casters take the weight of the table and the table becomes mobile.

The fourth picture shows the final product, with a 3/16” thick piece of tempered hardboard mounted to the top with double-faced carpet tape, allowing me to replace the top when it gets sufficiently marred and damaged. I cut the top slightly larger than the door so I could flush-trim the top to the door with my Colt router. I also put a coat of wipe-on-poly on the door face to minimize damage to the oak veneer when I change out the hardboard top.

The fifth picture shows the retractable caster mechanism. It is obviously based on the retractable casters in Norm’s Mobile Table project, and found in a number of other LJ member projects. All I have to do is lift this end of the table about 2 inches, and the casters and stop block fall into place. After I set this end down on the casters, this end is now high enough to engage the fixed casters on the other end, making the entire table movable. When the table is in place, I lift on the end of the table again, pulling on the string attached to the stop blocks, and all four legs rest solidly on the floor again.

My garage floor slopes noticeably toward the garage door, and if the fixed casters are pointing to the garage door, the table will start to roll right on out of the garage. That is, until the legs of the table are resting on separate concrete pads that make up my garage floor. When this happens, the legs with the fixed casters do not completely clear the concrete joints which are slightly uneven, and the table stops rolling. To fix this, I still have some tweaking to do on the retractable casters to get them to give their end a little more lift.

This is a permanent temporary fixture in the shop. I intend to build the “new-fangled workbench” in the next year using the other door I bought. My guess is that this table will continue to be a part of my shop even after that gets built (Also with retractable casters!)


-- -- "there are many good reasons to use old hand tools, but moral superiority is NOT one of them..."

5 comments so far

View OttoH's profile


891 posts in 4259 days

#1 posted 05-22-2010 07:42 PM

Great idea getting damaged solid core doors like that, can’t beat the price. I like the way that you set up the wheels, I believe I will wind up stealing or borrowing that idea. Good work.

-- I am responsible for how I respond to everything in my life - - Deadwood SD

View velo_tom's profile


123 posts in 4265 days

#2 posted 05-22-2010 09:46 PM

Love the idea on the solid core door, I’ll be looking into a similar deal in my neck of the woods. Also like how you did the wheels. You say others have done it but I’m fairly new to this site and yours is the first I’ve seen. I’ve favorited this so I can refer to it later as I’m constructing my new shop.

-- There's no such thing as mistakes, just design changes.

View wichle's profile


96 posts in 4196 days

#3 posted 05-23-2010 03:53 AM

My shop space is small so casters are a must. Love your retractable casters. I was trying to figure out this kind of arrangement for one of my benches. I have a bench made wit a solid core door. Bought mine surplus at a local college. They are always changing interiors of buildings. 5 bucks, great bargain, great top.

-- Bill, Michigan "People don't come preassebled, but are glued together by life"

View a1Jim's profile


118267 posts in 4826 days

#4 posted 05-23-2010 03:57 AM

Good project and very useful


View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4364 days

#5 posted 06-11-2010 10:50 PM

niice idea to use doors for a tabletop
thankĀ“s for sharing

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