Not Your Father's Planer Cart

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Project by Lenny posted 08-18-2013 09:05 PM 6474 views 35 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Like you, I enjoy making things from wood. However, when it comes to designing a project, I feel I am lacking. For that reason, I usually turn to my woodworking magazines for inspiration on what to build and how to build it. Two years ago when I saw this planer cart project in the October 2011 issue of Woodworker’s Journal (WWJ), I knew I would one day make it. The author of the article and designer of the cart is Chris Marshall. I recently sold my Makita planer and bought a DeWalt (DW735) and decided the time to build the cart had come; I contacted WWJ via e-mail and asked if they would check with Chris to see if he has been happy with the cart and if he would change anything were he to make the cart today. To my surprise Chris himself wrote back to me. He expressed that unfortunately due to a personal move from one state to another, he has not really put the cart to use. In fact, he admitted that it still has boxes from the move sitting on it. He did make a few comments/suggestions but nothing too significant.

I applaud Chris as I think he covered all bases in his design. The cart has support surfaces on three sides, a shelf below and is mobile due to 3” locking casters. Chris even suggests adding 50 lbs. of sand in the space below the bottom shelf for additional ballast if one feels the need or if you want to get away with not locking the casters.

This is an expensive project. WWJ tricked out this cart and went with the best lumber and hardware. If made as prescribed in the article it would cost about $472, not including screws and finish! With no intent to impugn WWJ or Chris, my tact was to cut costs AND look at this as a utilitarian project. Chris indicated that it took the better part of three sheets of ¾” Baltic birch plywood. He added that it could be made from 2 sheets of 4 by 8 cabinet grade ply. That’s what I opted for and saved $129. I purchased the hardware from three different sources: Rockler (15% off promo they sent to me), Woodcraft (10% off for birthday month) and Home Depot (best price for piano hinges and locking casters). While 34” full-extension drawer slides were used in the article, I purchased 28” feeling they would be sufficient and far less costly. I purchased a similar but smaller roller assembly, again saving costs. The end result is that my cost was about $210 versus the $472.

The key features of the cart are:
1. Pull-out table for outfeed support. With the 28” drawer slides, there is ample support for long boards. No need to scurry around to the outfeed side to catch the exiting board. When working on shorter boards, you just tuck the extension table back in.
2. Flip-up wings for staging work pieces. Need to gradually plane several boards? Place them on the left wing, run them through and stack them on the right wing. Crank down the planer and run them through from right to left, etc.
3. Extendable locking braces. I think Chris outdid himself on this design. You mill the brace from hardwood to fit in the t-track slot. Bore a hole in the brace for a t-bolt to come through and lock it down with a ratchet lever knob. Ingenius!

Here are a couple of photos of the brace mechanism:

The overall dimensions of the surface with the wings up are 40” x 46” and on the casters it sits 28” high. With the 28” drawer slides, when the pull out table is fully extended, it measures about 70” from the infeed side of the cart to the roller. The finish (not yet applied) will be two coats of polyurethane for durability.

Here’s a shot of my former planer cart:

The build was rather straightforward with mostly butt joints using glue and screws. A few joints involved a rabbet or dado. Chris of course made his cart with publication in the magazine in mind so; he recommended filling all countersunk screws. Keeping with the utilitarian theme, except for the horizontal surfaces, I did not fill the countersinks. I needed a helper to turn the cart over to install the drawer slides and casters. Overall it was a fun project and an item I expect to put to use regularly. It will take up a good deal more real estate in the shop but it will be worth it.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

35 comments so far

View TurnTurnTurn's profile


614 posts in 4319 days

#1 posted 08-18-2013 09:12 PM

Some great ideas, very nice work. Thx for sharing

-- TurnTurnTurn

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3217 days

#2 posted 08-18-2013 09:53 PM

Nice! Added to Favs…

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View littlecope's profile


3131 posts in 4712 days

#3 posted 08-18-2013 09:55 PM

That’ll do the trick Lenny… I like the pick-up leaves for stacks of work, nice feature!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4513 days

#4 posted 08-18-2013 10:34 PM

what a nice project lenny, i surly could use some nice infeed and outfeed tables for my planer, but ive had mine like it is for so long, i dont think i could handle a change, lol..but you did a great job and saved quite a bit money wise, it looks very nice, and i do think it will make your planing expierance much nicer, i have a question, i know you probably told what that unit is on the wall, but i cant remember, is it a heater, and if so, can you tell me about it..thanks..hope your doing well…oh i realized that my doctor is from RHOAD ISLAND…his last name is beretta, and i think his dad was well known in the area he lived, ya never know, ive seen we can live in a small world..take care lenny….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Lenny's profile


1720 posts in 4737 days

#5 posted 08-18-2013 10:46 PM

Thanks for the comments folks. Grizz, it is a heating unit. I will send a PM.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Gerry's profile


264 posts in 4450 days

#6 posted 08-18-2013 10:47 PM

You’ve done it again. Nice job on a very useful cart. I have a cart for my planer (dewalt) but w.o. the outfeed support.
Currently using an outfeed roller stand. My shop config. Would support a pull out and a left side
Pull up shelf. Hmmmmmm, ggot to go to the drawing board…....

-- -Gerry, Hereford, AZ ” A really good woodworker knows how the hide his / her mistakes.”

View Dogboy's profile


94 posts in 3822 days

#7 posted 08-18-2013 10:47 PM


-- No mistakes, just kindling

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5092 days

#8 posted 08-19-2013 12:02 AM

Ha, My 735 sits on a Workmate.
I gotta fix that. Thanks for the inspiration.

Nice build Sir,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4785 days

#9 posted 08-19-2013 12:09 AM

That is a pretty tricked out cart Lenny !
And that T-track locking brace is cool.
Plus, those side wings sure increase the workspace.
I think you’ll like that planer. I have the same one and have beat the hell out of it, but it keeps coming back for more.
Nice job !

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

583 posts in 3587 days

#10 posted 08-19-2013 12:14 AM

Awesome design, favorited and going to, ahem, “borrow” some ideas from this for mine.

-- Matt, Arizona

View Lenny's profile


1720 posts in 4737 days

#11 posted 08-19-2013 12:37 AM

Thanks guys. Gerry, Steve, Eric…always great to hear from you.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View ken_c's profile


338 posts in 4372 days

#12 posted 08-19-2013 12:42 AM

hey, my father has a planer cart just like that :-)

Nice job – those are some useful additions.

View Lenny's profile


1720 posts in 4737 days

#13 posted 08-19-2013 01:13 AM

Ha ha. Good one ken_c. I like it.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View smitty22's profile


714 posts in 4156 days

#14 posted 08-19-2013 01:22 AM

Thanks for posting this Lenny, wonderful upgrade! Are the plans for this available from WWJ or other source? SketchUp version would be wonderful.

I have one just like your last pic, it will soon be history.

-- Smitty

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5287 days

#15 posted 08-19-2013 04:03 AM

this is awesome! I love how you took the plans and made them your own! (cutting costs, etc).

I was hoping for a note on teh new planer—-how is the dewalt? does it run better with a perfectly set up cart?

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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