Too much hassle for not enough stability

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Review by PurpLev posted 08-23-2010 07:01 AM 4680 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Too much hassle for not enough stability No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I think Rockler Rocks! but with this one – they hit rock bottom.

I have seen a friend having issues putting this mobile base together some time ago, and figured it’s not worth the hassle, but came upon one today myself. I picked up a shaper, and the guy (to which I am grateful) threw in this mobile base for free.

The Bad!
Out of the box (actually even before that) it is stated that you are responsible to providing the lumber which will size the mobile base – no worries, since it’s custom sized to fit different machines, thats reasonable. however – my previous mobile base requred 3/4” plywood which we all have in the shop. THIS one however requires 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” material – I had to actually MILL lumber for the mobile base. Not only that – the size of the brackets is actually wider than 1 1/2”, but since the are pressed, the bottom is rounded off, so anything wider may not fit so well – so it’s a lose-lose situation with sizing.

Next was drilling the holes to fit the brackets to the lumber. I am by no means new to woodworking, nor to drilling holes – but it took me an hour to get the 20 holes in the parts done properly – frustrating to say the least.

After that it was fitting in the lag screws, at which point the lumber is slightly loose in the brackets – knowing now what I know, I should have shimmed it with some wedges to tighten it up in there, but I chose to tighten the lag bolts instead – which bend the metal brackets – more frustration, and more time to get this done.

Once (finally) put together, I placed it on the floor, and lowered the shaper from the back of the car onto it. at this point, I noticed that when I lift the wheel up or down, the wood in the brackets changes position – on the parts that I chose NOT to over tighten the bolts to get a better hold on the wood as to not bend the metal. I think this is just poor design

The good?
After all the hassle, and trouble – it moves the shaper fairly easily across my broken floors.

For the price, there are far better mobile bases that require more available parts (3/4” ply), are by far easier to install and setup (this one took me 2 hours, the ‘other’ one took me 20 min). the design on this mobile base is lacking compared to others.

Again – if this base would save me $50 – sure I’d work through it, but it’s at the same price range (or more than) other bases that would save me 2 hours that I could put into better uses than ‘setting up mobile base’

I would not recommend this mobile base. way too much trouble to put together for my taste.

I still love Rockler though ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4458 days

21 comments so far

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4191 days

#1 posted 08-23-2010 09:15 AM

Yeah, pretty much. I have 3 of these. I got one for my 6” Jet jointer, then picked up 2 more so I could do a few more tools later. I ended up building one for the Craftsman 15” drill press, and later I used the 3rd for what I knew I’d eventually need one for – the 18” Craftsman band saw. The jointer and drill press are nice, but I almost never move them. It’s more for cleaning that I’ll pull them out of their positions. The band saw needed to move around a lot, but little by little I kind of found a spot where it always sat. The brackets on this thing just provide too much wobble on a heavy machine like that bandsaw, which is over 6’ tall. Too, the Craftsman band saw itself isn’t really that solidly build – all stamped metal construction – so combined, it was just rocking itself apart. The blade would be moving 1/4”-1/2” back and forth in the slot when it was idling, and nothing would settle it, save pulling the machine out of the rolling base. It hasn’t been in there for ages.

I agree that it’s really convoluted to put together, too. You have to take measurements, then subtract sections of the brackets to figure out how long to cut pieces. I remember being repeatedly confused on all 3 builds. I picked up Mangaris™ 2×2s from a local building supply shop. It’s a really hard decking wood, like ipe, and it saved me ripping lumber to size. I would love to have gotten these, but the ones we got, these, are $60, vs. the $190 of the others. I couldn’t justify the price. Maybe someday I’ll get one just for the band saw, but really, I’d like to upgrade band saws one day (maybe Laguna, but lots more research before I ever decide), and that’s a bigger priority.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View ellen35's profile


2749 posts in 4242 days

#2 posted 08-23-2010 12:23 PM

Thanks for the informative review! It will make me think twice about this one… unless the world comes to a stop and I have unlimited time!!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 5028 days

#3 posted 08-23-2010 02:29 PM

Since I don’t have a Rockler store anywhere near me, I do all my business with them online. While I agree they are a good source overall, with fast shipping and excellent customer service, ordering from them is always a bit of a crap shoot. Unfortunately, they do carry some products that just aren’t very good quality, IMO. It sounds like this is one of them.

Thanks for the review.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4458 days

#4 posted 08-23-2010 03:14 PM

Gerry – this is the ‘other’ mobile base I have, it uses 3/4” plywood for the base, putting it together was a snap, and it does fantastic!:

when I got mine it was sold under HTC brand label, now woodcraft is selling it under their own woodriver name.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Karson's profile


35224 posts in 5210 days

#5 posted 08-23-2010 03:29 PM

Sharon Thanks for the review.

I’ve been building mine out of 2X4 with a lap joint at the ends and using regular castors.

I drill holes for where the legs are for the tool and they sit down into the holes in the base.

I use locking castors where needed.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4458 days

#6 posted 08-23-2010 03:38 PM

Thanks Karson – I was thinking about doing the very same thing, totaling the base at ~$15 for parts, but I just wanted to have the base done so that I could unload my wifes car :) and since the guy gave me this mobile base I figured I’d just do my best.

If I had not time constraints – I’d build a mobile base like Karson suggest. would be less of a pain, and the cost would be half (if mobile base is bought). I have a good source of casters on eBay.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View RedOakRomance's profile


11 posts in 3681 days

#7 posted 08-23-2010 08:24 PM

Thanks for posting this. I bought one of these bases years back and was nearly defeated by the assembly process. As a matter of fact, I worked at Rockler for a while and because of my experience, I used to steer people towards a different mobile base that was priced $5 cheaper and didn’t require milling parts.

-- "Life is good..."

View ARTbyGUNTHER's profile


26 posts in 3652 days

#8 posted 08-23-2010 10:00 PM

Thanks for posting this. I am in the market for 2+ mobile bases as I just bought some new tools and was considering this base. I think I’ll pass and try the HTC2000/3000 or the one Sharon mentioned (above).

Edit: Lol @ myself; I just noticed I copied RedOakRomance’s opening line. Sorry about that; I must be tired. :)

Second edit: Doh! Ok I’m heading off to take a nap: I didn’t even notice that Sharon was the one that posted the original review. Definitely need to stay away from the sharp, spinning things today.

-- Gunther, Marietta GA -- So many worlds, so much to do, so little done, such things to be. -Alfred, Lord Tennyson

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4458 days

#9 posted 08-23-2010 10:10 PM

lol…. sounds like nap time!

FWIW – copy pasting is efficiency! although it doesn’t sounds like you were very efficient and actually typed the whole things – 3 times!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4041 days

#10 posted 08-23-2010 10:42 PM

FWIW, the 1.5”x1.5” stock requirement could EASILY be filled with 2×2 SYP. I have the HF version of this and it uses 1.25” x 1.25”...

Still no big deal. I mean after all this is for woodworking equipment right? Why not mill it to size?

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4458 days

#11 posted 08-23-2010 10:53 PM

an extra 1.5 hours to ‘setup mobile base’ – thats actually a big deal to me. I don’t have that time to begin with, and when I do, I would really rather spend it on more useful things ;)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3989 days

#12 posted 08-23-2010 11:22 PM

Problem with building your own is the cost is $15 plus the price for 4 nice casters (pretty expensive). I’ve cheaped out on casters and have regretted it every time.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View PurpLev's profile


8574 posts in 4458 days

#13 posted 08-24-2010 01:07 AM

Jason – the $15 I mentioned WAS for the NICE casters :) check my router table blog – you can see the 4” casters I got.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View JasonWagner's profile


527 posts in 3989 days

#14 posted 08-24-2010 02:26 AM

Interesting, I must have glanced over that. Thanks for the info PurpLev…

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4079 days

#15 posted 08-24-2010 02:43 AM

I have all my machines on the Rockler all terrain mobile base. They are expensive…but I have not had even the tiniest problem with them. They go where I want them and they don’t care if it is over cords or through crappy concrete or what have you. I looked at the one you reviewed when I was thinking about a base for my bandsaw and decided to pass on it as I looked at the wood required to assemble. The base is inexpensive but to make your own wood rails is not…considering time and materials. I also liked the fact that the all terrain version has bigger wheels and better locking mechanism. Nothing is worse then having your machine go mobile while you are trying to push wood through it.

Thanks for your review….and now I am really glad that I chose to purchase the heavier duty (more expensive) base.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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