Sloping garage floor and mobile tool carts.

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Forum topic by mwarning posted 05-08-2017 12:11 PM 2051 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View mwarning's profile


16 posts in 995 days

05-08-2017 12:11 PM

I’m a novice woodworker just starting to assemble a woodshed in my attached 2 car garage. I figured the best way to learn some new techniques would be to build some shop furniture and tool carts.

My garage floor slopes towards the garage doors (ie. away from the house), presumably for water drainage purposes.

Since the shop is small about 20×22, I want everything on casters so I can move things around. I can certainly get locking casters to stop things from moving, but I’m wondering if I need to think about adding some leveling feet in addition so that when I get into position, I can level the tool. I get the feeling that this will be tedious and will really impact my workflow such that I might not do it.

I think I will take that approach for my main assembly/outfeed cart/cabinet (casters recessed up underneath the cabinet such that bottom edge of the cabinet sits only maybe 1” from the concrete floor) and then employ leveling feet (from Rockler or the likes) in each corner so that when the cart is in its semi-perminant position, I can level it. That seems worth it for an assembly table, but things like a mitre station cart, a cart for a thickness planer etc, that are “pull out, use, push back in” type of tools, I doubt I would ever stop to level.

Does that make sense? Any advice?

11 replies so far

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2782 posts in 3533 days

#1 posted 05-08-2017 12:31 PM

I had the same issue, so I leveled the floor with ripped 2/4’s and plywood. Assembled all this with screws and took it all with me when I moved.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Lubbock Texas

View mwarning's profile


16 posts in 995 days

#2 posted 05-08-2017 12:40 PM

I had the same issue, so I leveled the floor with ripped 2/4 s and plywood. Assembled all this with screws and took it all with me when I moved.

- Jim Finn

Nice idea, but not an option for me as we park the car in the garage in the winter months.

View Rob Drown's profile

Rob Drown

813 posts in 4444 days

#3 posted 05-08-2017 12:43 PM

I had a sloping garage floor shop for ten years and never leveled any of my work tables and had no negative effect. Never noticed. Not a big deal for me.

-- The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. Confucius, 经过艰苦的努力的梦想可以成真

View Tony1212's profile


375 posts in 2345 days

#4 posted 05-08-2017 03:26 PM

My shop is in my garage, too. It has the same sloping as yours. And I need to park in there during the winter as well.

Most (soon all) of my big tools are on wheeled bases. I’ve never had any issues with anything rolling down the slope. The friction is more than enough to prevent that.

Flat is more important than level. You want your work tables to be as flat as possible. Level is not such a big deal. Using squares and measurements from the flat surface will give you much better results than checking for plumb and level.

I own a couple levels, but I don’t use them for woodworking or tool setup. I use them for other tasks around the house. I have a dedicated straight edge (guaranteed to be within 0.005” over the 48 inch span) for setting up my jointer or tablesaw wings.

-- Tony, SW Chicago Suburbs

View jimintx's profile


934 posts in 2195 days

#5 posted 05-08-2017 04:03 PM

Same drainage slope in my floor. Mine is fully converted to shop use, so never any cars in there.

Like others, I have numerous mobile bases and they are all just fine with no issues.
All but my table saw are the HTC bases, and they come with leveling feet at the swivel, lifting roller end. Those levelers are useful to get all four corners well-seated on the floor, however I have not spent any time really getting them optimized to approach more level tool surfaces. My table saw has the Delta Unisaw base, and it too has leveling feet at the end away from the fixed in-line rollers, so it was fairly simple to get it stabilized onto four corner points.

BUT, I have installed ready-made base cabinets down two opposing sides of the shop (the unfinished ones from H Depot). I did use tapered wood strips ripped from treated 2×4s to get the cabinets and thus the countertops level. I did not think I could tolerate things wanting to roll to one end, nor could I handle the visual of a sloping countertop. This install was a bit of a hassle, because in my case the slope was not only down from the back to the front, but also a small slope from the side-walls to the main floor surface, so my tapered base strips had both lengthwise and perpendicular components.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View JayT's profile


6364 posts in 2822 days

#6 posted 05-08-2017 04:07 PM

Flat is more important than level. You want your work tables to be as flat as possible. Level is not such a big deal. Using squares and measurements from the flat surface will give you much better results than checking for plumb and level.

- Tony1212


Nothing more I need to add.

-- - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

View clin's profile


1076 posts in 1607 days

#7 posted 05-08-2017 07:06 PM

Only issue I had with my garage shop was my SawStop PCS, mounted on an ICS mobile base, would roll on it’s own. Didn’t take much to stop it. And of course the saw was lowered to the floor when used.

As it is now, I have textured PVC tile on the floor and that’s enough that to prevent rolling.

I agree with others, you need flat surfaces, not level.

-- Clin

View splintergroup's profile


3220 posts in 1833 days

#8 posted 05-08-2017 07:11 PM

For things you would like to be level, you could make a small ramp out of plywood that can be place under the “downhill” wheels to level everything out. If it was me, I’d probably keep the TS and BS level, the rest probably does not care.

View them700project's profile


194 posts in 1629 days

#9 posted 05-08-2017 07:49 PM

I wouldnt bother with leveling legs on things built on wheels. Every time you move the tool an inch it would have to be releveled. When they pour garages its not an exact science. I don’t have a steady slope, its erratic. I would only level permanent things in the shop. For example miter bench if you choose too, hand tool workbench and outfeed table. Most of the tools reference off themselves so it wont matter.

Funny story I built an oversized miter bench as I needed drawer space and it was built downhill on the slope. I had leveling legs but it dropped 4 inches over the entire bench so the floor trim looks ridiculous

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3979 days

#10 posted 05-08-2017 08:22 PM

I had a sloped floor garage too, mine sloped to the center where there was a drain. Locking casters are a pain in the ass, always turned the wrong direction for easy use. I took some old canvas and made some small sand bags. Just drop them in front of the wheels and it wont go anywhere, if you need a little leveling, just pull the table up onto the sand bags.

View HTown's profile


114 posts in 1797 days

#11 posted 05-12-2017 01:26 PM

I agree with others that level does not matter. I use a cheap wooden shim from Home Depot to slide under an offending wheel when there is a spot in the floor that is not flat. I wouldn’t spend time or money doing anything more elaborate for rolling tools or carts. For fixed cabinets I like the screw down foot leveling devices at Rocklers.

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