Home Made Garden Cart

Here is a guest post from my dad who designed us a homemade garden cart.

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We’re passing along how we recently built a heavy duty garden cart. This homemade garden cart can be built using two bicycle wheels, angle iron, 2x4s and plywood. This cart will carry at least 200 pounds, has a large box, and the wheels work independently. We got the basic design from carts made in 3rd world countries.

We asked our friends if they had old wheels from mountain bikes we could have. So the wheels were free and we used them without any modifications. In fact we left the gears on the back wheel.

[singlepic id=115 w=320 h=240 float=left]What you’ll need: two – mountain bike wheels, four- 36 inch long 1”x1” (or 2”x2”) pieces of angle iron, one- 4 ft x 8ft x ½” thick plywood sheet (exterior grade), two 2”x4” x8ft and a box of exterior wood screws 1/12” long.

Step 1: for each wheel drill matching holes in the angle iron. Take your time to figure out the size hole you need to make even if it means taking the wheels into the store and ask for help to get a drill that will create a hole that the axle snugly slides through. These holes need to match end to end and up and down. If you make a mistake, use the other side of the angle iron.

Step 2: Mount the angle iron onto the wheels ( we had to add a washer on one of the wheels to get the axle to lock down correctly) so you’ll get a feel for how you’ll be assembling the cart. The angle irons should be sticking out on both ends of the wheels. 2x4s will be attached at each end of the angle iron. The inside width of the cart should be 24 inches (the distance between outside edges of the two inside angle irons). [singlepic id=125 w=320 h=240 float=right]

Step 3: Determine the length of the 2x4s at the ends of the cart by getting the outside edges of the inside angle irons placed at 24inches then measure from the outside edges of the two outside angle irons. Cut the 2x4s to length. Place the cut 2x4s on the ends of the angle iron to figure out where to drill the holes in the angle iron for the screws or if you’d like a sturdier cart use nuts and bolts. You’ll need at least two holes at each end in each angle iron. Attach a 2×4 at one end of the cart using only one screw in the outer angle iron.

Step 4: Next you’ll be attaching a 2×4 to the other end of the cart but you must make sure the wheels are aligned. Attach one screw to either of the outside angle irons. Make the distance between the front and back of the wheels equal before attaching the other angle iron to the 2×4. Attach the other two angle irons with one screw and check the wheel alignment by rolling the cart. Screw in screws at the other holes.

Step 5: Drill holes along the top of the angle iron, cut 2x4s which will fit between 2x4s at the ends of the cart and screw them into place on top of the angle irons. [singlepic id=130 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Step 6: Cut a piece from the plywood which matches the dimensions of the 2×4 cart base, with no overhang. Attach the plywood to the 2x4s. Cut pieces of plywood for the two sides and front end of the cart, these will go down below the top surface and are attached to the 2x4s with screws. At each front inside corner place a piece of 2×4 which extends from the floor of the cart to the top of the walls and screw the plywood and 2x4s together.

Step 7: To make a removable back end of the cart instead of a fixed end, rip down a 2×4 to make 4 thinner pieces. Attach two at each end with a space between them for the back wall to slide into. Cut the wall so it easily slides between the two side walls. We attached a piece of flat right angle to the top of our back wall so that each one stuck out on the ends and would slide over the outside of the side walls to help hold the sidewalls in place.

Now you need to attach a method for pulling and pushing the cart, plus legs. You can construct something from wood or use piping. In the electrical section of the hardware store is cheap metal conduit which bends easily or you can use pipe, but you’ll need some strong arms to bend it or use a pipe bender. We added extra 2x4s at the bottom of the front of the cart for attaching the bent pipe. Check out the pictures in the gallery for more details on what we did at each step.
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Good luck and Happy Gardening
September 29th, 2011|

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3 Comments

  1. cyn September 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    ok corny but you guys are brill- iant

  2. Andrew Ray October 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Not only the third world, but these sorts of carts are very common in Slovakia, where they have a completely metal frame and the buyer usually installs some sort of wooden deck or wooden box. They are used by all classes of people, from gypsies collecting scrap metal to upper class Slovaks in their gardens! The handle can be tied to the back of a bicycle for an improvised cycle cart as well.

  3. sherwood July 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Improvements: The two bolts on each side that attach the handle should be further apart. There’s a lot of torque on the handle when the fastenings are that close together.

    The height of the handle is too high. The legs should clear the ground by 3 inches with your arms fully extended, otherwise hauling a heavy load is difficult.

    There is merit in adding wedges so that the corners of the wheel supports don’t catch on everything.

    If you are on rough terrain, bolt the 2×4’s on the UNDER side of the wheel supports. This lowers the bottom of the box by 2.5″ Believe me this makes a difference.

    The legs look insubstantial. I don’t seem them as working well with a heavy load. Make longer triangles and support with 4 bolts (each) to the sides of the box.

    I like having two removable ends, especially with brush and big weeds.

    If you use heavier tube for the handle, and drill holes you can mount a U bolt or muffler clamp to the handle. This makes a very usable hitch for towing with a garden tractor or ATV.

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