How to Build a Tool Cart

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Things You'll Need

  • Wood glue

  • 2 pieces of 1-by-6-by-18-inch lumber

  • 2 pieces of 1-by-6-by-31 1/2-inch lumber

  • 4-penny finish nails

  • Hammer

  • Small paintbrush

  • 1 piece of 18-by-30-by-3/4-inch plywood

  • 4 pieces of 1-by-4-by-25 1/2-inch lumber

  • 4 pieces of 1-by-4-by-18-inch lumber

  • 2 pieces of 25 1/2-by-16 1/2-by-3/4-inch plywood

  • 4 pieces of 2-by-2-by-30-inch lumber

  • Damp cloth

  • 2 pieces of 2-by-4-by-27-inch lumber

  • 2-inch casters w/screws, 4

  • 2-inch drywall screws

  • Variable speed drill

  • Philips head screw tip

  • 1 1/4-inch drywall screws


Set the nail heads with a nail set and fill the hole with putty if desired.

Sand the sharp edges of the lumber to prevent cuts and splinters while using the tool cart.


Do not leave power tools within reach of children.

Do not apply a finish to the tool cart without proper ventilation.

Always have the right tools close at hand by building a tool cart. Know the types and number of tools you have so you can build the cart that best fits your needs. Build simple frames of solid lumber with plywood shelves to help the project go quickly. Purchase the casters according to the weight the cart must carry.

Step 1

Apply wood glue to the ends of the 1-by-6-by-18-inch lumber. Secure them between the 1-by-6-by-31 1/2-inch lumber with the finish nails. Brush glue to the four edges of the 18-by-30-by-3/4-inch plywood with a small paintbrush. Set it 2 inches inside the frame built from the 1-by-6-inch lumber and secure it with the finish nails. This is the top of the tool cart.

Step 2

Put some glue on the ends of the 1-by-4-by-25 1/2-inch lumber. Secure them between the 1-by-4-by-18-inch lumber with the finish nails. Brush some glue on the four edges of the 25 1/2-by-16 1/2-by-3/4-inch plywood and set it inside the frames. Make them even with one edge of the frames and secure them with the finish nails. These are the shelves of the tool cart.

Step 3

Wipe the excess glue with a damp cloth. Next, install the casters on the bottom of either ends of the 2-by-4-by-27-inch lumber with the screws provided. Stand one of the shelves of the tool cart on one long edge.

Step 4

Place one of the pieces of 2-by-4-by-27-inch lumber with the casters on it against the bottom side of the shelf. Secure the 2-by-4-by-27-inch lumber to the shelf through the plywood with the drywall screws. Repeat this with the other 2-by-4-by-27-inch lumber with the casters on it.

Step 5

Set the remaining shelf on one of its long sides above the shelf that has the casters attached. Lay two of the pieces of 2-by-2-by-30-inch lumber against the shelves on either end. Make the bottom edge of the 2-by-2-by-30-inch lumber even with the bottom edge of the bottom shelf.

Step 6

Secure the shelves to the 2-by-2-by-30-inch lumber with the drywall screws. Turn the assembly over so the shelves are on their other long edge. Place the remaining 2-by-2-by-30-inch lumber against the shelves as before and secure them in the same manner.

Step 7

Stand the tool cart upright. Place the top shelf on top of the 2-by-2-by-30-inch lumber. Secure it to the tool cart through the plywood bottom of the shelf and the 1-by-6-inch frame around the top shelf with the drywall screws.

Step 8

Paint if desired.

references & resources

Michael Straessle

Michael Straessle has written professionally about the construction industry since 1988. He authored “What a Strange Little Man,” among other books, and his work has appeared in various online publications. Straessle earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in professional/technical writing.