How to Build Your Own Garden Cart

How to build a yard and garden cart you can use in all seasons, including tool caddy, detailed diagrams and instructions.

| March/April 1987

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    Exploded view of garden cart.
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    The detachable flareboards let you haul large loads of bulky material, such as these to-be-composted trimmings.
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    The tool caddy can fashioned using scraps left over from the cart project.
  • 104-067-01_plywood_01.jpg
    Plywood cutting diagram of garden cart.

  • 104-067-01_exploded_new_01.jpg
  • 104-067-01-pix1
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  • 104-067-01_plywood_01.jpg

There are several good reasons why a two-wheeled garden cart is a better choice than a conventional wheelbarrow, at least for most of us. For one thing, the cart's additional wheel shoulders the burden of side-balancing a cumbersome load. For another, the axle is located more toward the middle of the box, to distribute that weight more evenly. And the wheels are bigger, to reckon with rough, unmanicured terrain. (See the image gallery for detailed diagrams of the garden cart).

How to Build Your Own Garden Cart

Even if you're not hauling a lot of weight, consider that the cart will hold perhaps 8 or 10 cubic feet of bulky material (twice the common barrow's capacity); that its end gates are removable, to accommodate long and odd-shaped loads; and that its flat bottom platform makes a fine field bench or planting work station.

These days, quality handcarts are available everywhere, thanks to the convenience of mail order. And you can be sure that reputable manufacturers have taken care to equip their products with utility-grade wheels, heavy-duty framing, and durable wooden panels, to give customers every penny of their money's worth.

So chances are you'd spend as much trying to duplicate a quality cart as you would simply buying it. It's for exactly this reason that MOTHER EARTH NEWS researcher Dennis Burkholder took a fresh approach when he put together a garden cart designed as much for the enjoyment of the home-shop builder as for the use of the home-scale grower.

One of the cart's nicest features is that it can be made almost entirely from one sheet of B-C exterior plywood, a 48 inch by 71 inch section of 1/8 inch tempered hardboard, and a couple of 8-foot 2 by 4s. Another is that you'll need only basic hand tools and a few power tools (a jigsaw, a drill, and a circular or table saw) to complete the job.

What's more, because the spindles are individually mounted to the fenders, there's no need for an oversize axle or the costly special-hubbed wheels that fit it. The 20 inch molded nylon bicycle wheels Dennis used came, complete with axles and ball bearings, from a discarded BMX bike, and can support several hundred pounds comfortably. They're also tucked beneath the fender wells so an overflowing load can't tangle up in them.

3/24/2010 8:03:26 PM

Randy, you have to keep in mind the the real point to this article is to sell you a set of plans. That is why there is not any illustrations.

Randy Van Nostrand_1
3/24/2010 9:37:56 AM

I like this article and think I could make the cart but a detailed design drawing would be appreciated.

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