Mobile Assembly Table
Popular Woodworking|December 2020
Storage and utility in just the right size.
Willie Sandry


Skill Level: Intermediate

Time: 2 days

Cost: $350

It’s often said that a shop layout is never truly complete. While that may be true, I have discovered a valuable asset in my shop that can move and adapt to changing layouts. I’ve been testing a mobile shop cart over the last several years to make sure it holds up to the rigors of woodworking. The key is middle dividers that act like the webbing of an “I-Beam.” With this tested construction technique, the entire cart forms a rigid base to support the top. The work surface is a double-layer of thick MDF, forming a flat top that can handle daily use and abuse in a shop environment. Special features include pass-through doors, slide-proof adjustable shelves, and a built in clamp rack for even greater utility.

Construct the Base

Cut plywood parts to size, and complete the basic joinery shown in the detail rendering. Start with the bottom panel, which has a dado to receive the middle divider. Cut 6 wide x 3 /4 notches at the top corners of the middle divider. These notches will eventually receive long cleat strips, which function to lock the dividers square. Install the end panels, which are rabbeted to fit over the bottom panel.

As you install the first end panel, you’ll capture the “clamp rack wall” in vertical grooves. Add a bead of glue to the bottom of the clamp rack wall component and reinforce this butt joint with screws from the bottom. Now add the other end panel, and glue and nail it in place with 18-gauge brad nails. Finally, add the cleat strips to lock everything in place. The cleats are screwed into the middle divider from the top and attached to each end panel with pocket hole screws.

Wheels and Clamp Rack

Before the cart gets too heavy, turn it upside down and add 4 locking casters at each corner. Finish the carcase by adding maple edge banding to any exposed edges. I used iron-on edgebanding and trimmed it flush once it cooled down. Take a moment to sand any sharp edges, and add the last fixed part to the base, a hardwood clamp rack. Use a 1 /2 wide dado stack to cut evenly spaced notches in a 29 3 /4-long x 5 1 /2-wide board.

The clamp rack is installed in a 1 /4 deep dado in the clamp wall panel. Three small brackets offer additional support to the clamp rack. I sized mine for small parallel clamps, however it could be adapted for various clamps in your shop. It’s a handy spot to always have a clamp at the ready when assembling projects.

Making Drawers

I knew the drawers on this cart would carry a heavy load, and wanted them to last a lifetime, so I built them with solid hardwood lumber. The drawer boxes feature maple sides and walnut front and rear panels. The drawer bottoms are plywood panels. I used 1 /4 aromatic cedar plywood for the small top drawer, and more substantial 1 /2 maple plywood for the lower two drawers. The corners are joined with through dovetail joinery, and were cut with a variable spacing dovetail jig.

Once the drawer boxes are built, install the full-extension drawer slides in the cabinet. Hang the drawers and test them for proper operation. The finishing touch is the maple applied drawer fronts with curved cutouts. Mark the semicircular shapes for the drawer pulls, and joinery-exposing curves on each side. Rough cut the shapes at the bandsaw, and finish the job with a router and template setup. I made a two-sided template from a scrap of 1 /4 MDF to handle both shapes. Attach the template to the drawer with double-sided carpet tape, and chuck a bearing guided flush-trimming bit in your router. Once the final trimming is done, ease the edges with a 1 /8 radius roundover bit.

1 The end panels are rabbeted to fit over the bottom panel, and the middle divider sits in a shallow dado. The clamp rack wall is also housed in grooves on both sides. Glue the main case together, and add the cleat strips to lock it square.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine


Marshall Uxbridge Voice

A stylish and powerful compact speaker

2 mins read
Mac Life
Spring 2021

Bluesound Powernode 2i (with HDMI): Bodacious sound from a micro-sized box

This self-amplified multiroom music streamer delivers high-res audio experiences that Sonos won’t, but Bluesound’s user experience isn’t nearly as polished.

8 mins read
April 2021

SteelSeries Arctis 9 $170

A LOT OF HEADSETS seem to have at least one or two things that hold them back from being great, either to reduce the cost, or to help one aspect of the headset exceed at the expense of another. The Arctis 9, on the other hand, does everything that is thrown at it very well indeed.

1 min read
Maximum PC
April 2021

Sennheiser HD450BT Wireless $200

YOU ALL KNOW of Sennheiser, as an audio powerhouse at the forefront of sound. The HD450BT is a very well-rounded pair of headphones, sitting in the company’s low to mid-range price bracket at $200.

2 mins read
Maximum PC
April 2021

Audeze Penrose Planar Magnetic Headset $299

AUDEZE has used its phenomenal audio knowledge to create a very solid gaming headset. The company is more traditionally known for high-end planar magnetic headphones but has dipped into the world of gaming with the Penrose.

1 min read
Maximum PC
April 2021

TCL 43S435: As Affordable as a New TV Gets

TCL is no stranger to budget-friendly TVs, and the company has consistently impressed us with its 6-Series, which offers excellent performance for a reasonable price.

5 mins read
PC Magazine
April 2021

HyperX Cloud Stinger S

Sting like a bee

3 mins read
Maximum PC
January 2021



4 mins read
November 2020

Helm Audio DB12 AAAmp: This mighty mobile headphone amplifier sounds mighty fine

Lots of clean gain and no noise in a tiny package—what’s not to like?

8 mins read
November 2020

Andover Audio Spinbase: All-in-one speaker system for your turntable

A great-sounding, compact, vibration-free solution for vinyl lovers.

6 mins read
November 2020