I made a wheel cart, so I could throw wherever I want
Last summer was the "studio build-out" I so fondly reminisce...my little corner in the garage grew with shelves, a pegboard and an up-cycled solid core door acting as a workbench. My kiln, Calvin underwent major surgery and we even built a rolling stand for her, easily moved out of the way during New England snowstorms, as we huddle cars into the garage.
Ah, wheels... Perhaps one the greatest inventions, proving extremely useful in a space that doubles as garage and studio. My beautiful pink pottery wheel did not come with wheels-shocking, I know. Potters often keep their wheel in one spot. But, why? Wouldn't it be so lovely to transport the wheel to a more scenic location? Perhaps under some tall pine trees or by a pool? Out in the sunshine, working on a tan and makin' some mugs? I mean, they're quite heavy, it'd be nuisance to transport constantly. However, just the mere thought of moving the wheel to the backyard and throwing by the pool was enough for me to build this:
A wheel cart! For those of you trying to live out your "pottery plein air" here is how I did it and materials I used.
- 1/2" plywood (we got a standard 4'x8' piece, had it cut down into manageable sections at the hardware store-read the directions below before you start cuttin'!)
- 2" wood screws, 6 in total
- 3/4" screws, 15 in total
- 2x4's (from our scrap pile) 2 pieces, each about 17" long
- 3 swivel caster wheels with brakes (2"), here are the ones I used: https://www.lowes.com/pd/TITAN-2-in-Rubber-Swivel-Caster/3026959
*You'll want these wheels short in height, so the pottery wheel remains close to the ground. Brakes are imperative and I do recommend all three have brakes so the wheel does not move while in use.
- 3 PVC pipe caps, mine are 3" in diameter but you can size these up or down for your wheel legs. My legs are 2.5" diameter, while I did look for 2.75" caps, 3" was most accessible for me at the time. Here are the ones I used: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000H5QT9Y?ref=ppx_yo2ov_dt_b_product_details&th=1 These are only needed if your wheel has legs!
- Optional, paint and protective top coat
- Power drill
- Drill / Drive set
- Orbital sander with ~100 grit sandpaper
- Opt. paint rollers / brushes
At the hardware store, we had the 1/2" ply cut down to size. If you're making this for your own wheel, measure the base of your wheel. Mine as three legs, an isosceles triangle measuring ~27"x20". At home, I put the wheel on top of the ply-I know not feasible for everyone but this was a proof of concept in my first go at it. I traced around the legs at the base onto the plywood and used a yard stick to connect the legs resulting in a shape like this:
I used a compass to trace a secondary line about a 1/2" out from the original line. I also lined up my PVC caps on the plywood and made sure those would fit in the final cut. Using a jigsaw, I cut on the outside line. I then took an orbital sander with about a 100 grit sand paper disc and sanded the entire thing paying close attention to round out the edges. The ply was pretty rough so it needed a good sanding. I had some major texture left over but it doesn't bother me. I flipped the board over and attached my 2x4s with some wood screws-the lighter brown T shape pictured above. No fancy attachments here-you could totally use a Kreg to screw them together and to the ply, up to you! While it's flipped over you can add the caster wheels-make sure they can swivel freely without getting a brake caught on the 2x4 frame. Then on top, the PVC caps were screwed in, first pre-drilling a hole in the center of each cap. I attached mine to caps check the fitting of the wheel's legs and then removed them to paint the cart. For the paint, I used basic latex paint from the hardware store. I tried my darnedest to get a close match to one of my current glazes and the wheel itself and I got pretty dang close. I was going for a pastel 70's vibe and it turned out pretty cool! Two coats of a crystal clear spray paint went on, caps go back on and this puppy is ready for a ride.
To say I love this thing is an understatement... I've used it twice since making it a week ago. I can pack up all my stuff at the bottom; tool box, water bucket and a bag of clay. I bring an extension cord and flip my stool over on the top and she's good to roll out. As of right now, I can't say with confidence if there is anything I'd change about the build. I like that it matches the profile of the wheel so it doesn't get in the way in the studio. I sanded the edges so there's no chance for pesky splinters or scraped ankles and I was able to paint it to match the wheel which is a cute bonus! The only minor issue I'm running into is accessing the brakes on the caster wheels. I'm thinking I'll flip it over and move the wheels closer to the edge of the board, shouldn't be too difficult. The cart is sturdy, I am impressed it hasn't showed signs of bowing. I thank the 2x4 frame for that.
If you try this out yourself, I'd love to see your take on it! It's quickly becoming an integral part to my summer throwing, by the pool of course...until then, go get muddy!!