Lift off! Add Some Sidekicks for Greater Movability

P1030033I went to the shop tonight just to check on a couple of things, change out a flickering fluorescent and deliver a couple of things and I remembered someone asking about my mobile workbenches that work as auxiliary benches to support the different aspects of my work. P1030023One of the last minute jobs tonight was to fit four new castors to my own workbench because I need to move it around more than previously. The question one person had asked me was whether you could put a workbench on castors or whether it compromised the stability of the bench. Fact is, in general anyway, mostly they do, that is unless they allow the bench to sit back down on the legs with no rubber tyres in between. Any level of flex allows negative energy to the bench user. Yesterday I ordered a four-castor set from Axminster here in the UK and true to form they arrived 24 hours later and that’s with free shipping. I have to say these are the simplest of all castors to fit and raising my bench to full mobility is about four clicks and a few paces to get the action I need. The installation relies on two 2” screws per castor through the face and into the leg. In ten minutes I was out of the pit and on the track.

P1030027

Pressing a simple foot or hand lever integral to the castor system raises each castor fixed to the  bench legs 10mm clear of the floor. The wheels are omni-directional and swivel according to thrust. P1030029My bench is very heavy but the bench moved fine. I will see how it goes over the next few weeks, but the whole assembly is very robust with the lever operation operating on a simply cam.

P1030032

The shop always looks nice before the classes start. One of my favourite times of day is the evening before a class when the wood is milled and boxed and the benches cleared and floors swept. P1030031Order is always important and tomorrow we have a full nine-day class beginning at 9am. As I locked the shop doors in the castle and drove home the snowdrops were in full spread and the Snowdonia mountains glistened in a pink reflection as the sun settled for the evening.P1030036

24 comments on “Lift off! Add Some Sidekicks for Greater Movability

  1. Hi Paul, this is my first comment on your blog. I haven’t been with you long but I have really enjoyed your videos that I Have seen so far! I like your approach to doing Woodworking in general. I live in the USA down South in Louisiana. I would love to be able to retire from my full time job ” I am 60 now” and do nothing but wood working I have been setting up my wood working shop and now all I need is some proper training to be able to do proper woodworking! I think you can help me do that! Well good day Paul and I wish you well .

  2. Thanks for the review. I had seen those or some very like them and wondered how they’d hold up under a “Paul Sellers Style Bench”.

  3. Great shop tour Paul via the last few blogs. So pleased to see Eric Sloane’s book ‘Museum of Early Tools’ poking out from under the mobile bench. A great artist and historian who’s illustrated works preserve 18th and 19th century life so well.

  4. I can’t get enough of these photos. So many good ideas Paul. Perfect timing as I’m about to set up a new shop when we move house. This is actually making me look forward to it. I’m going to have to clear out a lot first to get more floor space. Putting things in storage that I just can’t part with.

    Do you think the casters will get in the way? Looks like a tripping hazard. I guess you could just unscrew them once the bench is in a new position.

  5. I searched ‘casters’ on axminster and those don’t show. Any idea where I can get some sent to Aus in a hurry?

    • Have a look at Hare and Forbes. I found some my searching for ‘side mount’ castors. ‘CW-63 Castor Wheels: Side Mount’.

      • Perfect. Thanks Bruce. I think Hare and Forbes was the only place I forgot to check. They should work just fine.

        • Mine came today (overnight service without even a request for speed). And they work perfectly. I have been looking for something like this for years but was always looking for the wrong thing! So big thank you to Paul for putting me on the right track.

          • I ordered mine today. I rang the Melbourne store to check if they were in stock. The guy said they usually have lots then checked and was surprised to see only two sets left. Lucky I only wanted one set. Makes me wonder if Paul’s blog has caused a sudden increase in sales. Thanks Bruce for pointing me in the right direction. I was searching online for about 2 hrs and I don’t think Hare and Forbes came up once. I only ever really think of them when looking for machinery but they do sell quite a range of products. My drill press was bought from them about 16 years ago. Still going strong. Herless badge has faded a bit tho. Was before they changed names.

  6. If you search ‘casters’ on axminster these ones don’t show in search results, I then Googled ‘axminster workbench casters’ and it took me to the right page. Here’s the link if anyone’s interested.
    http://www.axminster.co.uk/axminster-workbench-castors

    Now I just need to work out the fastest way to get them in Australia or find a place that already sells them here. I will be moving my workbench Tuesday week so these will come in handy while I work out my new workshop layout and move things around. Hopefully someone will help me get it all on the truck, my workbench weighs a tonne!

      • Ah of course, thanks Paul, silly me. Funny thing is I still got 3 results on axminster with the misspelled word but not all of them. Google results must have allowed for my bad spelling but the axminster site needs the correct spelling or it only shows 3 ‘caster’ items on their site.
        I think I will just place an order with aminster as I can’t seem to find anywhere in Australia that sells these kind. Hopefully when they return my email and quote me for shipping it won’t cost too much and they get here fast. I’m hoping to have them by Tuesday next week.

  7. A very clever idea. I have an old Workmate which I use as a mobile workbench. It is very versatile, particularly as you can use the long jaws to clamp wood for sawing without having to angle the piece as you would in a normal vice. I have put it on a plinth to raise the height as I am tall but I have to drag it around. Now all I need is some castors and it’ll be the same height as my fixed workbench and much easier to move. Obvious, once you see how. Thanks Paul.

  8. Paul, I’ve been looking for something like this. I’m in the US so I don’t think Axminster will work for me. I found something similar from Wood River / Woodcraft and Rockler. I don’t go to either for much of anything but the casters look similar. When you release the casters to bring the bench back to the floor, are you able to retract the wheels to an upright position off of the floor or do they remain on the floor? I would think they would cause some loss of friction to the floor even with both wheel and bench leg making contact with the floor. The ones made by WR and Rockler don’t seem to retract but I can’t really tell.

      • Great. I’m looking for something like this so I can have my bench in the middle of the garage when in use and up against a wall when not so that cars can still be parked in there sometimes, mostly to please my wife. 🙂 But I don’t want to lose any solidity by doing so. I have e-mails to Axminister for international shipping costs, and to other manufacturers in the US. I’ll post again if I find something over here.

        • I can confirm Solidity will remain intact. It’s the great thing about these. Once retracted its like they aren’t even on the bench. You just need to be accurate when drilling the mounting holes and make sure the wheel is clearing the floor when fully retracted. One of mine needs to move up ever so slightly. I might just file the holes to an oval shape for a slight adjustment. If anyone in Australia is looking for them they are available through Hare and Forbes with super fast delivery. Great value too.

          By the way. As a woodworker you’re wife needs to understand that the garage is no longer a place to park cars. What a waste of space. A garage should never be used for cars in my opinion. Unless of course your hobby is cars then thats ok. ☺

        • Looks like nothing is available in the US — WoodTek, Wood River and Rockler all make something similar but none of them retract. You could potentially mount them higher than suggested such that they are off the floor when the bench is not raised. $115 USD was the quote from Axminster to get a set over here. Doh.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *