DIY Sack Truck Hand Trolley for 1 dollar/euro/pound - Repurposed Pallet Wood.

Vested Interest - Snowman and co trade up to a hand trolley.

How to make a medium duty sack truck from repurposed materials, pallet wood, old (lawn mower) wheels, screws and brackets, total cost of materials:coach bolts, screws and a little glue $1. 

Our old wheelbarrow pictured above has done sterling service. It's metal tray wore out years ago but I relined it with pallet wood and it's still going strong. Every now and then however, it would be useful to have a sack truck for moving heavy items and in particular because the wheelbarrow is often in use elsewhere in the garden.

Making the back rails and shaping the handles

To make the handles/back of the truck, select a suitable length of pallet wood timber 100mm x 50mm (4x2). We used one measuring 120cm (just under 4ft).

Cut in half to produce the two pieces.

Sketch an outline of the handle profile you would like.

Cut outside curve to shape and make vertical saw cuts to the line of the inside curve. 

This will allow for the easy removal of surplus wood with a chisel. However, if you have one, the profile can be cut straight out with a band saw.    

After using the saw to reduce the handle width so that it fits better in the palm of the hand, the final shaping is done with the spokeshave.   

Making and fitting the forks 

Cut the forks from a piece of pallet timber of 50mm x 50mm (2x2). I cut these with a circular saw and tapered them, so they were thickest where they were to join the back rails.

Cut the forks to length. I made mine 350mm long (14"). I sized to the fruit crate dimension because this is what I use for stocking my fire wood.

Using a sheet of plywood approx 13mm (½"), recuperated from a low-grade pallet, cut a reinforcing 'plate'. Use the rail and fork as a pattern to mark the shape of the plate.
Alternatively, you can use steel angle plates to act as the reinforcement. You could possibly also repurpose shelf brackets to do the job.   

Drill clearance holes in the plates and also through the back rail.

Screw backrail to fork to make sides. Just ensure that the outside angle is at 90°.


Glue and screw plates to truck sides. I use a waterproof PVA glue.

I made sure that the plates were on what was to become the inside face of each side.

The truck is now beginning to take shape.


Making and assembling the back and base panels



We are now ready to cut and assemble the three plywood panels, which form the back and base. These come from the same piece of plywood as the corner plates.

Drill screw-clearance holes in the corners of each panel.

Position, glue.....

and screw into place.


Fitting the Wheels

The recuperated lawnmower wheels had already been used in a small trolley to transport the roof panels for the hen house. I had recuperated some steel angle brackets from a rather ugly piece of furniture which had outlived its usefulness. 

I only needed to drill an additional hole, the diameter of the wheel mounting shaft, in the side face of each bracket. 

The wheels were attached to the brackets which were then held in place on the truck with G-clamps. This was so that the wheel positions could be checked before the bolt holes were drilled. Just check that the truck can pivot easily on the wheels when the trolley is tipped as when in use.

Remove the wheels so as to allow through holes to be drilled for the mounting bolts. Two bolts in each bracket were enough for load bearing.......


and a screw in the third bracket hole resisted any twisting movement but a third bolt could have been used.
I noticed that any wide load could scrape against the wheels - longer wheel brackets would have prevented this. These brackets not being available, I screwed two spacing timbers to the trolley face so that any load would be held clear.


Testing, Testing..........

 And now if you'd like to, sit back and watch the film.

Until next time.

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All the best, Andy

© Andy Colley 2014

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