The important features of a cart are the wheels and axle and the tongue; if these are strong and the tongue securely fastened, almost any box will do for the body. Two tongues, nailed or screwed to the sides of the body, probably make the strongest handle, but they are not so good looking as the one shown in the diagram. If this one is screwed to the box with six 1" screws, two in the tongue and two in each block, it will be strong enough. Some of the nicer boxes to be secured of a grocer will do for a body, though it is better to make one one's self.

Four wheels of 1/2" hard wood should be made (see Wheel shaping directions for Waterwheel at and then each two of the four glued and nailed together very securely with the grain crosswise. For this purpose, 1-1/4" clout, or clinch nails are best. Do not drive them too near the center nor the rim. To clinch nails, they should be driven onto a piece of iron.

After this is done, a 7/8" hole (or larger if you can get a larger stick for the axle) is bored straight thru the center. To cut the cylindrical ends of the axle, first draw a 7/8" circle at the center of each end, then lay out and saw out two rectangular pieces, one on each side of the circles so as to leave a 7/8" square pin, 2-1/4" long. Proceed to make these pins; first, eight sided; then, sixteen sided; then, round; using knife or chisel and a coarse flat file. Make the hole in the washers before cutting off each corner 9/16". These washers are to be fastened to the axle when held rather snugly against the wheel with two 1" screws put crosswise the grain.

Before putting the wheels on the last time, rub the axles and holes well with hard soap to make them run easier. Draw a line across the bottom of the body 5" from the back end, and bore four screw holes thru the bottom; countersink them well on the inside of the body, and put 1" screws thru into the flat side of the axle. The axle is planned so that the wheels run within 1/8" of the body.

With a curved lower edge, the tongue is 2-1/2" wide at one end and 1-1/2" at the other. To get the correct slant at the wide end, block up the cart level, have someone (or the vise) hold the tongue in the position wanted when finished, then with a strip of wood about 2" wide placed upright against the front of the body, draw a line on the tongue. From the lowest corner of the tongue, draw another line parallel to the first, and saw off. After making the two blocks and fastening them securely to the tongue, saw the lower ends flush with the curve of the tongue. Place the tongue in position, draw a line around it on the body, then bore holes where screws will go best into the tongue and blocks. Six 1" screws well countersunk will hold the tongue securely. Since the tongue is fastened to the front, the sides and bottom must be well nailed to it; or, the corners may be strengthened with a piece of tin inside and outside each corner, tacked or riveted together. Each piece of tin should be about 3" square.

A piece of old bicycle frame forced tightly into the hole of a wheel, makes it very durable. Such a hole would doubtless have to be bored with an expansive bit. A bicycle frame is easily filed in two at some distance from the reinforced joints. Such a piece should be longer than the thickness of the wheel to allow filing it flush after it is driven in. To force it in, use a strong vise, or, after protecting it with hard wood, drive it slowly with a heavy hammer.

CART plans

Click on the image to view a full size diagram.