How to mount retractable casters to a workshop worktable

Simple retractable workbench casters DIY

When we make a worktable or a workbench for our woodworking workshop, we want it to be sturdy and very firm. But no matter how good and strong the wood joints are, in order for the bench not to move from one side to the other when we are working in some project it is necessary that it is also somewhat heavy. The result is a worktable that, “as we wished,” is not easy to move.

In a small DIY and woodworking shop, tucked into a garage, if you have everything perfectly organized to optimize space you will probably only need to move the tables and workbenches occasionally.

Worktable and combined machine.

But that’s not exactly my case, as I’m constantly moving them around, so I don’t have an ugly wall behind me when I shoot videos for YouTube.

Put DIY retractable casters to the workbench.

When in my workshop I had only the DIY combined machine that is also a worktable, I would just rotate it to record my videos depending on whether I was going to use the router table, the thickness planer or the table saw. Now that I no longer use it for tasks other than those mentioned, because I have a new DIY workbench, I’m sure both tables will be moved around the workshop a lot (to have the nice colorful tongue and groove wall behind when I shoot videos), so I decided to put some casters on them.

Working on a bench that is on casters does not seem to me to be the best option, because even if the casters can be locked the table will always tremble on the casters. The solution is to install retractable casters.

Axle, L hook and caster for the worktable.

The easiest thing to do would be to put the casters on wooden blocks with hinges that would allow each caster to go completely under each leg, but this would mean lifting the table too much to get them underneath the legs to support the weight of the table. Not a good idea, because I don’t find it comfortable to have to lift the table so much. On the other hand, I don’t want the wheels to be too exposed when they are retracted. I prefer them to be towards the inside of the worktable to reduce the possibility of bumping or stepping on them.

In the video you can see the system I finally used. It’s a bit clunky but I think it will be very useful to me for a long time. To keep the casters a bit tucked inside the worktable when folded, I put them on strips of wood that go between the legs on the short sides of the worktable.

Safety and locking for the retractable casters.

And in order not to have to lift the table too much to fold and unfold the casters, with some screws and some eye hooks I was able to make a kind of hinges that work as a pivot axis and that I can install slightly elevated above the floor. Thus the legs are only raised a couple of centimeters above the floor when the casters have to support the weight.

I had one problem left: the casters sometimes folded by themselves and I ran the risk of the piece of wood hitting my toes hard. The solution to prevent them from folding on their own was to put those L hooks that bite against the legs and prevent the wood strip with the casters from turning. I just have to remember to rotate those L hooks when I put the casters to work.

But I might forget on occasion to rotate the L hooks, with the danger that would have for my feet (it’s very easy to get my feet under the table), so I put that rod in the front so that I will trip over it before I put my feet in danger. I only had to put the pieces of plywood as spacers so that the rod would not hinder the turning of the wood strip with the casters.

Surely with the use and the kicks the safety rod will end up bent, but I only have to take two screws away and insert them back to replace each protection rod. And if you wonder why in green, it is because it is a green plastic-lined stake for tomato plants.

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