This story starts with some rocks.
Big, truck sized rocks.
My home has a walk out basement. Two boulder retaining walls line the entrance.
One wall looked shaky when my wife and I moved in. We figured we had a couple of years before we had to deal with it.
Then, at the end of that fall, we heard a thud. The ground had frozen, heaving one of the boulders from the middle of the wall.
It didn’t look that big, so I tried to shove the boulder back between the stones. Turns out I couldn’t even lift the thing, much less reinstall it.
We crossed our fingers, hoping that the wall wouldn’t collapse before we could get it fixed.
Summer came. We made a deal with a landscaping company to rebuild the wall. One stipulation: Part of the deck was in the way, so we had to move it before work could begin.
Long story short, once we started “moving” the lower deck, it became clear that it would be best to completely take it apart instead. It was going to be a bear to reinstall correctly in one piece, and it was always a little awkward, anyway.
Suddenly, I became the owner of a giant pile of deck wood.
I started making a work bench with it, but I soon discovered that the long boards were a bit too wavy for any precision work. Then a separate deal to be rid of it fell through. And Craigslist searches revealed plenty of free deck wood listings with no takers.
I was stuck. I couldn’t just throw the wood away; it was in pretty decent shape. So I decided to find as many projects as possible to dispose of the wood.
The first one: A deck wood dump cart.
Our landscaping desperately needs more landscaping rock. My neighbor desperately needs to get rid of a big pile of landscaping rock.
Deal! (At least the rocks weren’t truck-sized this time.)
The only problem is, the neighbors’ rock is at the bottom of a fairly steep hill. While I have a wheelbarrow, it’s a small one, so it doesn’t haul much. It’s also a struggle to push it up that incline, even with a minuscule load of rock.
Lawn tractor dump carts can cost about $140 new. Used carts can range from $40 to $100 on Craigslist, depending on your luck. Either way, that’s money I didn’t really want to spend on landscaping. (There’s plenty of other tools to buy, dag nabbit!)
Could a DIY dump cart be made from all of this deck wood? I could find no plans, videos nor blog posts. The closest I got was a large push cart that used bicycle wheels.
So, after weeks of research, thought, planning, and work, I came up with this:
It uses a mix of 4x4 and 2x6 boards to make the frame, axles, and box. The hitch uses scrap angle iron from a bed frame. The 250-pound-capacity wheels were $5 specials from Northern Tool, though $4 equivalents can be had on sale from Harbor Freight right now. Add a mix of nuts, bolts, washers, hinges, and leftover deck screws, and the total comes in at less than $25. Watch the video above to see how I did it.
I’m pretty happy with how the cart came out. It did take a decent amount of labor, but hey, I learned a lot.
And my deck wood pile is that much smaller.