Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Garden Cart of Theseus

It would have been around 1995 or '96 when I found the garden cart in the dumpster of a big box store's garden center.

The metal parts were a bit rusty. Some of the molding was bent. The plywood was a bit splintery. And it was completely sound and functional.  Pretty enough to roll horseshit around the yard. So into the Tardis lunar excursion module van it went.

It only lasted 17 years of abusive use from the day of dumpster rescue to when the bottom fell out.

What was left of it sat in the barn for another year until I could do something with it.

Here's what I had to start with:

Knocked out what was left of the plywood, and then cut off the rusted-out bolts from the metal parts .

Cleaned up the worst of the rust with a wire brush.

Primed and painted the metal parts. I used spray paint in the color that I had a lot of.

I also had to replace some of the angle-iron in the front. There was a length of angle-iron among the farm junk that was not too rusty.

Cut replacement plywood from some that I had left over from repairing the barn roof.

The dimensions from this scrap couldn't be exactly the same as those from the original cart, so I ended up with a cart that is slightly narrower, but deeper than the original.

This plywood is significantly thicker than the original plywood; as a result the cart is rather heavier than I would have preferred.


 Primed and painted all the plywood parts before assembly, again with a paint I had around. This is porch and floor paint for extra durability. I gave it a lot drying time before assembly.

Assembled the cart with shiny new bolts.

Hoping for another 17 years of abusive use out of the reconstituted cart.


  1. *damn*! you have skillz!

  2. It's almost the same color as Slimer!

  3. *jealous of your handyman-fu skills*

  4. But it's the same cart that you got in 1995. :)

  5. Are you my daddy? That's Exactly what he's done with his garden cart(s)!

    Betty, posting as anonymous because I can never get it to work any other way...

  6. Nice skills, i'm jealous :))
    This weekend i will try to follow you.

  7. Somewhere in the house I have the instructions on building the Garden Way Cart. Not that you needed them! I built mine in the basement decades ago, then OOPS, had to take the tires off to get it out of the cellar storm door. Mine didn't have the removable back panel though, which is a lot handier to dump.
    Alas, it is sitting out in the yard in about the same shape as yours.



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