Moving large, heavy potted plants can be chore, even if you are just shifting them to clean. Rolling them is much easier but buying dollies can get expensive if you have several plants to move. Make a jig and you can easily turn out several dollies at minimal cost. Start with a 6" x 8' cedar or treated board.
1 pc-16" x 16" x 1/2" plywood
9 pc-1" x 1" x 12" (cut from the 6" x 8' board)
18 pc- 1-1/4" wood or drywall screws (#6 or #8)
Table saw (or a friend or relative who has one and can be bribed)
Countersink drill bit for the screw size you are using (the bit is smaller diameter than the screw)
Screw driver or drive bit for drill
Ruler or tape measure
6 pc- 1-1/8" x 12" (cut from the 6" x 8' board)
2 pc- 1-3/4" x 12" (cut from the 6" x 8' board)
12 pc- 1-1/4" wood or drywall screws (#6 or #8)
4 pc- desk chair casters (find at a thrift store in the hardware section)
Step 1: Making the Jig
Cut a 2' section from the 8' board. Rip it into five (5) 1" wide pieces. Cut each 24" piece in half. Cut the plywood to 16" x 16" or leave it at 24" x 24" if you bought that size.
Cut another 2' section of board and rip it into three (3) 1-1/8" pieces. Cut each of these into 12" pieces. Use one of the 1-1/8" x 12" pieces to help you lay out the jig. This will be the "sample".
Use the countersink drill bit to drill a hole about 1-1/2" from each end of each 1" slat. These pieces are probably 1" wide and 3/4" thick. Be sure to drill through the 1" side. Countersink just deep enough for the head of the screws.
To help with the directions I will use compass directions. S will be closest to you, N opposite S, away from you. E is to the right and W is to the left.
Position the first L-R slat about 1" from the S edge of the plywood with the left end 1" in from the W side of the plywood. Screw it into place with two (2) screws. Position the W side slat at right angles to the S slat. Use a sheet of printer paper or a magazine to check the alignment. Screw it into place. Near the S end of the W slat, measure 1-1/4" to the right from the edge of the W slat and make a mark. Repeat the marking near the N end. Align the W edge of a second slat with these marks. Place the sample slat between the two jig slats to make sure it fits easily. Screw the second slat into place. Repeat this process until you have installed a total of seven (7) slats.
Place all six (6) of the 1-1/8" slats into the jig. Slide them so they contact the S slat. Position another 1" slat at the N end of the 1-1/8" slats, leaving a 1/8" gap. Screw it into position. This completes the jig.
Step 2: Making the Dolly
Rotate the jig so seven slats run E-W . Load all six (6) of the 1-1/8" slats into the jig and slide them to the E end. Place one of the 1-3/4" (top) slats at the E end of the 1-1/8" (bottom) slats. Align the top slat even with the E ends of the bottom slats and N and S ends even with the N and S edges of the outer bottom slats. Drill and counter sink the top slat to attach it to one of the bottom slats. Install a screw to join the two slats. Repeat for all slats. Put the screw for the outside (N & S) slats a little closer to the outer edge. See photo. This is to provide space for the holes for the wheels. Repeat the process for the W top slat.
Select the bit diameter to match the caster mounting stem. Mine are 3/8". Drill a test hole in a piece of scrap wood to verify the diameter. Determine the depth of the hole needed and either clearly mark the bit or wrap tape around it to show the depth needed. Drill the holes and install the casters.
Sign and date each dolly. Make several and give them as gifts to gardener friends.