Introduction: How to Make a BBQ / Braai Cart
This is a simple BBQ cart that makes use of dados and rabbets. This is a basic woodworking join where just enough wood is removed so that the joining piece of wood can slot into the gap.
For this project I used mostly 1 x 2s, or 19mm x 42mm, pine so it was very inexpensive. The top is made from hardwood decking, it's a timber called merbau.
Watch the Youtube video of the build process here:
Step 1: Cut Dados and Rabbets
The first step is to cut the pieces to length. I wanted my cart roughly the same heigh as the barbecue and about twice as wide.
Next I marked out for the dados and rabbets. I used one of the boards to mark the size of the cut-outs at the ends and in the centre (this'll make more sense in the next step).
I also used one of the boards to mark the depth of the cut. This gave me a mark to line my circular saw blade up with.
To speed the process up, and give me more surface area to balance the saw on, I clamped as many boards together as I could before making the cut.
Then, using the circular saw and a speed square (to ensure I kept a straight edge) I hogged out all the material. The circular saw got rid of the majority of the material, but I came back afterwards with a chisel and cleaned up the cuts.
Step 2: Glue Up Main Leg Assembly
Next, I glued all the parts together using a generous amount of wood glue. Make sure to coat all the surfaces and check the join for square before clamping.
Once both long rails are glued (see image above) then you can glue the short rails. This join uses end grain so it's very weak. It was only to get the positioning correct.
I used a lot of glue and clamped the short rails in place. Once the glue dried i came back with 6mm dowels and inserted 2 into each join. This way, the dowel run through the join, into the end grain, and provides a long grain to long grain join, which is much stronger.
The dowels are driven in using a mallet (although they shouldn't be too tight) and the excess is cut off using a hand saw.
Step 3: Add Cart Handle
In the extended end of the long rails I cut a 19mm hole using a hole saw. This would allow for a 19mm dowel to be pushed through. However, before inserting it I drilled a small hole at either end of the dowel so that I could put 6mm dowels into the big dowel.
You can see in the last picture how the small dowel stops the big dowel from sliding out.
Step 4: Sand and Finish Leg Assembly
Then all the parts were sanded and finished.
At this stage I cut some 1x2s to be used as slats on the bottom of the cart. Once the finish dried these got screwed in from the underneath.
I used water based polyurethane on the pine so that it didn't yellow it, and it made applying a lot of coats easier because it dries quick!
Step 5: The Cart Top
I made the top for the cart using merbau, a readily available hardwood, usually sold as decking.
I started by removing the ridges, and bring all the boards to a uniform thickness, using a thickness planer.
Then I could glue a few boards together along their edges to make a big panel.
Once the panel was glued up I sanded it down to 120 grit using a belt sander. This uncovered any imperfections in the wood and these were filled with epoxy. An easy way to find chips or tear out is to use a light source low, and to the side of the work piece so that it "rakes" across.
While the epoxy dried I cut the panel to size, sanded the edges and added a round over. I like to use a big sanding block on the sides because I can control it more easily than an electric sander.
When the epoxy was dry I sanded, first with the belt then the orbital sander, up to 320 grit.
The finish was a mix of polyurethane (25%), boiled linseed oil (50%) and mineral turpentine (25%). Being an outdoor piece of furniture, a film finish breaks down quicker and is more obvious when it does, compared to an oil finish. This means the wood will require more maintenance, but in my opinion any wood furniture should be built with that in mind.
Step 6: Final Assembly
To attach the top of the cart to the leg assembly I used figure 8 clips. These are easy to use and work well. First I made a shallow cut into the leg assembly, around 19mm wide. Then one side of the clip gets screwed in.
By that stage the top had completed dried so I could flip it over, so the underside was facing up, and attach the other half of the figure 8 clip to the top.
These clips allow the top to move independently of the base assembly because any wood movement can be transferred into the rotation of the clips around the screws.
Lastly I screwed small castors onto the base on one end, and 2 piece of left over 19mm dowel onto the other end. This allowed the cart to be lifted on one end and pushed around.