Introduction: Refurbishing a Hand Truck

About: Just an old guy who likes to dabble in an eclectic mix of technologies and arts.

I am an unapologetic yardsaler. I love the bargains. I also like recycled items and saving things from landfills. I got this poor little convertible hand truck for a dollar. The wheels are cracked, rubber rotting, foot and handle rusty and handle pins missing. The only legible writing was "Craftsman", "400 lbs" and "U.S. Pat D-395,105".

Odd that no Sears part number was on it so I could find no record linking Sears to the truck. But the patent was assigned to the Harper Truck Co. in 1996 and their website shows that they still make it.

By now I knew that Harper probably made it for Sears, that it is about 20 years old and that current prices range from $64 (Amazon) to $99 (Harper). Note the staggering amount of profit built in there! I also knew that it was worth refurbishing.

The foot and handle are made of heavy steel and the body is an injection molded, glass-filled, nylon. It is a solidly constructed workpiece.

Step 1: Tools & Materials and Dismantling


  • A few different types of pliers
  • Angle Grinder with 3M abrasive wheel
  • Drill with wire wheel
  • Bolt Cutter


  • 2 New wheels - HF, $6.49 (minus 20%), $11.68
  • Bolts, Nuts, Washers, Cotter Pins, $2.13
  • 2 Clevis Pins, $2.13
  • Primer and paint, rattle cans found in my shed

Practice Safety. Wear eye protection always, ear protection and respirators when necessary. There's only one you.

Remove the handle, foot and wheels. The axle was in good shape so I just lightly sanded it. Then I washed the body with a pressure spray and brushed out the debris.

Step 2: Get Rid of the Rust and Paint It

I used the angle grinder and wire wheel to remove the rust and loose paint. There is a lot of pitting on the foot but not enough to compromise it.

Then I applied a few coats of self-etching automobile primer to the clean steel parts. I found some Rust-O-Leum "Stop Rust" paint and decided I liked the idea of a GREEN (get it?) color for the steel parts, so I then gave them a few coats of paint.

Step 3: Replace the Missing Parts

There are three holes in the handle so a pin can be inserted for different heights and also to convert to a four-wheel horizontal position. The pins were missing but the picture shows where it goes and that it can be locked in.

By applying some imagination, I thought that a modified Clevis Clip would work fine here. To modify the clip, I first cut off all but the big loop. Then squeezed the clip using pliers and a vise until it would go in the hole and be captured by the two protrusions. CAUTION: These clips are spring-tempered and when cut or if they slip from the pliers or vise will fly off with GREAT force and will destroy glass, plastic and ceramic!

Step 4: Finished!

A nice addition to my home shop! I can now easily move some heavy stuff around when I need to do so and I did it for less than $17 - not $64 to $99! With a little care it is good for another 20 years.

Pay attention to things that folks throw away. With a few simple skills and common sense you can have inexpensive usable equipment and help save the planet. Let me know what you've saved in the comments.

Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017