6 Wheel Garden Wagon




I grew up on a farm where we had to be very self sufficient and DIY. Hard work and making and fi...

This a a knockoff of the metal carts that are sold at all major home stores for around $100.00+ bucks. I love to go by the mantra work smart not hard. I use my hand truck and 4 wheel furniture dollies and my big trailer all the time. For me this cart fills a niche space for getting big items through the small gate in my yard and things like that.

This is a heavy duty cart that will be great for moving concrete, rocks, gravel, bags of material, buckets of drywall joint compound. At 24 inches wide it could even go through a doorway if needed.

Materials Needed

2x4 lumber...I got some of mine from store once I ran out of leftovers from concrete forms.

either 4 or 6 Pnumatic wheels. Most of mine came from garbage or cheap at harbor freight

lots of good wood screws

At few 5/8 bolts and lock nuts and washers

A 4 inch long 1/2 bolt and some fender washers and a lock nut

A few nylon washers that o.d. Fit 1/2 bolt. 2 washers should be larger fender washers and one smaller. See step 3.

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Step 1: Frame

I began with a simple box frame. Nothing fancy here. Just a rectangle with three long braces. I made it 24x57 inches. I originally planned to make it a nominal 2x4 feet to buy a .25 sheet of plywood for the deck but when I went to buy the plywood my local hardware store had a sheet 24x57 laying around so I figured why not. This extra length is why I added the second rear axle.

I have always been a fan of semi trucks and dump trucks so I conceptually designed my hand cart thr same. This does allow more weight than a standard 4 wheel cart but does create sideways friction when turning, especially sharp turns.

The rear wheels are just 2x4 vertical towers and then blocking style bracing. There isn't any super complicated engineering. Just get the horizontal load vertical to the wheels. I didn't use any, but triangle bracing would probably be a good upgrade. This works fine. (see final step)

Step 2: Wheels

I got 4 of the wheels and axles from a trashed garden hose cart. I was originally only going to use the 4 but when I extended the length I bought 2 more from harbor freight for $4.00 per wheel. Instead of full axles a simple 5/8 inch bolt with lock nuts works great. I used bolts for the wheels I bought.

Step 3: Steering Mechanism

To make the front wheels steer is the most compiclated part of the wagon. I did ample research online and came up with a couple options. The most professional and complex route is called Ackerman steering.

Ackerman steering uses a series of tie rods and control rods that makes for a lot of different moving parts. More parts equals more expense and I wanted cheap.

My imagination told me a bearing lime a lazy Susan or the swivel on a swivel caster would work fine but I couldn't find one that was going to fit on a 2x4.

Finally it came down to a simple king pin design. I used a half inch bolt that runs vertically through the front of the cart. Instead of ball bearings I opted for simple nylon washers lubricated with oil to keep friction down. I used three washers, a big one, a small one and a big one as a kind of sandwich. I figured the big ones at the top would hold tight to the wood and spin aginst the small one.

This does work well. I used it several times already and it spins great even with a lot of weight on it.

Honest review...Metal washers would probably work just as well. Wood on wood will create a ton of friction but metal on metal will probably be fine. Or a metal and nylon combo. Sandwich two big metal fender washers around one nylon washer. That would be a good and cheaper option.

Step 4: Attach Steering to Frame

The steering kingpin mechanism is literally just attached to the frame with screws. The king pin separates the axle frame from the wagon frame. Please refer to photo notes for more clarification.

The front axle frame is just some 2x4 boxing. L frames help to create 2 direction strength. To keep the axle from sliding I used some cheap hose clamps.

The pull handle is attached with a gate hinge to allow vertical swing. I originally used a pine 2x2 bit it cracked under heavy load so it will be replaced with steel. A good hickory shovel handle would probably work much better than what I used. I will be replacing it with 16 gauge square steel tubing bolted to the hinge. The pull handle is shorter than the entire frame so it can be stored under the frame.

Step 5: Load Test

I poured a concrete pad for a building I'm building and had a small form about 44 inches square set up for the excess concrete to be uses. I set the small form in my back driveway thinking I would be able to easily move it with my normal trailer....Nope total fail. It weighs about 700 pounds so there was no way I could flip it onto the high trailer deck. I needed to move the pad down the hill from my driveway to a building I'm working on about 500 feet away. It's around 4 standard house lots plus half of mine through the alley.

So I got a crow bar under it to lift it about 2 inches. Insert 2x4. Use bar on another board to lift a couple more inches. Repeat until I can get my automotive jack under it. Jack it up and insert jack stand. Repeat until all 4 corners are supported by Jack stands.

Now is the fun part... Roll cart under slab. Jack up one side remove stands. Same for other side. Bam 700 pounds of concrete slab on my little cart. Will it move???

YES. It actually rolled well. The pnumatic wheels are rated at 300 pounds a peice. In theory I can put 1800 pounds on the cart but I doubt the wood frame will handle it or even the wheels are actually that tough.

Sorry I didn't stop to take many photos during the actual move. Between excitement and physical work I just kept rolling(pun intended). Trust me this wagon hauls lol. I am impressed.

I have also used it to move a couple large metal cabinets with stainless steel counters(salvaged from a restaurant remodel) around myb) back yard that are becoming a summer canning kitchen. They only weighed a couple hundred pounds and the wagon preformed flawlessly.

I only had a few difficulies. One the weak 2x2 I was using as a handle cracked. I used a heavy C clamp to hold it together to finish what I needed but this will probably be replaced with steel tubing.

Second two tires began leaking air and caused it to want to skew off direction and not roll well with flat tires. The used tires will need some fresh tubes. No big deal. I just used my air bubble keep filling up the flats.

I made it and got it off the same way it went on. Goes to show simple tools can move huge loads easily. No need for heavy equipment.

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    10 Discussions

    Alain C.L

    4 weeks ago on Step 5

    Hi !
    i was looking at 4 wheels garden carts on internet shopping and most of cheap ones had bad advices on many points. i'll be happy to build a wooden one mostly inspired by yours . thanks from Europe.


    8 months ago on Step 5

    Looks good, not quite heavy duty enough for me but opened my mind to endless possibilities. I am looking for 4x8 to pull behind a compact tractor. Just for fun I was wanting to make it look like a midsize hay wagon. I just wanted to give you a thumbs up and a thank you as well. I'm going to have to go a little heavier on the steering but for what I need it for this will work out great!


    1 year ago

    You should enter the wheels contest with this.

    Actually the wheels are steel with ball bearing hubs and the tires are rubber pnumatic (air filled just like a car).

    They are very quiet and work great.


    3 years ago

    Obvious folks design and build things for their desires and ideas. And I can see this project designed that way as well. But for the life of me, I can't remotely see the use for the two rear "axles" design. I see no reason for two sets of tires and wheels, what so ever. In fact I can see how they hamper movement when turning, as you already stated. I think you would have come out better to use the same type axle setup in the rear that you used in the front with the solid metal axle from one side to the other. Then there would be no possibility of breaking off any 2 x 4 vertical wooden supports.

    However, with that stated, I do like your setup and applaud you for making this and proof-testing it with such weight. And I think you would even design the next one differently. Not to say this wouldn't work and do everything you designed it to do, but we all learn from each project we build. I know I do. Thanks for posting your project. Thumbs up!

    2 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    Well about the 2 rear axles...Most of the design is for a unique look. Something similar to a dump truck or semi truck, as I am fond of large equipment. Also, you will never see something like that at a home store or big box store for sale. Mine is special.

    As far as actual purpose... I actually was only going to build a four wheel cart but when i went to buy the ply wood top my local lumber yard had a piece of plywood cut 57 inches long. I really only wanted to build 48 inches long, but i figured what the heck. Three 2x4 spanning 57 inches didn't sound strong enough for my needs. So the two sets of rear wheels reduces the span of the frame hopefully making is less likely to break. There is actually less than 48 inches now from the front axle to the first rear axle.

    Plus the added length makes my two kids fit on it much better for fun rides.

    Also if you look at the frame photos in the ible you will see that the very rear axle is a solid piece of metal. The hose cart i salvaged 4 of the tires from only had two axles and i used them both but just buying 2 nuts and bolts for the third axle seemed good enough.

    Finally yes as i said the back wheels drag just a little. And its almost unnoticeable. Everything I have moved so far with any actual weight i never turn sharp. Even playing with kid rides where i do turn a bit sharp sometimes there is no trouble. Watch a big semi or dump truck turn sometime and if you can stand close enough you can hear their tires scrap too when turning sharp. Especially on a semi trailer being turned really sharply. It will often leave skid marks on concrete. It still serves a purpose of being able to increase load by moving the horizontal load on the bed to the ground through the wheels and tires.


    3 years ago

    How was it rolling up the hill in the grass vs the flat concrete? Did the load weight make the platform rub on the stearing section? I need something like this to move some stones.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    The huge concrete pad i actually moved downhill mostly then on mostly flat but bumpy grass. The wagon does great on grass. I have used it in the yard with a two or three 200 ish pound loads, and some grass with the 700 pound concrete load, and then a lot with 2 or 3 kids riding on it (75-125 pound load) and the pneumatic tires do amazing on grass. It doesn't sink in or bog down or even hardly leave tracks on dry ground. If your dirt under the grass is very soft or spongy it may not work as well but i bet if you don't load it crazy heavy you will still be fine.

    None of the loads so far have caused the steering section to rub at the king pin. But there is some vertical movement on the far edges of the steering axle and it did rub a little on the frame but didn't cause any difficulty steering. Even the 700 pound concrete pad I could steer very well. I did have the pad farther back so that probably helped. I don't know how large the stones you need to move are but I bet this could move them.

    Good luck building you wagon. If you have any more questions or want more specific photos let me know.