Serving Cart - Drooping axles - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-23-2019, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Serving Cart - Drooping axles

I've been tasked with straightening the wheels on this 60 year old serving cart. It looks like the axle housings in the wheels and cart have worn-in slop (i.e. compressed wood) from weight and years of use.

The cart will be home to a 40lb convection oven, and periodically rolled between kitchen and storage (30 feet).

My current strategy is to find something (preferably metal) that can be used as a bushing between the axles and wood. Then bore out the wheel, and cart axle housing to fit the OD of the bushing. I may even try to give the cart housing a slight positive camber to offset lean. Bushings would be lubricated.

Is this a good solution? Other solutions?
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-23-2019, 02:52 PM
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You may need to bore out both!

It looks like the wheel hub as well as the axle support may be worn out? Only one need to rotate, typically the wheel.



There's another way besides boring. You can coat the steel axle with a separator and flow epoxy around it once you have it centered and trued in each hole, the support hub and the wheel. This will eliminate boring it out, a trick operation. Actually, epoxy the axle into the support and just allow the wheel to slip as I stated above. You must insure the epoxy will not adhere to the steel and I don't know whether grease, silicone, packing tape, quick wrap, etc will work best. Guys on You Tube do this all the time, so check that out.


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post #3 of 19 Old 12-23-2019, 03:15 PM
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I'd make some new axle blocks out of Delrin...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Delrin-Bloc...kAAOSwZKZdc9w8
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-23-2019, 05:28 PM
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Id remove the stub axles and replace them with a single continuous axle that runs across the width of the cart and is connected to both wheels. The original design was very poor since it was inevitable the support blocks would wear like they did.
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-23-2019, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
It looks like the wheel hub as well as the axle support may be worn out? Only one need to rotate, typically the wheel.

There's another way besides boring. You can coat the steel axle with a separator and flow epoxy around it once you have it centered and trued in each hole, the support hub and the wheel. This will eliminate boring it out, a trick operation. Actually, epoxy the axle into the support and just allow the wheel to slip as I stated above. You must insure the epoxy will not adhere to the steel and I don't know whether grease, silicone, packing tape, quick wrap, etc will work best. Guys on You Tube do this all the time, so check that out.
It's actually opposite. The axle is stationary in relation to the wheel. It is held in place by a small screw, and does not go all the way through the wheel. I maybe could permanently epoxy it into the wheel. What kind of epoxy would be good for an application such as this, and last a long time?


Quote:
Originally Posted by terryh View Post
Id remove the stub axles and replace them with a single continuous axle that runs across the width of the cart and is connected to both wheels. The original design was very poor since it was inevitable the support blocks would wear like they did.
I'd thought of this. As explained above, the axle is stationary in the wheel, and rotates in the cart housing. Installing a full-length axle would prevent the wheels from rotating independently.

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post #6 of 19 Old 12-23-2019, 11:39 PM
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Well, that's interesting ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
It's actually opposite. The axle is stationary in relation to the wheel. It is held in place by a small screw, and does not go all the way through the wheel. I maybe could permanently epoxy it into the wheel. What kind of epoxy would be good for an application such as this, and last a long time?



I'd thought of this. As explained above, the axle is stationary in the wheel, and rotates in the cart housing. Installing a full-length axle would prevent the wheels from rotating independently.

The axles are fixed in the wheel hubs ....hmmmm.

Typically, it's the other way around and the wheels are free to spin on the axles. Any 30 minute epoxy will work to secure the axles in the hubs, even JB Weld. Now you have the task of boring out and bushing the axle supports under the cart, which may get tricky as I stated above. Redrilling an existing hole that's wobbled out won't be easy even if you can use a drill press and the cart fits under the column and can be secured accurately. ....... hmmmm.



If it were me, I'd probably epoxy the axles in the supports under the cart and bore and bush the wheels as is generally the case. This may be easier, I donno?

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-24-2019, 04:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terryh View Post
Id remove the stub axles and replace them with a single continuous axle that runs across the width of the cart and is connected to both wheels. The original design was very poor since it was inevitable the support blocks would wear like they did.
This is the way you wanna go. Boring out the block and fitting a bushing is just going to lead to the same problem happening, the load being focused on the bushing will compress the wood in that spot and itll just loosen up over time. As it is the area of the axle thats being supported under the cart is just too short and isnt distributing force nearly well enough, you need to extend the axle, and running it the full length is the way to do it. If you wanna get fancy, hop on eBay and grab you some pillow block bearings, run the shaft through those
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post #8 of 19 Old 12-24-2019, 06:26 AM
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That may work, depending ......

Here's the construction under the cart showing the supports for the axles:


It would require removing the entire block all the way across OR attaching the continuous axle to the bottom of the existing block which will change the height of the cart above the axle. A middle ground a solution would be to cut the block down even with the axle holes all the way across, more work, but it will keep the cart at the same height as it is now. As to how to cut the existing block down, probably a series of slits close to each other with a circular saw, then knock the pieces away with a hammer. You can hand plane it even and fill the two notches, making it look original.

The current construction has probably lasted a long time, but is certainly not the best way to support the "stub" axles. If it were me, I'd be cutting the support block even with the bottom axle holes, use a solid axle, then cover it with a full length dadoed axle block to make it look original.

The axle need not rotate, just the wheel hubs, so no need for pillow blocks. It would be fairly easy to bore and sleeve the wheel hubs if your drill press has the throat capacity. That's the first thing I would check before starting. Take the wheel off and see if you can align the bore under the drill press. If not, drilling by hand won't be as precise, but it's still possible.
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Last edited by woodnthings; 12-24-2019 at 06:30 AM.
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post #9 of 19 Old 12-24-2019, 12:38 PM
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Last method worked for quite a few years, why not simply rebuild it as it was?

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post #10 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 09:00 AM Thread Starter
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I talked with my mother about the single-axle option, which would require me to drill through the wheels and set them to rotate on the axle, rather than be stationary. She indicated that was not a preferred option. The wheel hubs are solid on the outside. She wants to keep it as original as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by epicfail48 View Post
Boring out the block and fitting a bushing is just going to lead to the same problem happening, the load being focused on the bushing will compress the wood in that spot and itll just loosen up over time. As it is the area of the axle thats being supported under the cart is just too short and isnt distributing force nearly well enough, you need to extend the axle, and running it the full length is the way to do it. If you wanna get fancy, hop on eBay and grab you some pillow block bearings, run the shaft through those
Would it? I would think that boring and installing a bushing would spread the load across the wood a bit more. If it ever wears again, the bushing could be pulled and replaced.


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Last method worked for quite a few years, why not simply rebuild it as it was?
I'm not sure how long it actually "worked" effectively. Even so, it's new life will be to cart a 40lb oven on a fairly regular basis, so I think it needs bolstering/strengthening.



I think this is my current plan:
- Bore the wheels to depth, and install full-length bushings. The wheels will still be stationary related to the axle. I'm not sure epoxy would be any better, as the epoxy, and/or the wood would still eventually compress.
- Rather than full-width axles, go slightly less than 1/2 across. I could bore out more of the axle block to accommodate longer axles, and install bushings at both ends of each block. The new axles could probably be 3x longer than original, so the load is more even.

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post #11 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 11:33 AM
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Why not make a new axle block that will hold a full-length axle and allow it to rotate, and then affix the wheels to that axle the same way they were attached to the stub axles? You'd get a full-length axle that would easily carry the weight while still making your mother happy with the original look.

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post #12 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kklowell View Post
Why not make a new axle block that will hold a full-length axle and allow it to rotate, and then affix the wheels to that axle the same way they were attached to the stub axles? You'd get a full-length axle that would easily carry the weight while still making your mother happy with the original look.
Because then it's fixed axle, and the wheels wouldn't be able to rotate independently. On top of the awkwardness of moving the cart, that would be a recipe for failure pretty quickly.

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post #13 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 01:49 PM
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The bushing idea is by far the easiest and best solution. The bushing should run the entire length of the support block and be lightly lubricated. It will not wear out for many years to come.

I, on the other hand, would counterbore a pair of cheap bearings into each support block, if the block were big enough to handle the OD of the bearing. If not, then I'd make new blocks to accept the bearings. Your cart is going to bare some substantial weight, and smooth rolling wheels will aid in getting that weight from here to there.

Since I don't know your axle diameter, the following is just an example of cost:

https://www.amazon.com/XiKe-6002ZZ-P...385869&sr=8-30

and these are flanged:

https://www.amazon.com/Pack-Flanged-...23198576&psc=1
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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The bushing idea is by far the easiest and best solution. The bushing should run the entire length of the support block and be lightly lubricated. It will not wear out for many years to come.

I, on the other hand, would counterbore a pair of cheap bearings into each support block, if the block were big enough to handle the OD of the bearing. If not, then I'd make new blocks to accept the bearings. Your cart is going to bare some substantial weight, and smooth rolling wheels will aid in getting that weight from here to there.

Since I don't know your axle diameter, the following is just an example of cost:

https://www.amazon.com/XiKe-6002ZZ-P...385869&sr=8-30

and these are flanged:

https://www.amazon.com/Pack-Flanged-...23198576&psc=1
First off ... Effff, those are some low cost bearings! I used to pay way more when I was into the R/C car hobby!

Alright, getting down to specifics ...
The original axles are 3/8". I have a 3/8" bar that I was planning to use for new axles. I thought about bearings, and the problem with them is all the weight would be put on the small area of wood that is supporting those bearings, even more so than just running the axle through the wood. The wood would likely compress at a much faster rate.

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post #15 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 03:36 PM
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The support block is very weak ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shop_Rat View Post
The bushing idea is by far the easiest and best solution. The bushing should run the entire length of the support block and be lightly lubricated. It will not wear out for many years to come.

I, on the other hand, would counterbore a pair of cheap bearings into each support block, if the block were big enough to handle the OD of the bearing. If not, then I'd make new blocks to accept the bearings. Your cart is going to bare some substantial weight, and smooth rolling wheels will aid in getting that weight from here to there.

Since I don't know your axle diameter, the following is just an example of cost:

https://www.amazon.com/XiKe-6002ZZ-P...385869&sr=8-30

and these are flanged:

https://www.amazon.com/Pack-Flanged-...23198576&psc=1




It wouldn't take much of a bump to break off the 2" or 3" long portion that supports the stub axle. I'd want a longer support length OR as we discussed a full length axle. Keeping the "original" construction" while it's a noble idea, it's poor construction. There will be no discernible difference in whether the wheels rotate on a continuous axle OR the are attached to fixed short stub axles.
I rest my case and have no further advice.
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post #16 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 04:20 PM
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The cart wasn't meant for high speed, heavy loads or to be roadworthy. Geesh. You could route a narrow channel through the center piece to run a longer part axles further toward the center, or even a solid full length axles across). I have done this for a household cart. If the thing is just going to set there most of the time, you really don't need the wheels to rotate independently.

You could also get two bushings at the hardware store and ream out the old axles entry holes for the bushings to fit.

Or use a piece of 90 degree angle iron to use as end caps and drill proper size holes for the axles and mount the cap with screws to remove the play in the wood. Old wagon rear axles (covered wagon, etc) did not go the whole way across but used iron/steel pieces that fit over the ends of the wooden axle and were held fast to the wood. You don't need anything as complicated just enough to hold the entry hole steady without play.
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post #17 of 19 Old 12-26-2019, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
Would it? I would think that boring and installing a bushing would spread the load across the wood a bit more. If it ever wears again, the bushing could be pulled and replaced.
Unless you made the bushing longer than the axle currently is, the spread of the load wont change, you still have all the force concentrated on the wood at the top of the bushing in that very short area. The wood fibers will compress over time, the fit will get looser again, youll have to bore out and make a larger bushing, etc. Add to that that thinning the wood out to install the bushing will take away strength from an already weak part, itll be a temporary fix at best.

If a single solid axle is just flat out not a possiblity, theres another option thatll work almost as well, but needs a bit more work. Basically, you need to support a longer axle over a longer area, like this:


Get some steel in the appropriate diameter roughly a foot long, the support it at the extreme ends with bearings. Pillow blocks would be my recommendation, again theyre cheap and easily mounted, plus the wide area of the base means the force is pretty well distributed to the cart. If you really wanted to you could take a block of hardwood and press a bearing into it, make your own pillow block, but you hit the same issue you already have; wood doesnt like point loads like that. Itll compress and loosen up and put you back to the start. Stick to the pillow blocks or similar

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post #18 of 19 Old 12-27-2019, 05:41 PM
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I think if you're going to roll this thing around with some weight on it on a regular basis, you'd want some metal bushings in the wood blocks where the axles go through. It should be easy to find some 3/8" I.D. bushings, and bore out the wood blocks to whatever the required O.D. is. You could either source a long bushing for the full length of the hole in the wood block, or 2 short ones, one pressed in from each end of the hole in the wood block.

Something like these on Amazon are what I'd probably use: Bushings
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-29-2019, 10:14 AM
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Don't use that 3/8" bar for an axle!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
First off ... Effff, those are some low cost bearings! I used to pay way more when I was into the R/C car hobby!

Alright, getting down to specifics ...
The original axles are 3/8". I have a 3/8" bar that I was planning to use for new axles. I thought about bearings, and the problem with them is all the weight would be put on the small area of wood that is supporting those bearings, even more so than just running the axle through the wood. The wood would likely compress at a much faster rate.
The smaller the bar diameter, the more force per square inch is exerted on the surrounding wood. The larger the bar, the greater the area it is distributed on. I would use a 5/8" rod, minimum, we only want to do this once!

I understand about use the "original" axles so that no fasteners will show on the hubs. So, use two long axles that meet in the center instead. Again the greater distance you can distribute the load over, the better. Short, stubby axles concentrate the load right next to the supports which are already to split off because of the grain direction. I would remove most of the original support bock down to the level of the present axles and rout a groove all the way across for the new, longer ones which will rotate inside the groove/dado.
You don't really need bushings for this kind of very light loads, as the original one have lasted a long time with wood bearing surfaces.
However, a pipe or tubing sleeve bushing would work if that's your choice. The axles must be free to rotate independently at the center, so a roll pin or circ clip will retain them and still allow rotation.

If this were my own cart, I would do exactly as I described above to maintain the most original look, but still add additional strength and wear prevention.
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