Sunday, May 27, 2007

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Whizbang Garden Cart?

I was motivated to build my own garden cart after purchasing a good-quality, made-in-the-USA garden cart. Why, you might wonder, would I want another cart after just buying one? Because once I realized how incredibly useful and versatile one of these
two-wheeled, large capacity carts were, I knew I could use another.

As I explain in the Introduction to my Garden Cart plan book, I paid a total of $255 (shipping included) to buy that first factory-made cart. Current prices (including shipping) for such carts range from $260 to $320.

It is, of course, possible to get cheap Chinese versions of the cart. But when I buy or make something like a garden cart, which will see a lot of hard use on my homestead, I want it to be a solid and dependable tool for many years--preferrably a lifetime. This will not be the case with a cheap import garden cart. But it will be the case with a Homemade Whizbang Cart.

Bearing that in mind, let me tell you that making your own Whizbang Garden Cart will cost you less than buying one of those factory-made-in-the-USA models. And you will end up with a far better cart too. The Whizbang is more
sturdy and durable than any of the competition, while, amazingly, weighing in a couple pounds less. Now, as for how much it will actually cost you to build your own Whizbang Garden Cart, that will depend on how you approach the project.

If you decide to purchase all new parts to build your cart, you can expect to pay just under $200 for all the materials. However, there are ways to significantly reduct your expenditure for parts.

For example, I budget $18 for a 36” length of aluminum angle which gets cut into 16” lengths (with a hacksaw) and goes on the front corners of the cart. The angles serve as corner guards. That price is for brand new angle bought at Home Depot. A little imaginative scrounging at garage sales could turn up something else that could be used for the corner guard. You could even make it out of pieces of wood. You would save yourself $18 and the total cost for the cart materials would then be less than $182.

Then there is the wood dowel handle on the cart. I allocate $2.85 for this item. An old broom handle or other scrounged length of dowel-like wood will suffice, and that would bring the price of your cart materials down to less than $179.15.

Then there are the 1x4 boards neeed to build the cart. You’ll need four, 8-foot long, 1x4 pine boards to build your cart. I tell you to get two select quality (no knots) boards for the handles and two #2 quality boards for the other wood parts. Select boards cost 81 cents a foot (total: $12.96) and #2 boards cost 44 cents a foot (total: $7.04). If it happens that you already have some appropriate board material that you can utilize, you can further reduce your material cost by $20.00, which brings your total material cost down to less than 159.15.

The same thing goes for the one 8-foot-long 2x4 needed for this project. If you already have some 2x4 pieces that will do the job, you can save $3.00. Total cost for materials then goes to less than $156.15.

How about stain? I recommend that you paint your cart with a protective coating of wood preservative stain. I allocate $18 for this expense. Do you already have stain that you can use? If so, your cost of materials goes down to less than $138.15. If you don’t have any stain, perhaps you can find a can (or even a partial can) for next to nothing at a garage sale.

How about wood screws? You’ll need 100 at 1” long, 50 at 1-1/4” long and 25 at 2-1/2” long. Common drywall screws will suffice. If you already have these, you can save a few bucks more on the cost of wood screws.

The point I’m making here is that since the Whizbang Garden Cart is made of commonly available materials, there is a good chance you either have some of the components already on hand, or you can easily scrounge them. A little bit of scrounging on your part can reduce the price significantly.

In the Materials chapter of my cart plan book, I discuss The Scrounge Challenge. Here is a quote:

If you don’t already have a lot of the cart materials already on hand, I suggest you begin to collect the parts you need by visiting garage sales, junk stores, and thrift shops. Ask your friends and relatives if they have some of the needed components. You will be surprised what is lying around in garages and backyard junk piles, especially if you live in a rural area. If someone has something you need, make a trade.

I believe you can find just about every cart component, except the tires, from a season of focused cart parts scrounging. You should be able to purchase parts for pennies on the dollar this way. It’s a great little challenge.

If you have children or grandchildren, you can get them involved in the Scrounge Challenge too. Making a cart out of scrounged parts is a wonderful object lesson in thrift, resourcefulness, and recycling.

So there you have it. Figure around $200 for all new materials to build a Whizbang Cart. Or figure less (maybe a lot less) if you do some scrounging. In either event, I want to stress here is that, new parts or scrounged parts, you will end up with a whole lot more cart for less money when you build your own Whizbang Garden Cart. That’s what I call a Whizbang value!


For more information about the Whizbang Garden cart and details about how you can get a copy of the book, Anyone Can Build A Whizbang Garden Cart, click HERE

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