How My Candy Cart Began.
When one of my sons got married he asked me to make them a Candy Cart for their Wedding Reception. At this point I didn’t even know what one was. After checking YouTube, like you do, I noticed that none actually had working wheels; I wanted working wheels.
I made it my life’s ambition to have a Candy Cart with working wheels I also wanted one that would pack down to a smaller size, because the chances were, it would be travelling to the Wedding in my little 3 door hatchback. After making the Candy Cart, out of many bits and pieces of wood, it was finished and a huge success at the wedding. A young couple at the wedding were getting married themselves later that year and asked to us it at their wedding.
The Idea that Followed.
That got me thinking about how popular Candy Carts could be and the different ways the cart could be used. Although it’s called a Candy Cart, it doesn’t just hold candy. I’ve now made/lent carts to a garden centre to display smaller items from the shop, to someone who started a bakery company and wanted to display cakes. There are so many uses for the carts, I thought about making and selling them on line, however the cost of building one and shipping out of the UK would not be viable. I therefore decided to, simplify the design and began to draw Candy Cart plans to be sold online.
Sounds simple, well it took about 6 months of hard work! At this point I could not guarantee that the plans were accurate and so to overcome this I had to build one to the plans I’d drawn. I wanted to design a Candy Cart that would be simple enough to build by a person with a limited knowledge of Carpentry and a smaller number of tools; the minimum amount of timber and sheet material, as well as threaded bars,nuts and bolts that could be brought cheaply from a wholesaler in standard sizes.
Testing the Candy Cart
This was easier said than done. Every time I drew a section and built it, the problems would show, which was the general idea I suppose; I would then redraw the plans. I didn’t know how to use sketch-up or any of the computer software programs; it would take me longer to learn the software than it would to finish the cart so I drew the plans using engineering pens and a scale ruler. I then scanned the plans into the computer, cleaned everything up in Photoshop, to then start all over with the next drawing. You can imagine, why it took so long, to refine the plans until they were perfect and I was confident that they could be sold.
The old saying “ can’t see the wood for the trees “ is true when you do something like this; I gave the plans to my son, also a carpenter, who had not seen the plans before and he picked out a problem. So it is worth getting a fresh set of eyes to look at any plans. I was now satisfied that the plans were ready to be sold and built by other people. The beauty of my design is that you can change and modify them as much as you want. If you can see a way of improving the design then that will be the way to go.
Simplifying The Design.
I am a carpenter by trade and had a lot of timber hanging around the house, getting in the way. That`s why the candy cart ended up using different timbers but could be easily built using the same size and type of timber.The first thing I needed to determine was the height, length and width of the top.
Having a top no longer than an 8ft by 4ft sheet saved on timber; I just happened to have half a sheet in the shed.
To keep weight down to a minimum I used thinner ply on the side panels.Although they were “working” wheels, they are not designed to go crazy with but just to move the cart around at the venue. Because I was using the thinner ply on the sides of the candy cart, I used battens down the sides to try and strengthen everything up. To make sure the candy cart would sit level, I made a mock-up of the wheel to get an idea that the height would be right and to work out the amount of bodywork I would need to cut out to follow the shape of the wheel.
This also determined the height of the support legs to make everything level. For the two ends I decided to use traditional stair spindles to give an authentic feel to the cart.I brought these off the shelf from a local builders merchants.
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I worked out a nice angle for the two end tops. The two circles cut into the ends of the tops was courtesy of a pot of my wife’s hand cream that just happened to be the right size. I also fitted blocks to either side of the ridge slot to try and stop the ridge from twisting and give it more support. You need to make all he slots as snug a fit as possible because the better the fit the more stable it will be.
After gluing and screwing the upper and lower panels to the spindles, I marked out the positions on the top. I carefully cut out the square holes and finished them off with a chisel to make a nice fit. To hold the lower panels together I cut a lower back panel with some curves in it to make it more interesting and because it was a wedding I cut out a heart shape in the center of the panel.
Using 12mm MDF I cut a ridge panel to fit in between the two top end panels to hold the tops together and act as a support for the cloth “roof”. Using a 16mm drill bit I drilled holes in the top panels for the pipes that will support the ends of the material that is used for the roof. I fixed Velcro to the pipes and to the material to keep it in place and to keep the material tight.
I shaped the handles; the length was trial and error until it felt the right size. The handles are held in place with blocks so they could slide in and out nicely; secured in place by clamps so they can be taken out for transportation. Now for the biggest job on the candy cart, the wheels. Once I worked out the size of the wheels I just drew a cross then another one 90 degrees to that then split them and that was it, the perfect cart wheel. sometimes things just look right.
I made up the axle support timbers with planned up soft wood and glued and screwed it all together to make it as strong as possible. I routered a groove down the centre of the axle block for the pipe to sit in. The threaded bar then simply slides in through the middle of the pipe. I clamped the threaded bar into the pipe with washers and nuts. Then the wheel is clamped with two more washers and finished off with a nylon locking nut. As I said the wheels are just designed to move the cart around the venue.
I finished the cart off with white paint, because it was a wedding and because it is a neutral colour it can be decorated with anything. It was hard work but well worth the smiles on the day. Cheers.