Dealing with heavy materials is par for the course in construction. In my line of work [ed. note: check out the author’s shop-made live-edge in the video below], moving plywood is often the low point of my day. On some jobs, I'm moving upwards of 60 sheets by myself. I was over it years ago.
I'd been eyeing some of the more expensive industrial carts for some time when I came across the Rockler Material Mate. At less than a quarter of the price of the others I'd seen, I decided it was worth a shot.
It came packed away and in quite a few pieces. But in typical Rockler fashion, it also included detailed instructions that made assembly a cinch. The only tool I needed was a socket set. The tube steel frame is not overly heavy duty but ample for what I need it for. I was pleased with the quality of the included casters (two rolling/locking, two fixed).
The major selling point for me is Material Mate’s ability to switch between horizontal and vertical for hauling. The vertical setting comes in handy if you need to go through a doorway or another tight area. A quick-release latch allows you to switch between the two relatively quickly. The only drawback I found is that when the cart is positioned vertically, its stops are only long enough for the unit to haul two sheets of 3/4 plywood. This is still better than strong-backing them manually.
With the Material Mate in the horizontal position, I've hauled as many as six sheets of plywood at a time. Honestly, that’s well beyond the stated weight limit but the unit held up fine.
Aside from transporting sheet goods, I find the best use for the cart is feeding sheet goods into my table saw. I just pull it alongside my saw and transfer the sheets over. It works as a side support in this position and makes it much easier for me to make rips.
If you want to add a solid top to the unit, it works as a mobile jobsite table.
I don’t want to paint the wrong picture. The Material Mate is not as heavy duty as the industrial carts, by any means. But given its price point, smart design, and in-shop functionality, I give it high marks.
FROM THE MANUFACTURER:
- Price: $280
- Smooth rolling 4-inch casters—two swiveling and locking, two fixed
- Top tilts for convenient loading, passage through service doors, and a compact footprint
- Passes through a 30-inch-wide service door when tilted vertically
- Add a solid top (not included) for use as a work table when not needed as a panel cart
- Rigid steel frame construction
- (1) Rockler Material Mate Panel Cart/Shop Stand
- Top Frame Length: 36 inches
- Top Frame Width (without knobs): Adjustable from 22 to 30-1/4 inches
- Bottom Frame Dimensions: 25-1/4 inches W x 36 inches L
- Height (with top flat): Adjustable from 31 to 36 inches high
- Height (with top tilted): Adjustable from 40 to 45 inches high
- Weight Rating: 150 pounds