We came across an old gurney when a local hospital moved to a brand-new facility with brand-new equipment. It’s old and a little scary, but it makes a great mobile bench in the shop. It is rated for over 500 pounds, and as luck would have it, it is about the same height as a pickup truck tailgate, meaning that getting those really heavy things transferred out of the truck and into the shop is a little easier.
The thing is made from steel and stainless, making it really durable. It has large caster wheels, making it easy to roll over things like power cords and air lines when moving it around. You can hammer on it if you like. And it has a tray underneath it for things.
And the price was right…free. It was headed for the metal recycler.
So we recently decided to do some customization and make it even more useful. It has side rails like any good hospital gurney wold have, so we put one side up, bolted a piece of plywood to it, and headed out to Harbor Freight. There we found two magnetic strips, a can holder and a shelf, all meant to attach to the side of the tool chest. Since magnets tend not to stick to wood on their own, we drilled and bolted the can holder and shelf to the wood, then screwed the magnetic strips in between.
We primarily use this contraption as a mobile project bench. In the photos you will see parts and tools that you may recognize from a belt/water pump service job. Notice the plastic kitchen utensil tray, too – Ikea has them for really cheap, and they work well for holding and separating bolts, small parts and such.
Being innovative in the shop is more than the job – it is also putting together a system of organization. Having the right tool when you need it is important, and spending time trying to find that one special bolt that you probably dropped or lost is just time wasted. A little organization goes a long way. Having everything that you need for the project at hand is important, too.
We have also “acquired” steel tables from a grocery store that was also moving to a new building with new equipment – stuff from the deli and meat departments. Check with the managers and offer to “dispose of them properly” for free. You can even find nice steel industrial-strength stuff when buildings are being torn down. Keep your eyes open – you may even find a hospital gurney.
Another recent addition to the shop came from an associate who was replacing some things with new, and we scored two nice recliners for those much-needed rest times.
What cool repurposed stuff do you have in your shop?