A portable trolley recliner is quick and simple to make, and a perfect accessory for the summer months, writes Justin Newcombe

For most of us this time of the year is absolute bedlam with family, work and social engagements running our lives. Although we all look forward to it (especially the socialising) we need to pace ourselves so we actually make it in one piece to the big day on Tuesday.

Taking a break when we can get it is often as simple as reading a book on the bus or train, walking to the shops with an iPod or hiding behind the feijoa tree with a cup of tea and the Saturday paper. I just love hearing the kids wondering around the place calling out "Daaaad" with all the different pitches ascending from an inquisitional whine to mock concern, hysteria and finally outrage.

So it is with great expectations of doing nothing much for the next few weeks that I'm building a couple of cheeky little trolley recliners. This is the sort of thing you could expect on a cruise ship if it was helmed by a courier driver. To give it the classy edge I know you've come to expect from this column I'm going to use paint. And the best bit is that this a two-hour job.

The trolley recliner folds up so it is easy to store in a pool shed or under the house, and it is easy to move around the garden. You can follow the sun or the shade.


In fact, I think it's just the thing to drag along to the beach, to a game of cricket or to the neighbourhood barbecue. You can set yourself up in a corner and have a bit of a lie down if things get really boring. It even doubles as a chilly bin cart.

Considering the price of the trolley, around $30, the trolley recliner is pretty cost-effective. I live in Waterview and we're getting a brand new motorway through our neighbourhood, so I might just pack up the chilly bin and go watch that for an afternoon.

I mean honestly, who's going to look for me there?

Portable trolley recliner
Step 1: Assemble the trolley as per the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 2: Cut a full sheet of 12mm ply lengthways into two 2400mm-long, 500mm-wide strips. Then cut three 600mm-long pieces out of one of the lengths. It's far easier to get Bunnings to make the cuts in store. If you're building two trolleys, cut six 600mm lengths. Also cut one 500mm-long, 36mm-wide strip of 12mm ply per trolley.

Step 3: Paint any design or pattern on the plywood, or just varnish it.

Step 4: Cut 50mm thick dowelling into two 200mm lengths. Drill a 5mm hole, 100mm deep through one end of each dowelling, then paint.

Step 5: On the frame of the trolley, where the frame starts to bend to form the handle, drill a 7mm hole. Thread a 6mm coach screw with a flat or flush finish through the hole in the trolley frame and into the dowelling.

Step 6: Once both pieces of dowelling are attached, lay the trolley down so the wheels and dowelling are both sitting on the ground, and place the boards on the trolley to position them. I placed my middle board 100mm from the kick plate (on the bottom opposite the wheels) of my trolley then drilled a 6mm hole near each corner, through the plywood and the trolley frame.

Fix the frame to the plywood using stainless steel bolts with flat top or flush finishes. I used four sets of bolts.

Step 7: Lay the second piece of ply on the attached piece then attach a set of weatherproof hinges to the ends of both pieces. When you open up the second piece of ply it leans back on the kick plate, giving you a seat back.

Step 8: Fold the seat back down and place the last piece of 600x500mm board on top.

At the opposite end of the trolley from the first set of hinges, cover the ends of the ply with the 500x36mm piece of ply. Attach weatherproof hinges to the top piece of ply, the 36mm spine and the bottom piece of ply. Then unfold the seat.

Step 9: To hold the seat in place during transport, use a bungy cord with hooks.