Shop (Garage) Redo #3: Tools, Thank you Craig's List

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Blog entry by PASs posted 02-01-2013 04:19 PM 1321 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The great migration Part 3 of Shop (Garage) Redo series no next part

Thought I’d try this tool gloat as a blog entry.

i’ve had the Powermatic 3520b for a few months now (gotta blog that.)

When I first got it the two old Craftsman lathes had to go away ‘cause there weren’t no room in the inn for three lathes.
So I put them under tarps in the driveway and Craig’s listed them to new homes.

I knew when I got the 3520 that there was only one place in the garage for it…under the 14 inch I beam that runs from the front to the back to support the second floor (where my dear aging mother lives.)

But there were 18 other pieces of stuff there so I did the initial setup where one of the old Craftsman were sitting….just to start playing with it.

But this entry isn’t about any of that.

Putting the lathe under the I beam was so I could lift larger pieces up to mount them. (The lathe bed with extensions is 118 inches long…but more on that later.) But that would require something to lift the wood.
I knew I wanted a trolley with a chain hoist.
I also knew that on my limited budget I would have to shop wisely (i.e. slowly) because I wanted to get something good, not just something quick.

So I started looking for chain falls and trolleys on Craig’s list (CL) and the local tool and hardware stores in hopes of scoring something nice for a good price.

There were a few chain hoists on CL, but never any trolleys.

So I ended up at Harbor Freight and got a 1/2 Ton JET trolley on sale (don’t remember the price but it was about $75.)
I got that mounted on the I beam and it worked just like I wanted…it rolled back and forth….wheeeeee !!!

I also had a come-a-long that I’d used for other small lifting jobs so I put that on the trolley for the interim.
It also worked as expected and I used that combo to lift a couple of large blanks on to turn.

But this entry isn’t about that (this sounds like on of those British documentaries with the 10 minute lead in.)

I still wanted a chain hoist because the come-a-long ratchet action always seems to put the blank too high or low by about 1/4 inch from the center of the lath spindle, which is WAY too far off to get a big piece of wood mounted.

So a few months went by…big lumber sitting at the side of the garage getting punky, no comfortable way to get stuff up to the lathe… me getting older every day.

So just a couple days ago a nice thread started here on our beloved LJs about Harbor Freight (HF) tools. I have a couple of HF, and I’ve bought a lot of small shop supplies there. So I know that sometimes you can get something that is worth the money for what you’re doing.

So I mentioned to the boss…er wife that I was to the point of getting the 1 ton they had on sale for $49 because it would do the job that I needed well enough and that I wasn’t finding what I wanted on CL.

Having said that I tottered off to the office to check email and LJs. On a whim I decided to check CL one more time..
Interesting, posted the evening before was an add for a 3 ton chain hoist…a BUDGIT 3 ton hoist…with an advertised lift of 15 feet !!! Oh, did I mention the asking price was FIFTY DOLLARS !!!!
This was overkill for what I NEEDED…but there are other things around here I might want to play with (like moving the house or pulling trees out of the ground, or moving the earth itself) so bigger wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, and the price was right on budget.

I hopped in the car and made a 30 minute drive out into the rural area south of town to meet the seller at his house. WOW what a spread, 4 1/2 acres in the country…with a 1500 square foot outbuilding/shop.

He had the hoist in the bucket of a small front end loader/tractor.
Not being a hoist expert I didn’t think that bigger lift means bigger size.
I mean I knew it would be bigger than a 1 ton, but this, this was MASSIVE.
I got goosebumps when I saw it.
It was big, it was old, it was beautiful.
I was surprised that what I thought was a gray paint job was actually a cast aluminium(?) body.
Did I mention it was BIGG.
The body is over 12 inches wide, and tall, and deep.
We hooked it on the edge of the bucket and raised it up so I could verify it worked….it did.
I noticed the seller had a neck brace on…he said he’d broken his neck…so he was selling off some of the stuff he wasn’t going to use anymore, but this was the only thing he had left.
He mentioned he’d had it listed on CL for a while at $150 but had no takers…and at $150 I wouldn’t have looked at his add.
I didn’t quibble over the $50 price.

He drove the loader over to my car and and heaved it into the back…did I mention it was heavy….about 75 pounds total weight I think.
So I got home and the next morning hauled it into the shop to hang it on the trolley.

Did I mention it was big….trouble a brewing.
The hook on the hoist is 1 1/4 inches wide at the top and 1 1/2 inches thick (top to bottom) in cross section.
Nice and beefy, which you’d expect of a 3 ton hoist.
Did I mention the trolley is a 1/2 ton trolley.
Half ton trolleys are pretty beefy, but there’s a limit to the beef….the hanger strap hole is only 1 inch wide, and 1 1/4 inches tall.
The hoist was too big to hook onto the trolley. #$%$$

I can’t afford to buy a bigger trolley…so what to do.
As a collector of junk I do have an old Craftsman metal tool box (the first toolbox I ever owned) that I use to store chain and wire rope and fittings. I was hoping I had a big enough shackle to use to put everything together.
I didn’t.
But I did have a quick link connector rated 1700 pounds and some chain that’s good for at least 1000 pounds.
Both of those are more than the trolley is rated, so I cut a few links of chain and fastened that to the trolley.

The plan was to get a platform ladder and lift the hoist up to hang it through the loop of chain…....

Did I mention the hoist is big…and heavy…
I got the ladder under the trolley and heaved the hoist up onto the platform.
All good, didn’t strain my back, or throw out a hip or anything.
The bottom of the I beam is about 10 feet above the shop floor.
The chain loop hanging off the trolley was about 9 feet up.
The ladder is 6 feet tall, but the work platform is about 4 1/2 feet off the floor.
That made the lift to the loop another 4 1/2 feet.
I’m just under 6 feet tall so things were really spaced out great for both lifts.
Did I mention the hoist is BIG and HEAVY….4 1/2 feet from the floor to the platform was do-able.
4 1/2 feet to the chain loop was do-able…at least on paper.

I got up on the platform with the hoist body between my feet.
The plan was to just lift it up and hook it on the loop of chain.
(Big and heavy…remember.)
First attempt. picked up hoist, started to lift up….load chain gets lifted off floor…the higher I lift the more chain I’m lifting. It’s not that much extra weight, but I don’t lift weights anymore and the extra weight got my safety brain engaged. Not safe….put hoist back down…back to head scratching.

Bright idea….hook the cargo hook on the side of the trolley. Less weight to lift….accomplish mission.
Not a completely bright idea. The hook and chain were heavy enough to tilt the trolley so much it looked dangerous.
While I’m figuring out a better bright idea the hoist body (remember…big and heavy) that I had casually placed ON THE TOP OF THE LADDER, not the platform, decided it didn’t like being there and tilted over and headed for the floor.
Fortunately for me, I noticed the beginning of the swan dive and grabbed the load chain, which might have been a bad idea, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold it, I just wanted to slow it down a little before I let go.
Also fortunately, it was headed away from me, so instead of trying to knock me off the ladder it was only trying to pull me over the top of the ladder. But best of all the platform was in its line of descent, so I just kinda flipped off the top and plopped down on the platform (where I should have put it back in the first place.)

All is good and safe.
I moved the cargo hook to the side of the I beam where it looked nice and steady.
I even took the hand chain and wrapped it around the cargo hook assembly to keep more weight off the hoist body.
I grabbed the hoist and muscled it up to the top rung, again, and the hand chain decided it didn’t like hanging around the cargo hook so it fell off and tried to convince the hoist to follow it toward the ground, again.
But i was watching for that and had a hand on the hoist to keep it in place.
So i lowered the hoist back onto the platform (momma only raised a half fool) and wrapped the hand chain a full turn around the cargo hook….thinks looked even better.

Now, hoist back onto top rung (carefully)....deep cleansing breaths before lifting onto the chain loop.
Funny thing about chain, when you make a loop it really just looks like two pieces of chain hanging side by side.
It tends NOT to have a nice opening like a loop of rope or wire.
Lift hoist up (big and heavy) and put hook through loop….hmmm fat, blunt end of hook is pushing chain but not opening it up to slip through….
Funny thing about trolleys….they rolll…
I know, they are supposed to.
But not when I’m trying to hook a 75 pound chunk of hoist through a reluctant loop of chain.
You guessed it…I’m manhandling the hoist, 9 feet off the ground, trying to put the square peg in the round hole…and the trolley starts rolling…away of course.
So…hoist back to top of ladder, then down to platform…a couple of minutes of deep breathing…and plan C.
I moved the trolley back where I wanted it and scooted the cargo hook with the hand chain next to it to keep it from rolling (in retrospect I have 20 clamps I could have put there, but I was up on the ladder and the cargo hook was there already sooooo.)

Final lift (kinda).
I grabbed the hoist and start to pick it up to put it on the top of the ladder (small steps).
I’m old, but not that old….but I can’t lift it up again….hmmm…better grip, cleansing breaths….still won’t lift.
Duhhh, it was hooked to the cargo platform HAHAHHAHAHAHAH silly me…trying to lift the hoist, the platform, and me all at the same time.
So got the hook twisted free, up to top rung, up to chain loops, pushed through !!! JOB DONE !!!

So now I have a 3 ton hoist attached to a 1/2 ton trolley with a 3/4 ton chain loop.

BTW a new BUDGET 3 ton hoist retails for….$1833.00 !!!!
So $50 was a great deal.

Obviously not a lot of photos as I was one-manning this whole thing.
But here’s a few.

-- Pete, "It isn't broken, you just aren't using it right."

2 comments so far

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2771 days

#1 posted 02-01-2013 05:20 PM

you can move anything ya like with this baby.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View JoeinGa's profile


7735 posts in 1974 days

#2 posted 02-01-2013 10:44 PM

LMAO at your story. I can just see myself doing something like that. And cursing the whole time at the dang trolly to STAY WHERE I PUT YOU! :-)

Nice setup, good tool gloat too!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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