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Suspending power tools from the ceiling

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Blog entry by Rich posted 01-03-2017 04:51 AM 1443 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK, so I’d never considered this, but I was reading a piece about a small shop like mine (I think it was Jim Tolpin), who said they put their planer on pulleys from the ceiling to save space. I assume that means they lower it to a stable platform when they use it.

I would love to do something like that with my mortiser. I had to reverse it on its mount to allow me to mortise into 6 inch door stiles, and it’s taking up a bunch of useful space on my side table in the shop. It’s just a Jet everyday mortiser, maybe 40 lbs, if that.

I have ceiling space in a perfect spot over my main workbench. The ceiling is 11 feet, so that’s a big plus to get that sucker up out of the way and only lower it to the bench when I need to do mortises. Not only that, but it would be much easier to work the long pieces there, rather than at the cramped bench along the wall.

Has anyone done this? I’m knocking around ideas about pulley systems, etc, but it’d be awesome if one of you had some advice.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner



6 comments so far

View BenjaminNY's profile

BenjaminNY

131 posts in 1454 days


#1 posted 01-03-2017 10:49 AM

Sounds OK but don’t have it right above where you stand in front of your workbench. “Man killed by hanging mortiser machine experiment” will not look good in the obituary :).

What about one of those 180 revolving carts where a bench top planer is on one side and the mortiser is on the other?

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7739 posts in 2059 days


#2 posted 01-03-2017 01:34 PM

I worked for a company that made trailers that you tow behind motorcycles. I saw plenty of folks who stored them overhead in their garages. Some used hand-pulled pulley systems but most of them bought the cheap harbor freight winch and used it to hoist their storage up to the ceiling. Here’s a pic that will give you the basic idea …
.

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

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

3177 posts in 641 days


#3 posted 01-03-2017 04:46 PM

I saw that one Joe. It’s just the sort of functionality I’m looking for, but it’s four feet square. The base for the elevated stand I put the mortiser on is 2 feet square. Another issue is that this item is top-heavy, so stability is critical. It’s not like a planer where you can just put a hook through one of the handles and use a single pulley.

Or maybe it is. I’d been thinking about a four-point hoist, but maybe I can just find a way to do a single one. I’d need to be sure to secure it solidly, since all the weight would be at one point instead of four. Benjamin makes a great point about avoiding an obituary. Gotta keep that in mind.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

1842 posts in 872 days


#4 posted 01-04-2017 04:47 AM

Hi RichT’, Came in on this blog as I misinterpreted it as discussion on shop-vac hoses and power cords (totally different topic), however, much as I hate to read I soldiered on and this statement caught my eye…


.... Another issue is that this item is top-heavy, so stability is critical. It s not like a planer where you can just put a hook through one of the handles and use a single pulley.
....

- RichTaylor


It’s on the ceiling… who cares if you hang it upside down (like we do in Australia :-) or even sideways)...

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View wuddoc's profile

wuddoc

282 posts in 3770 days


#5 posted 02-17-2017 06:04 AM

We use the system JoeinGa has pictured in his reply. We installed cables to hold our vacuum table underneath while above the metal framework is our box of vacuum veneer items. We lower the table onto sawhorses. Our table is 4’ x 8’. You could suspend a a 2’x2’ table in a method similar to what we have done.

The drawback would be the height you could raise the unit so there would be room to walk under it.

-- Wuddoc

View Rich's profile (online now)

Rich

3177 posts in 641 days


#6 posted 02-17-2017 06:44 AM

Interesting that you responded Doc. It was your Multi-purpose tool cart post that opened my eyes to the wasted space under my tools on stands.

What a Doh! moment for me.

So, I’m building a stand on casters for the mortiser that will have three drawers with full extension slides. Nothing fancy enough to post here, but it will hold some crap that’s taking up space elsewhere :)

I’m glad you reminded me to give you credit.

P.S., the garage has a 10-ft ceiling, but I’ve decided to pass on suspended tools. Gravity can be a harsh mistress.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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