All Replies on Lifting heavy stuff in the shop

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View b2rtch's profile

Lifting heavy stuff in the shop

by b2rtch
posted 08-11-2012 12:14 PM

36 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#1 posted 08-11-2012 01:30 PM

Hi Bert
I don’t have a set up like this but I would be careful what can of load I put on your rafters or joist if you have a upstairs. I agree having something to help lift heavy objects would be great but a 660-1300 load could be a problem.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4032 posts in 2256 days

#2 posted 08-11-2012 01:35 PM

Hi Bert.
I haven’t done such a thing in my shop but I’ve worked in shops where such lifts exist. The slickest and strongest ones ( you want one rated for at least 1 ton and some older machines are much heavier) have a hoist mounted on a trolley running on an I-beam sitting on iron posts bolted to the floor. Usually the beam is clear span from wall to wall. The most versatile ones that cover most of the shop floor have two additional trollies. The lift beam is mounted to a trolley at each end which run on another set of I-beams running the full length of the shop, giving an X-Y movement, and the hoist gives the Z axis movement.
This page seems to have every conceivable lift option. For a quick overview, mouse over the logo patch and each logo brings up a different kind of lift.

I’ve been reading about how muscles change with age. There can be plenty of muscle mass, but your nervous system gets wacked out so that 10 lbs feels like 20 or more. It takes a LOT more focus to lift the heavies. And the used up muscle takes longer to restore. Ibuprofen is my friend.

Good luck and be safe.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 3719 days

#3 posted 08-11-2012 01:43 PM

Hey Bert 63 you’re just a kid lol
HF have them at a very good price.

Better be safe than sorry go for it Bert.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3915 days

#4 posted 08-11-2012 01:46 PM

I built something similar and like A1Jim says…….be careful you dont put to much load of the trusses/rafters. I put a steel I Beam from one side to the other supported on posts (with a footing) and could slide the hoist back and forth.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4996 posts in 2515 days

#5 posted 08-11-2012 02:16 PM

Such a hoist would be good on a steel frame and track, or similar. But I would not fasten that to anything on the structure of a wood frame building. I use an engine hoist for lifting that stuff….to be sure it’s not nearly as handy as an overhead wench, but it still works fairly well (and it only cost $130).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View AandCstyle's profile


3068 posts in 2279 days

#6 posted 08-11-2012 02:25 PM

Bert, I have and use a shop crane from HF. They also have one rated for 2 tons. I am not certain if it would meet your needs or not, but it is cost effective, somewhat portable and will not strain your rafters/joists. I especially appreciate the portability factor, in that, I can use it to unload an item from my truck, set it on a dolly, then move the crane and item to my shop then lift the item off the dolly and set it in place. HTH

-- Art

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3107 days

#7 posted 08-11-2012 02:46 PM

Art’s idea is the same one I had, except you would have to check the width on the cranes feet to make sure
it could straddle your shop machinery. I am also having a bit of problem with items getting heavier as I get
older, and the doctors keep getting younger.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3669 days

#8 posted 08-11-2012 04:55 PM

I don’t recommend using one of those electric hoists for this.

I have a similar (smaller) electiric hoist and it lifts and lowers
much faster than I want when lifting cast iron machines…
it’s very tricky to control and moving something up or down
a half inch is not really possible. The hoist runs with a 1700 rpm
motor with a clutch to slow it down on one end and a gearbox
on the other. The gearbox is really not geared down a lot
though so the hoist reel turns quickly.

I bought a manual chain fall hoist and I get a lot more control
with it. Plus it can lift a lot more than the electric one I have
and was much less money to buy it.

If you intend to move machines a lot, I recommend you get an
engine hoist. Such a hoist can help you load and unload
machines to and from vehicles as well as be brought into
the shop.

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2715 days

#9 posted 08-11-2012 05:08 PM

I use an engine crane, cherry picker, for the things I can’t lift by hand. And when it’s not in use you can extend the boom fully and hang a hammock from it.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2793 days

#10 posted 08-11-2012 05:51 PM

I have the same shop crane as Art (AandCStyle) and have used it to lift every tool in my shop at least once. It even handled lifting my Hammer A3-31 off the pallet and held it in the air for me to add the mobile base to the bottom.

I don’t use the shop crane very often because most of my stuff is on wheels, but when I do need it I’m very glad I have it. It has a pretty small foot print, and you could keep it outside in a shed if you wanted it totally out of the way while not in use (if you don’t use it often).

Also as a safety precaution, whenever I lift anything major like that I just make sure someone else is in the garage with me, I just have this fear that something bad will happen and the machine will fall on me and pin me to the ground unable to call for help. A little fear is a good thing sometimes I think, prevents us from doing stupid things.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#11 posted 08-11-2012 09:56 PM

I am not a fan of cherry pickers, I use one at work from time to time and IMO they suck.
I would rather use an electric hoist , if it is too fast for good control it is easy to rig it with four parts of line (I worked on cranes 15 years of my life). The problem is that I still have nothing to hang it.
I realize this morning that not only I have ceiling lights in the way but I also have the garage door in the way.
The other solution would be to have A frame or a gantry.
Where would I out it when I do not use it?

-- Bert

View zzzzdoc's profile


550 posts in 3025 days

#12 posted 08-11-2012 10:10 PM

I may have the exact same unit. It’s been invaluable lifting my jointer/planer, bandsaw, and table saw onto their bases.

Highly recommended.

-- Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#13 posted 08-11-2012 11:15 PM

The main issue with cherry pickers is that they lift on and lower on an arc, not straight up and down. A hoist goes straight and down , this is why I prefer a hoist.

-- Bert

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3787 days

#14 posted 08-12-2012 12:06 AM

If you double the cable on a hoist, it will slow the lifting to a more manageable speed. If you use a single cable, it is way too fast to be comfortable with. The double cable just about doubles the lifting weight too.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3568 days

#15 posted 08-12-2012 01:24 AM

We use the engine lift others refer to. But the chain hoist is a great option, we used those all the time in the Navy.

-- .

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#16 posted 08-12-2012 09:48 AM

I have a chain hoist but I have nothing to hang it.
For now I believe that my only solution it the cherry picker, I would prefer an electric hoist but I have nothing to hang it from.
Another issue the cherry picker: this is one more thing to find room to store.

-- Bert

View Sylvain's profile


708 posts in 2521 days

#17 posted 08-12-2012 10:11 AM

chain hoist in combination with cherry picker = no arc lifting problem

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3568 days

#18 posted 08-12-2012 02:56 PM

The problem I see with cherry pickers as in our case, the lift can only go so high and if the machine is taller it is difficult to lift something heavy into our tail gate or off of the tail gate. Otherwise I have made it work for our situations.

-- .

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3568 days

#19 posted 08-12-2012 03:00 PM

There is one from harbor freight that folds up, I think. We use the 2 ton version from harbor freight.

-- .

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4996 posts in 2515 days

#20 posted 08-12-2012 03:07 PM

All your points are valid and with my engine hoist, even folded up it has a fair size footprint. But after considering everything, it was far cheaper than any of the other alternatives.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8082 posts in 2350 days

#21 posted 08-12-2012 05:35 PM

I’ve borrowed a fold up Harbor Freight engine hoist in the past and it works well, but requires a fair amount of space.

J-bars and furniture dollies come in handy…

A tough Ukranian wife comes in handy as well :^)

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2878 days

#22 posted 08-12-2012 06:33 PM

Art I use the same

I moved all my machinery with that

and a 500kg trolley It also meant that

I could pick machines out of the back of

the van or trailer.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2654 days

#23 posted 08-12-2012 07:00 PM

Just to be a jerk, I’ll add a couple possible options since the electric hoist might not work out??
Hydraulic Lift Table:
-Would make loading/unloading from trucks and vans a lot easier.
-100% mobile.
- A task such as removing/installing a variety of machines from thier stands would be doable since the table height is variable.
- The table could also be used as, well, a table when not commisioned for its primary duty.

Pallet Jack:
If you forsee yourself doing a lot machine restoration, you could always put the machine on a pallet and score a used pallet jack off craigslist.

Motorcycle Dolly: Fasten a peice of 3/4” ply onto the dolly.

Gallows rack: I have one in my shop. Unfortunately, I placed it in a terrible location, so its value is limited. However, if placed and built appropriately, it might be used in tandem with the other options I mentioned to prevent a sore back. See my page for a pic.

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2584 days

#24 posted 08-12-2012 09:03 PM


If you have room for it, a portable gantry crane (as you mention) would seem to be ideal. Here’s one of several that Northern Industrial sells:

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#25 posted 08-12-2012 10:39 PM

I already have the hydraulic lift table( I use it very often , I made a very handy adapter to bring my sheet-good to my TS) I have considered the gantry and really this is what I would like, I just do not have the room.
I believe that for right now the best solution is the cherry picker

Thank you all for your help.

-- Bert

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#26 posted 08-13-2012 03:13 PM

What about bolting something like this to the floor?

-- Bert

View James Gallo's profile

James Gallo

68 posts in 2132 days

#27 posted 08-15-2012 10:54 PM

I have a hoist that is similar to the one you posted. I bought it at Northern Tool for around $110. I am not sure of its rating, but I have it mounted to a pipe spanned thru two roof joists in the storage area above my garage. I use it to lift heavy and bulky items up into and down out of the attic storage area thru a trap door, because the only access that I have to that space is pull down attic stairs.
However, I wanted to use it to lift my Unisaw off of its mobile base so that I could place a 2 1/8” thick wood base into the mobile base to gain more heighth for my Uni.
It would not lift the saw out of the base, not even an inch of lift, it just bogged and stopped.
Make sure you get one rated above the heaviest item that you wish to lift. I wish I would have.


-- Jg, Pittsburgh

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#28 posted 08-15-2012 11:54 PM

Jim, look at this, first I underloaded my Unisaw off my trailer all by myself and then I also lifted it from the ground all by myself,

I am now working on a 600 pounds jointer that I unloaded and I move all by myself

-- Bert

View James Gallo's profile

James Gallo

68 posts in 2132 days

#29 posted 08-16-2012 12:02 AM

I’m still trying to figure out how the heck you did that. I have to study the pics more, but that is truly amazing to me. You are incredibly smart to be able to come up with that idea.

-- Jg, Pittsburgh

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2399 days

#30 posted 08-16-2012 01:44 AM

The support system for your hoist is critical.

I would like to hang it from my 10’ ceiling on a circular mount or may be on an arm from the wall so that I can pick a load, put it on my work table and then when finished put it back on the base.

I understand you want to maximize the area coverage. The canter level effect will require requires substantial support. It appears you are hanging off your basement/garage ceiling. That will need to be evaluated as well. Unless you are familiar with loading requirement you should consider having a qualify person to look at it. Just want you to be safe.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#31 posted 08-16-2012 09:39 AM

Jim, thank you for the nice compliment.
I have been working by my-self on heavy equipment and off-shore drilling rigs for 45 years, I did rigging and crane operator; I learned a few thing.

HHHOPKS, I have a shop I built a few years back , I am now looking at jib cranes.

-- Bert

View hhhopks's profile


651 posts in 2399 days

#32 posted 08-22-2012 06:26 PM

Here’s one you might want to consider. It does take up a bit of space.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3070 days

#33 posted 08-22-2012 07:23 PM

it would not fit in my shop, thanks anyway

-- Bert

View Oldelm's profile


75 posts in 2197 days

#34 posted 08-22-2012 08:15 PM

We did some work that required a straight lift so we used a 1 ton capacity chain fall on a cherry picker. It solved the arc problem and the lift speed (going down) of the picker and the whole rig was mobil and portable. Take care when lifting I did it for years and now I am paying for every pound.


-- Jim, Missouri

View BernieMay's profile


26 posts in 3059 days

#35 posted 08-23-2012 03:58 AM

i have the same one. i use it to lift stuff into my attic. It moves quickly. I would recommend a come-along or chain hoist if you want precision lifting.

View fredrodriguez22's profile


2 posts in 2000 days

#36 posted 12-26-2012 03:10 AM

I agree with the opinion that states the older you get, the lesser weight you should be lifting, regardless of the number of years of lifting experience you have had. We might think that we are able to do it but physically, our body might not be able to handle it, and serious injuries could surface. Lifting mechanisms are useful to assist in lifting heavy objects but ensure that they are stable and strong enough to lift the load that you have. Else, accidents can also arise. It is better to buy it from a hardware store rather than DIY which can be dangerous if not properly assembled.

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