getting heavy machinery into basement? (new variation)

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Forum topic by luthierwnc posted 04-18-2016 09:48 PM 2532 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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146 posts in 1951 days

04-18-2016 09:48 PM

Hi All,

I’m afraid my little 12” planer is about to croak and am thinking about a 15” heavier-duty model. This is still some time off but worth thinking about now.

Typical weight for one of these units is around 600 lbs and they shouldn’t really be broken-down like maybe you could get away with on a jointer. Problem is: I have a basement shop with two staircases to get in: one in the house and one on the side of the house. As you can see from the picture, I could hire a fork or Bobcat to lower the machine down into the stairwell. That wall is only about 5’ high and is accessible by removing the cyclone fence.

Then—- I’ve got a step wall in and the basement floor is about 8-10” below the base of that. For perspective, that’s a regular 6’8” door that disappears below. I figure I’d have to get a hoist or come-along anchored to something inside the basement and pull the machine into the basement taking slack from the fork. Not something I’ve ever done before or am especially enthusiastic about.

Other than paying the guys with the fork/Bobcat to get it into the basement, does anyone have a better idea for moving machinery sideways through the air?

Thanks, Skip

20 replies so far

View generic's profile


105 posts in 1774 days

#1 posted 04-18-2016 10:57 PM

My shop is in my basement as well and over the years my Brother-in-Law and I have managed to get a 8” Jointer, 13 and 15” Planers, Drum Sander and my G7209 Table saw (925 lbs) in from an exterior stairway. with a little planning, I don’t think getting your planer in will be that bad.

I would cut and place a sheet of OSB on each set of stairs to make a ramps to slide the planer down.

At the bottom of the second set, place a couple of 2×10’s (or similar) so they teeter over the step wall with blocking on the outside so they sit level. Make sure boards are long enough so that once you slide the planer down the ramps and onto the 2x’s you can tilt the 2x’s and slide the planer down into the basement.

A trick I used to get my table saw to the rear of my house was to place a couple sheets of osb on the ground and set the saw on a pallet jack. Then I just wheeled it along, moving sheets of osb along as I moved from one sheet to the next. It wheeled to real easy to the basement steps.

It may sound a little complicated, but it works well.

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 3151 days

#2 posted 04-19-2016 12:14 AM

How about heavy duty engine hoist…rent or buy.

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1095 days

#3 posted 04-19-2016 12:40 AM


The easiest, but not necessarily cheapest way to get the planer into the basement is to hire a moving company. When I moved from a walk-out basement shop to my present home, I hired a residential moving company. For $300 about 13 years ago, they moved all my heavy equipment out of the basement into the garage. This was the easiest move of equipment I ever made and nothing was damaged.

Alternatively, armed with some measurements, a photo and specs of the planer, and a few photos of the exterior basement entry area, the folks at your local rental store may help identify some equipment to make the job easier and safer. A couple of pieces of equipment come to mind. The first piece of equipment is a Gantry Crane which could span the stair well and the planer positioned next to the stair well. If the crane can be set up in the space you have, lowering the planer would be fairly easy.

If the planer is lowered onto a temporary platform that is flush with the basement door threshold and a long gently sloping ramp is set up inside the basement, a pair of piano dollies, probably also available at the rental store, could be strapped to the planer. A piano dolly is a short 2 wheeled dolly with the capability of raising its lifting shoes. The planer is set on the lifting shoe of each dolly and the dollies are strapped together and to the planer, creating a 4 wheel dolly. The lifting shoes are raised and the planer can then be carefully rolled down the ramp.

generic’s “slide down a ramp” idea will also work, but his recommendation for careful planning must not, in my opinion, be overlooked. A 600 pound planer that gets away from you on the basement stair ramp could make for a bad day. I would think this method would require at least 4 strong guys manning a pair of long tow straps to control the rate of decent and a fifth person to oversee the descent. The trick is to orient the planer so that when it arrives at the bottom of the basement steps, it can be stood upright on its legs.

I have used hotbyte’s method to move a 600 pound band saw and a 400 pound jointer from the pallet to the roller stand. I rented the Engine Crane Hoist and it worked great! The legs of the Engine Crane Hoist extend forward and stop a little past the end of the boom lifting arm. If I recall correctly, the boom arm is fixed forward and does not swing from side to side. Since I did all this lifting on the driveway, providing support for the legs of the Engine Crane Hoist was not an issue. While I slid the pallet out from under the machine and the roller stand underneath the machine, I could have just as easily rolled the swinging machine around on the driveway.

In this case support that would carry the weight of the Engine Crane Hoist and the planer would have to be constructed at the top of the stair well. This support structure would have to be constructed so that as the Engine Hoist Crane is moved forward onto the support structure, the legs will not slip off the support structure. But if these problems are solved, the Engine Crane Hoist could also work, if it will fit over the stair well. However, an intermediate lift followed by a final lift could be required; if the boom arm will not drop low enough.

View luthierwnc's profile


146 posts in 1951 days

#4 posted 04-19-2016 01:20 AM

I’m leaning towards burly, paid contractors with their own gear. I’d need help anyway so it’s probably better for me to supervise from a safe distance. I need to replace the wooden stairs. The concrete steps are a straight shot down from the back yard but there is no vehicle access. The front yard is accessible by a truck or Bobcat/fork.

Thanks again, sh

View MNgary's profile


303 posts in 2592 days

#5 posted 04-19-2016 01:51 AM

Good plan, generic. Better than my plan to buy a case of beer, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and phone some biker friends. The latter is what I did when, while doing a top end on my Hawg, I dropped an aluminum nut into the engine and we had to tip the bike (635 pounds) upside down and shake out the nut.

-- I dream of a world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View Aidan1211's profile


198 posts in 1001 days

#6 posted 04-19-2016 11:17 AM

Cheap solution…...
Step 1) Find a package store
Step 2) Locate a 24 Pack of good beer
Step 3) Bring said beer home and put on ice
Step 4) Call all your friends and tell them you have free beer
Step 5) Block the beer with the machine and tell them if they want some they gotta move it out of the way (hence the basement)
Step 6) Open beer and bask in your brilliance

This little guide should save you money and make for a good story later.

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

View luthierwnc's profile


146 posts in 1951 days

#7 posted 04-19-2016 11:50 AM

That’s what MNgary needed: move first, booze next. All my friends are of supervisory age, though.

Looks like we need a moderator/bouncer for mokodj.

View Aidan1211's profile


198 posts in 1001 days

#8 posted 04-19-2016 02:50 PM

I went through and reported all that a-holes posts as spam. Wrong forum to be pullin that crap. Doesn’t he know we work with razor sharp implements?!

That s what MNgary needed: move first, booze next. All my friends are of supervisory age, though.

Looks like we need a moderator/bouncer for mokodj.

- luthierwnc

-- its better to plan on the task at hand than actually doing it........ You look smarter.

View luthierwnc's profile


146 posts in 1951 days

#9 posted 04-19-2016 07:25 PM

... in badly lit basements too.

I always wonder what kind of pigeon looks at something like that and thinks, “What an opportunity!” They must be out there. Of course, drunk bikers moving large objects have their charms too.

View Ocelot's profile


2105 posts in 2813 days

#10 posted 04-19-2016 08:37 PM

600lb is not as heavy as you think. (one way of looking at it).

600lb is heavier than you think (another way of looking at it).

I used to own a grand piano which weighed (as I recall) about 850lb.

I sold it to my church. From time to time they move it onto and off of the platform (stage).

They just get 8-10 guys and do it. I won’t watch and certainly won’t participate, but I haven’t heard actually anything bad has happened.

A planer is smaller and harder to get so many guys around. Also the stairwell looks awfully tight.

I would figure out how to do it myself, but that’s just me. You didn’t post enough photos for me to make a recommendation.

My 80-year-old friend built a crate and packed up his 4200lb, 40-inch planer (custom built by a former writer in Fine Woodworking – originally powered by an inline 6 car engine) and moved it out of his basement himself. He’s a smart guy. He told me how he did it, but I don’t remember.


View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3851 days

#11 posted 04-20-2016 12:49 AM

You can do a lot with prys, cribbing and rollers if you have the time and patience.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View luthierwnc's profile


146 posts in 1951 days

#12 posted 04-20-2016 01:57 AM

Thanks guys, Any way I figure it, I’ll need to buy gear and/or materials that I probably won’t need again. And none of my ideas come with a guarantee of success, lack of damage or ten surviving toes. Mostly it’s that I don’t have a lot of friends who would be much help. But you guys are new friends and I appreciate your input. Cheers, sh

View MrUnix's profile


7005 posts in 2374 days

#13 posted 04-20-2016 02:21 AM

Haven’t seen a machine yet that couldn’t be broken down into manageable chunks. Take off the base/stand, pull the motor, table extensions or anything else that can be removed. Then a hand cart, a handful of 2x’s and maybe some plywood should be all you need.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View splatman's profile


586 posts in 1574 days

#14 posted 04-20-2016 03:48 AM

You can do a lot with prys, cribbing and rollers if you have the time and patience.

- TopamaxSurvivor

That is probably just the way I would do it. Think house moving, only on a much smaller scale.

View runswithscissors's profile


2873 posts in 2200 days

#15 posted 04-20-2016 04:36 AM

The first, and easiest thing to remove is the stand from the planer (or vice versa). If you do leave it on the stand, be very aware that that thing will be dangerously top heavy.

My cousin and I moved my mom’s piano up some 180 degree stairs (up to a landing, and up again). At one point we had to remove a stair tread (concrete treads in outdoor stairwell). I still don’t know how we did it. When they left that apartment, I just said “Let the piano guys do it,” and made myself scarce.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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