Unloading big iron

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So it looks like SWMBO has agreed to a trip to missouri to get some big iron. I figure I'll get the largest open flatbed that uhaul has and pull it with my half-ton van. I believe those trailers have a 3000# capacity. That should be enough. What I can't figure out yet is how to unload the trailer when I get home.
The best thing I can think of is to buy an engine hoist, chains, and some heavy nylon straps. I should be able to wrap the straps around the crates and pick up the machines while still on the pallets. I could also use this technique to get the machines off the pallets and onto mobile bases, or heavy parts onto machine bases. And since I do my own car repairs, I wouldn't mind having one anyway.
The only other thing I can think of is to unhitch the trailer, put a jack under the tongue and raise the front of the trailer so that the back is lower. These trailers are really low, and it wouldn't take much of an angle to make the back of the trailer touch the garage floor. Then I could use a come-along or something to pull the pallet off the trailer. That doesn't help me in assembly though.
I also thought about renting something, like a bobcat with a forklift attachment. I haven't looked into the cost of this, but I bet it will cost as much as the engine hoist.
Does anyone else have any creative ideas to help unload this stuff? In getting the tools off the trailer, time is of the essence. But assembly can take longer if need-be.
brian
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Pieces of pipe used as rollers will allow you to move heavy stuff pretty easily.
I've unloaded heavy machinery from a truck by rolling it off onto cribbing made up of wooden beams, two bys, etc. Then lowering by jacking it up and removing wood from alternate sides until it's on the ground. Not something I'd do with something with a high center of gravity or small footprint, though.
John Martin
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Just how heavy of items are you talking about?
I unloaded my 1023SL (450 lbs?) by myself and put it on the mobile base as well. I'm 5'7". I found I didn't have to lift anything. It's all about leverage and sliding the item vs. trying to lift it. I certainly don't know your situation so your mileage may vary of course. Another thing to do is usually the tools have heavy accessories packed inside (ie. cast iron wings etc..). By splitting the shipment up when you get home, you can then have more manageable weights. Good Luck! Cheers, cc

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When I bought my 1023 used, a friend and I took the fence off, took the top and wings off, took the motor off and I went home by myself. Now, I'm still spry and don't have a bad back, but the worst part was the cabinet/trunnion and I just bear-hugged it and set it on the ground. If you've got even one person to help, I don't think it would be too much of a problem to just hurry up and unload the stuff (bad back notwithstanding).
At any rate, a dolly wouldn't be a bad purchase and would certainly give you a huge advantage. Good luck.
-Phil Crow
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Hi Brian,
I rented a U-haul with a liftgate when I picked up my 1023SL in January. IIRC it cost around $75 - I only had it for a couple of hours, but of course they charge by mileage and you have to bring it back filled with diesel.
Worked out pretty well tho - SWMBO & I did it with no problems.
I did it this way because the freight company could not get close enough to our garage (which is at the top of a long, steep driveway) and they wanted $50 for simply liftgating down to the curb.
If you are driving a long distance, it may not be worth it, but that liftgate sure is nice.
Lou

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It is a long way, about 8 hours. We're going to make long a weekend trip of it to see some friends.
brian
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on 4/13/2005 10:36 AM brianlanning said the following:

You've gotten some good tips thus far, Brian but consider these:
Next time you're in Rockler's or Woodcraft, ask them how they manage.
I'm with Cubby. "Divide and conquer" and slide and tilt, don't lift.
Getting the crate to the garage floor should be no problem. Is the floor smooth? Epoxied? My garage floor is very smooth and surfaced with some sort of urethane clear finish. Shop floor is just smooth, hard concrete (for now). I would take a chance with some of those teflon moving pads you see in the hardware store, etc. They come in all sizes and four of the 5" or 6" diameter ones should work like a charm. I've not tried them on concrete yet but I have used them to nudge refrigerators, etc. on carpet, plywood subfloor, tile, etc. They work great. Would be much easier than the rolling pipe suggestion offered IF the concrete is smoothly finished.
Also, consider renting an appliance dollie from the local rental shed. They are rated for around 700lbs which should cover your needs nicely.
You MIGHT even get lucky and find one like this:
http://www.industromart.com/pedi_-_lifts.htm
A dollie with a manually pumped hydraulic lift platform.
Whatever you do, don't let SWMBO get hurt helping you. She's a keeper. There's damn few out there as supportive of our addict..., er, hobby, as that. I got one, you've got one -- that's about it for NE Illinois, I think<g>
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I'll see if I can rent one of these manual forklift replacements.

She was on the weightlifting team in high school. I'm probably more likely to get hurt than she is. My back isn't so great these days. A lot of my friends seem to have the same problem. That's why I'm looking for a tool to help out rather than an army of people.

I think she thinks I'm nuts. But I'm supportive of her goals so I think she's trying to reciprocate. I tried to get the trip moved up a month or so, but she wants to go down there in july. I'm still torn about the grizzly tent sale. If I forego the tent sale, I can go as soon as the kids are out of school. The timing is probably right. I need time to prepare the new shop anyway.
brian
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Unquestionably Confused wrote:

None of that stuff is necessary. I have a bad back too AND my garage floor is just plain old concrete. The driveway is gravel with a "L" in it that has to be negotiated: that's why I didn't pursue the liftgate option. The reality of moving the really heavy stuff was much better than my worried mind had imagined.

Rent, hell! You can buy a 500 lb dolly at the borg for $40. It's enough to do what he needs done and then he has something he probably ought to own anyway. <G>
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

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I have a hand-truck with 10" inflatable tires. What do you think the weight capacity is on it? I worry about it though because I was moving tile boxes not too long ago and it didn't seem able to hold much.
brian
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brianlanning wrote:

Take a look through the Grainger catalog and see if you can match it. Capacities run from about 300-800 pounds depending on the model. With 10" wheels I'd expect it to be on the heavy-duty end but what I expect and what is true are not always the same.

--
--John
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brianlanning wrote:

It's probably up to the job. Just wrap some straps around it so things don't get away from you. It's basically a balancing act anyway.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

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On 13 Apr 2005 10:40:28 -0700, the inscrutable "brianlanning"

They're rated for 600 lbs and I've had 500 on one, so I know they'll do it. I got the HF model on sale for $20 and have adored it. It makes SO much difference over any other wheel style. I can lift 200 lbs up a short set of stairs on it without any trouble. They're just loverly.
Hint: Air up the tires before each use. The Chinese schrader valves don't retain air as well as they should.
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After I got my 460lb saw liftgated to the garage floor, I used a dolly (Sears 500lb capacity, pneumatic tires) to move it into my basement which is adjacent to the garage and where my shop is. There was one step-up to negotiate. I made a step with some 2x4's and it was no problem.
I also fretted over this a lot before I actually got the saw. It was a lot easier than I ever thought it was going to be. If you balance the load carefully, it moves fairly easily.
A dolly will do ya in my opinion also.
Lou
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Thats easy.....use the 3 2 1 method.
3 friends 2 pizzas 1 six pack of beer :) ymmv - in my case - its normally - 3 friends - 2 pizzas and 1 case

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You can rent a manual forklift/hoist. They have forks just like a forklift but just a set of wheels much like an engine hoist. There is a tower with a hand crank much like a winch.
These are typically agile enough you can use them on the truck/trailer to move the items around and then off load them from the ground too.
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brianlanning wrote:

Take off all the straps, back up fast and hit the brakes. :-) Assembly is almost assured to take longer.
Seriously though, if the machines are comming with 'some assembly required', you could probably unpack the crates while they're on the trailer and use a small two wheel cart to move the large pieces around.
Jeff
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brianlanning wrote:

I can certainly understand why you might do this but you're probably making this harder than you need to. I have in the last six months or so purchased both an 18" bandsaw and an 8" jointer, both of which were then loaded into standard pickup truck beds. Nothing hung out the back... but then again, it was one tool at a time. The bandsaw was the bigger of the two, with a crate roughly the size of a cheap coffin.
Getting them into my garage without damaging anything was easy enough, even though we are talking about 400-500 lbs here. All you need to do is back the truck barely into the doorway of the garage, then you and one other guy slide it out of the bed of the truck until it's almost ready to fall out. The two of you tip it and guide it carefully to the floor. Gravity and leverage will provide most of the heavy grunt work. Once you've got it onto the floor, then scoot it across the floor by swinging the edge back and forth (heel-ball, heel-ball, so to speak). It's much easier if the smallest possible footprint is on the floor when you do this. A dolly makes it easy if you have one.
Open your box, measure the footprint of the tool, then assemble the mobile base before you go any further. Walk the tool onto the mobile base the same way you walked the crate across the room. Once you've got the tool's base on the mobile base, it all gets easy from there.
My biggest dread was how to get the deck of that big assed jointer up onto the base and it turned out to be really easy. As it was, the deck was part of an assembly that raised the edges of the deck about 6" or more off the ground. That created plenty of room to get your fingers under it without worrying about getting them squashed. Also, it raised the machinery enough for two of us to easily lift it without ruining our backs.
You don't need any heavy or specialized equipment beyond the dolly. I found heavy straps for the dolly to be a plus. You will need a friend but one extra guy is all you really do need. More than that and the beer starts getting expensive.
Oh, yeah... never offer beer until the machine's put together. You'll get much better results... trust me. <G>
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brianlanning wrote:

(1) Look in the yellow pages under "gymnasiums" or "physical fitness".
(2) Visit each until you find the body building or powerlifting gym (gyms have different clienteles--you want the one where the Governator wannabees hang out, not the one where the yuppies are trying to stay young). Find a guy behind a counter, explain your problem, mention beer and/or money--don't be stingy.
(3) Arrange time and place with your new acquaintaces, most of whom will be physically imposing in appearance, possibly scary looking, quite pleasant once you get past appearances, and capable in the collective if not individually of picking up the fully laden trailer and carrying it wherever you want it carried.

--
--John
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wrote:

I'm worried about you, dude. Seriously. When you broached the subject before about going to the tent sale, you got some answers that included the prospect of standing in line at 0400 (not in itself crippling) and having twenty people fighting over two or three of an item.
I've never been to one of those sales, but I can imagine what it must be like. I envision you having in mind a half dozen items in mind to buy, but I suspect the reality of the situation is you will be lucky to lay claim to one, maybe two of the sale items. You just can't be in all the places you need to be at the same time.
But you're making a fairly big financial committment (trailer rentals ain't all that cheap, and gas definitely isn't, and don't think your trailer pulling isn't going to use even more) on the prospect of MAYBE saving a few dollars. Is it even worth it? I recognize you're going to be in the area anyway, so that cuts some of the costs.
Good luck in any event.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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