I'm building a workbench whose top will come from an older school
workshop benchtop. It's 5' x 5' laminated 8/4 maple, and darned heavy
(I'm estimating 170 lbs or so). Currently I'm working on it on my
smallish screened-in porch, and occassionaly I'd like to flip it up
horizontally (onto a small but sturdy table) as well as work on it
vertically. I have to do it alone.
Well, my first thought is that you need to put a pin through the axis, so
you can spin it from horizontal to vertical with very little effort (think
"paddle wheel"). Then to lift it up and down, I was thinking of either a
pulley type arrangement (hooked to the ceiling) or some form of gear/chain
combination to crank it up and down. The pulley arrangement would probably
be the easiest to set up, and having it move up and down a track. Maybe
some pins to hold it at a particular height.
If you're feeling industrious (industrial?), you could put it on hydraulic
or pneumatic cylinders to raise and lower it.
As your sig implies, the obvious approach is to not lift it
all at once, just lift one end at a time working it like a
lever and rely on walking and sliding it.
You should never have to lift more than half the weight.
I don't remember how long the slab is but if 1/4 of it extends
above the tabletop then that quarter will counterballance some of
the weight, using the edge of the table as a fulcrum, and so
you'd still only be lifting half the weight.
OTOH, the table may tip over, and if the slab is resting too
steeply on the edge of the table then it will want to slide
down when the bottom is swung out.
I'm not sure which applies, but you can do a lot with creative use of
fulcrums and levers, block and tackle, and/or hydraulic jack. I took my
400 lb table saw off the mobile base when I had back trouble without a
problem - using long 2x4 lever and a box for a fulcrum lifting once
side at a time. I mounted an attic stairway by myself using a block
and tackle hung from the roof joist.
Sorry I can't be specific since I don't know the particular geometry of
your porch, height at which you'll be working etc. I just wanted to
throw out some stimulating thoughts.
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