The Log Lift

Andrew Hilton

Woodturning and working with wood in general can be very heavy.  Many of us turners like to turn big, wet logs and these things can be really large and heavy.  It's also often true that not all of the wood that we want to work with is sitting right next to our shops.  We have to go out and gather it.  That means falling, cutting, loading, transporting and storing it.  The Log Lift that this article discusses deals with the loading aspect of it.

This great homemade / shopmade tool is a an ancient one.  It's been used over the eons to help people lift loads larger than they could easily do on their own.  As you can see in the pictures below, the Log Lift is basically just 2 - 2" x 6" x 8' long pieces of wood that is held together with some short pieces of wood.  There's a "shelf" made so that the log doesn't slide down the Lift when you pick it up.  The shelf needs to be made so that, when the Lift is standing upright, it's just a little higher than what you're wanting to load the logs onto.  In this case, it's the tailgate of a truck.  To use the Log Lift, you simply (actually, this is the hardest part!) place the log onto the Lift above and touching the shelf.  Then stand at the end of the Lift and pick it up.  That's it!  You can make the Log Lift longer in order to get more mechanical advantage but it can become impractical and difficult to transport out into the field if it's too long.

As you can see in the pictures below, I have a very wet half-log loaded onto the Log Lift.  I estimated it to weigh about 200 lbs.  I tried several times to lift it up onto the tailgate of the truck myself but just couldn't manage it.  So, I got out the Log Lift and, well, you can see the results.  Quick, easy and inexpensive!  Really, it was a LOT easier to lift those logs this way.  It's not like it's as easy as a hydraulic lift or something but at least it was so much easier than trying to do it without any help.  Try making one yourself and give it a try.

* Here it is!  The Easy-Lift Sawbuck modification for processing those logs / blanks out in the field!



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10/31/06 4:20:03 PM ... As you guys are so fond of saying in your demo's and classes, Cheap + Easy + Effective! Well done.
10/31/06 6:09:03 PM ... Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks
10/31/06 7:15:22 PM ... Hiltons you've shown the way again. Thanks for showing this
11/1/06 5:20:44 AM ... Spot on. Well done. This is what I remember, as a child, my grandfather using. But I believe we called it something else. No bother, these things really do work well. Thanks for bring back old memories and showing a new generation what it is to be inventive with the materials you have on hand.
11/14/06 3:06:42 PM ... Hey this looks like it will work well.
11/14/06 5:17:21 PM ... This is good. Will try it out and see how it works for me
11/15/06 8:04:33 AM ... How about making this out of metal? Maybe it will be too heavy then?
11/15/06 10:43:25 AM ... How do you come up with these things!
8/20/07 5:05:18 PM ... Author: Make it out of a (properly heavy-duty) aluminum ladder. It'll be light-weight and almost already made for you.
6/17/08 8:03:23 AM ... This is a great inexpensive solution to my problem of loading my truck on a woodturning harvest by myself. Thanks
6/27/11 5:57:23 PM ... Did anyone suggest putting wheels on the ends of the side pieces to roll it around? Thanks for the idea.
6/27/11 5:57:23 PM ... That's a good idea about the wheels. They'll need to be put on the 'handle' end, though. Otherwise, you'll not be able to tip it up the wheels would prevent that if you couldn't lock them from rolling.
10/18/12 7:58:21 AM ... I am going to make one using a 55 gal steel drum. I should be able to roll it with control by attaching steel tube framework similar to the angles used on the hydraulic lifts.
12/23/12 8:53:03 PM ... Fantastic! Exactly what I was looking for.
4/6/13 12:16:49 PM ... Guys at Hearth dot com ... you're welcome. In these pictures, there is some allthread run between the runners to provide some strength and at the end where you hold onto it while pushing from waist high to over your head. That has since been replaced by larger allthread and a pipe in-between that rotates freely. Much easier on the hands.
7/18/14 9:41:48 AM ... yzUGAB Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic blog.Really thank you! Really Cool.

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