Maneuver Monster Machines

You used to hear that if we used more of our brains, we could move mountains – thanks, Lucy for making us bust that myth. While a 12″ jointer at 700+ pounds is not quite a mountain, hustling it around a one-man shop is a bit taxing. Using your brain beats using your brawn when you have to maneuver monster machines.

This past Friday I cleared the shop floor to make room for 35 woodworkers from the Cincinnati Woodworkers Club, who were coming in to talk joinery. We spent the better part of the day on Saturday discussing pins and tails and mortises and tenons, enjoying pizza and having a laugh or two.

As I made room in the shop, I huffed and puffed as I slid machines out of the way – I didn’t use any brain. Duh! This morning, however, when it came time to maneuver my jointer back into position I tried to make less use of my brawn.

More Brain, Less Brawn

I remembered watching rigging crews move massive machines around a shop using pipe, so I turned to my pipe clamps. I’m a fan of 3/4″ pipe clamps. I unscrewed the heads from the pipes, and slipped the foot off their ends. Once bare, I used the pipes to move my jointer. Easy, to say the least. Plus, it’s a great way to shake out all the debris stuck underneath.

Next time you need to move something massive, or you simply want to save your back, give this a try.

— Glen D. Huey

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3 thoughts on “Maneuver Monster Machines

  1. I have used this method for equipment weighing up to a ton with success every time. About a year ago I found myself needing to move an old Zeiss electron microscope mounted on a cabinet; the whole assembly was about 1500 lbs. and we had no iron pipe around. Guess what? PVC worked just as well. I just made sure to keep lots (as in, 6 or 8) of individual pieces of pipe under the machine.

  2. That old pipe trick works great.
    (Getting my 800 Jointer up on a mobile base took a case of beer and a BBQ cookout.
    Thank God for buddies) haha
    Thanks Glen.

    1. Eric? Where was my invite? I would have beat a path to your shop for that deal. I may have brought a few pipes with me, too.

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