On a recent turnkey installation for a client, I had the nasty job of toting 3 yards of concrete from the delivery truck to the tower base, using a single wheelbarrow—200 ft away (downhill, luckily). It was cold, wet (raining), and the neighbor lady was cursing us the entire time (she was somehow convinced that tire tracks on her lawn were my doing; they weren’t). However, the upshot of this task was that I discovered a new tool. Albeit too late to use on this job, and probably too expensive to utilize any way except through a rental, but a superb example of problem solving at its simplest form.
To wit, the Accu-Chute
wheelbarrow. This is a heavy-duty wheelbarrow, with a tapered chute, or
spout, on its front. Equipped with heavy-duty wheels and tires and a
heavier-than-usual bed, this wheelbarrow will allow you to easily and
accurately pour liquids into a small diameter tube. Perfect, in
other words, for what I was doing, or what we sometimes must do on
tower jobs. The price is high, but the laborsaving just might be
On this same job, some simple tools again came into play, reminding me of early building success. This was a 52-ft Tri-Ex crankup tower, weighing some 900-odd lbs. The owner, who still lives in New York, hired me to install it. He purchased the tower on KA9FOX’s QTH.com website, and the Florida owner delivered it to the NC location. Before its arrival, I spent considerable time thinking about moving this hunk of steel. I believe this “visualization” was not only helpful, but useful, because the owner was amazed when N4ZC and myself unloaded it in less than two minutes, without incident. “It took me an hour to load this thing, using a forklift,” he exclaimed. Here’s how we did it.
I knew, from telephone conversations, that he was using a U-Haul vehicle trailer. I cut some sections of 3-inch water pipe to the width of trailer’s ramps. Even though the tower was heavy, I was still able to lift it at one end, enough so that Roger (ZC) could slide one under the tower. It was then a simple matter to slide those down to the center, whereupon we could then tilt the tower up—the other way—and slide the remaining pipe sections under that end. Then it was amazingly easy to roll the tower off, onto my work dollies.
I have two dollies which I utilize all the time in tower work. They’re great tools. One is a simple “wagon” style dolly, with 10-inch pneumatic tires, capable of supporting 1200 lbs. I have a 10-ft handle for it, which lets me walk and steer with a tower hanging over the front. The other is a modified “trailer hitch” dolly, designed to allow one person to roll a trailer around. I welded some plate to the hitch point, and it now slides under heavy stuff and allows me to roll it around. This dolly usually “brings up the rear” of whatever long, heavy object I’m trying to maneuver around someplace. And I can still screw a ball into it, to use as originally designed. Together, these dollies allowed just the two of us to roll this heavy crankup tower next to the house, where it sat atop some concrete blocks, while we dug the base.
A few weeks later, when the base had cured (and my finger had healed—another story for another time), it was a simple matter to put the tower back on these same two dollies, and carefully move it across the yard, under the deck & and ease it up to the Tri-Ex erection fixture. I must admit, in each case, the work went easier than even I had imagined. Storing them takes some time and trouble, but these dollies have made work projects such as this one not only possible, but also much easier and more affordable. And by the way, I purchased the wagon dolly from TEK Supply and the trailer dolly at Northern Tools.
If you think you’re interested in moving heavy objects without incident (hurting yourself, for instance), or spending large amounts of money to rent mechanized equipment, you might enjoy what one enterprising retired carpenter in Michigan has been able to accomplish. Visit http://www.theforgottentechnology.com/Page1.htm
for a fascinating look at some old methods and techniques for moving heavy stuff!
What’s in your toolbox?? --K4ZA