Heavy Lifting – the Easy Way

1946 walker-turner sawYou’ve got a 250lb vintage table saw in your basement shop and you want to get it out – what do you do?

Let your imagination do the heavy lifting for you.

A visit from a friend with a bandaged hand after a serious table saw accident was the final sign that prompted me to replace the 1946 Walker-Turner table saw that I’ve had on loan from my brother-in-law for the last several years. The saw had a few deficiencies – no mitre gauge or blade guard, a cracked plexiglass throat plate and the replacement motor prevented the arbor from tilting beyond about 37 degrees. Oh yeah, and that irritating little nip it took out of the stock as it exited the blade. Other than that it worked great.

But it was time for it to go.

attaching the tow ropeGravity was on our side when we put it in the basement – sliding it down a couple of 2 x 8’s with a rope attached. Since then, both of us have spent enough days suffering lower back pain that the thought of trying to wrestle this bugger back to the surface and onto his Silverado was less than inspiring.

We waltzed it around the basement to the door as the name suggested (walk’er – turn’er). He had a pair of wooden ramps for getting his ATV onto the truck and they were just the right length (almost) to reach the top of the basement stairs.

car in positionWe knew the easiest way to do this was to slide it table-side down. But once the saw reached the top of the incline it needed to land somewhere. We sure didn’t want to be figuring this out once we had the saw to the top and no way to complete the mission. I scrounged around an found a few scraps of wood behind the garage including a small platform-type-thing that had appeared in the ditch by the driveway last fall. Perfect.

saw at top of basement stepsThe light bulb went on in my head when the safety-minded saw owner started to unroll a ratcheting hold down strap with the idea that it could be snugged up as required to keep the saw from sliding backwards if things went pear-shaped on us.

Three minutes later, the car was in position and he was securing the tow rope. Once I got the all clear signal, I put it in gear and 10 seconds later the saw effortlessly appeared at the doorway and tipped gracefully onto the waiting platform.

loaded on the truckI never even touched the gas pedal. We swapped out vehicles, relocated the ramps, manoeuvred the saw into position and easily pushed it up the same ramps into the bed of the truck. All done without breaking a sweat.

I picked up my new saw a couple of days before this move and hadn’t even unpacked it yet. We’re in the final planning stage of a second-floor bathroom renovation so my new saw will live in my ‘summer shop’ (unheated garage) for the season to save me a few steps.

In the interest of safety and thinking about the road ahead for my injured friend, I’m taking this opportunity to make proper jigs and purchase the accessories I need to prevent any life-altering mishaps. I’ll be posting these tips and plans over the coming months.

Happy (and safe) woodworking.

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