Monday, February 6, 2012

Lightening Rod installed

As a child growing up in the 50's I had an Erector Set and have fond memories of the many hours spent building with it. Thinking now, how much fun I had with it as a kid, imagine at the time, the thrill of being some of the people developing the Erector Set product itself!

When working on projects, problem solving, is the frosting on the cake for me. As the height of the cabin walls increased I began to think about the effort that would be needed in stacking and unstacking the 250 to 300 pound logs on to the walls. I decided to use some of the salvaged barn materials and assemble a jib crane to do the job.
It took the better part of a week and a bit of head scratching, but was a great learning experience and it works very well. I had a plan in mind and did some drawings to determine the height and reach I would need. The height is such that the roof rafters will clear the boom so it will stay in place until a home is found for the roughed in cabin.

After setting up and bracing the 14 foot 6x6 main mast I added a 5 foot Gin Pole to it so that I could raise the 16 foot 6x6 beam and place it on the top pin. I have found that it is a good practice to test things like this (proof of concept) with a light load first, a 12 foot 2x6 in this case, before doing the real lift. The 300 pound oak main beam proved to be a real handful to say the least!

With the beam set on the 1" diameter pin drilled 10" deep into the mast I could see that some reinforcement might be in order to keep the pin from splitting out the top. I had some nice oak clamps left from last summers bridge project that did the trick.

Sometimes the first idea is not the best idea and this was one of those times. I had planned on using 4 oak blocks to anchor the knee brace. To rotate the top beam I would use the come-a-long to lever up the long end of the beam, remove the pin and let the brace arm swing down. Then I could rotate the beam 90 degrees and put things back together to do a lift. Trouble was that I had to do the rotating with the come-a-long off and the 10 feet of beam (long arm) really put some stress on things to say the least. I would need to "round up" the square mast so that I could leave the pin and brace arm in place while rotating the beam.

Simple enough,  just make a nice round collar to put around the square mast.

Started by wrapping a 6x6 with 2x6 pieces and laying out the diameters I needed. A few cuts with the chainsaw to trim off the corners. A few more cuts to get the depth for the shoulder where the pin would ride and...

Bingo! I had my four little problem solvers. Just screw them in place on the mast, add a little grease and now the knee brace could stay in place supporting the long end of the beam during rotation. Problem solved!

And here it is lifting one of the logs up onto the wall. Back to work. Sweet!

1 comment:

  1. I like the crane! Maybe there is one of these in my future projects.