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Thread: Strength of 2x12 lumber as a ramp

  1. #1
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    Aug 2009
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    Default Strength of 2x12 lumber as a ramp

    Hi, I need to get my lathe/mill outta the basement.
    Need to get it over stairs..
    600lb IH mill (Table/head removed) and 12x36 1000lb lathe.
    If I use two 2x12's as ramps (4 stairs) how long a span could they go unsupported with 600lbs weight in one section, or 1000lbs spread out over 5' or so?

    Should I use a much longer ramp then the stairs to reduce the pulling angle?
    I plan to hook the mill/lathe onto a 'sled' made outta many 2x4's to go up the ramp, and tow the sled up via hand winch for control (My friend says to use a car to pull it directly, But I think thats stupid because cars are not known for precise control, especialy not automatics with torque converters)

    Im thinking of using some 6x6's to help block up the ramp

    I don't know what wood this would be.. just whatever I can buy at home depot or the local lumber yard as standard construction wood. Likey gonna get pressure treated (outdoor) 2x12's as I don't want them rotting.

    Should I just give up and call a moving company insted? :P The guys who moved all my furnature mentioned if I called they could get someone over to do it..

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Montana
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    If you can put some temporary braces under the stairs and lay some "Ramps" on top of the steps.

    Make sure everyone is in a safe place at all times.

    Hal

  3. #3
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    Do you intend to orient the 2x12s horizontally or vertically? In the former case, they'll support a huge amount of weight as long as they aren't allowed to twist. In the latter case, they'll support far less. I don't think I'd play, "You Bet Your Mill" on two 2x12s without some serious bracing.

    I'd wager four 2x4s on edge would be stronger than two 2x12's that are flat - again, as long as they can't twist.

    If you're not completely sure you can do this, and you don't yet have the ramps made, a moving company could be better.
    Last edited by Tony Ennis; 05-27-2010 at 12:00 PM.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2010
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    4x4s would be better. Use 4 of them spread evenly.

    Can the stairs runners and steps take 1000lbs? Can your rigging hold 1000lbs on an angle? I'd used at least a doubler pulley on each end to reduce your load on whatever is holding the load down the stairs.

  5. #5
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    I used three pressure treated 4x4's when moving my Tormach without an issue. Two would have worked fine but used the third as security. Just think things through then take it slow and easy.

    Robert

  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
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    i would go to a scaffold rental place and rent a couple scaffold planks. they are an engineered LVL board that are very strong and certified. i have a bunch of them if you would like to borrow them. if you use standard dimensional lumber check closely for knots and cracks and support it with cribbing every 16-18". the width of the board adds very little to the strength. you could use 2X6 but support cribbing is a must. if you can run the boards right on the stairs that should be good as long as the stairs are built well.
    Last edited by Roy Andrews; 05-27-2010 at 12:28 PM.

  7. #7
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    I wouldn't hesitate to put a 600 pound mill on my basements steps. I weigh 275 and any one of my stairs will hold my weight. If planks were laid on those stairs then at least 3 stairs would come into play if 600 pounds was placed over one stair. But your mill will likely rest over 3 stairs which should bring 5 stairs into play to hold your 600 pounds. It certainly wouldn't hurt to offer a little moral support with a 4x4 placed vertically under the middle of the steps run from underneath.

    On the subject of planking. Pressure treated will be more slippery for you then dried timber. Also, look for grain structure that enhances the strength. Lay the board flat and look at the end of the board to read the grain structure. Vertical grain will be the strongest and those boards are normally reserved for scaffolding and cost about twice as much. But, you can find boards that may not be perfect but the grain runs more vertical then horizontal and they will in fact be stronger. Choose your boards by looking at the end of the pile for grain when selecting 2x4's. They all cost the same but some are stronger then others.

    Either way it's going to be a bear of a job! Good luck and hope you get to drink your beer with unsmashed fingers. I would not hire furniture movers to do this unless you just can't find anyone else. My lathe was moved with 4 young guys who put themselves in harms way and I would have been responsible had they been hurt.

    In the drawing below, anything on the right log would work for you but likely be very expensive if quarter sawn. However any of the 3 pieces in the middle cuts of the left hand low would give you radial and not tangential grain and would be stronger. Not sure how big of a deal it would be for your 600 pound load if used as skids?
    Last edited by Your Old Dog; 05-27-2010 at 12:56 PM.
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  8. #8
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    I find that a useful way to think about this is to convert "600 pounds" or "1000 pounds" into a number of people. Could five 200-pound guys stand on the planks safely?
    ----------
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  9. #9
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    FWIW: I have a pair of 2" rough-sawn 2" X 12" cottonwood planks that are 9' long, with aluminum "ramp ends" bolted to one end of each. I load my electric golf cart onto the bed of my pickup truck by driving it up the ramps. The cart weighs more than 1000# with me on it, probably as much as 1300# when other stuff is also strapped onto it. Yes, the ramps sag, but they've not broken yet.

    Personally, I think your plan will work fine: 2X12's with supports in the middle, machine on a skid, hand winched. You're right in thinking to not use a car to pull it with. Make sure the supports can't slip out, the worst thing that could happen would be for ONE of them to slip, causing the machine to tip.

  10. #10
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    I am sure you can do this but think every bit through.

    The last thing I moved in that way was a big iron safe and the only scarey point was when it reached the top when it suddenly went from slope to horizontal.

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