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Mounting Large Logs

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Ed Weingarden, Nov 21, 2020 at 2:14 PM.

  1. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    I'm looking for ideas as to how to get large heavy logs up onto the lathe, and mounted between centers. Thanks.
     
  2. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Crane on a overhead track. engine hoist are two methods I have seen used.

    for a one time project I just struggled a little with what I had.
    Used my hydraulic table and a couple of 2x4s when I turned a couple of poplar logs for rustic pedestals.
    These were 24” diameter 30+ Length. Poplar is not a heavy wood.

    Put 2x4s across the table rolled the log on top of the 2x4s, pump the table up. Slide 2x4s onto the ways and lever the log higher with the 2x4s putting blocks of wood under the log to get it to the center marks I had put on the log ends.
    This was an ok solution for doing 3.

    I used a Oneway big bite in the Chuck to drive them.

    I know you are aware but for anyone reading this thread.
    Big pieces are dangerous, require a lot of skill, slow turning speed, and a suitable lathe,
    I have a ONEWAY 2436 that can handle big pieces.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020 at 2:54 PM
    Bill Boehme and Emiliano Achaval like this.
  3. Dwight R Rutherford

    Dwight R Rutherford

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    I use a hydraulic lift table from Harbor Freight to raise the log to the ways of my lathe. If it’s too heavy to get it mounted, I have an inner tube for a wheel barrow (Harbor Freight) that I place on the ways first. Apply air from the compressor to lift up for mounting between centers.
    Hockenbery beat me to it!
     
  4. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    I use two systems on my Oneway 24:
    The "small side" over the Oneway bed utilizes barn door hangers from Grainger - rating is, I think, 450-lbs. The design is termed: H-Crane or H-Gantry. Two 10' hanger are perpendicular to the axis and another hanger is attached to the cars - you might need to beef-up your ceiling joists - the hangers must be supported ever foot. The advantage is I don't have to remove the tailstock to mount a log.
    The outboard side will accept about 44" diameter - it was designed to mount Plant Mesquite which weighed a bit north of 1000-lbs. The bed is two 4" H-beams - 6' long. For the overhead, I used a 7' I-beam with a "I-beam-car from Harbor Freight - runs down the axis. I have metal plates on the upstair floor with threaded rods supporting the I-beam.
    I mounted Planet Mesquite before I had the I-beam system - used an engine hoist - couldn't even change shorts until it was mounted. Proof there is a God that protect fools and dumb animals.

    The H-Gantry is a pleasure to use - I have a chain-hoist on the cross-hanger car. It's a cakewalk to mount a 300-lb+ log. Also, I use a 1.5" spur drive - never had a problem although I use the speed dial to both spin-up and spin-down. The 1.5" spur makes it easy to reposition the log as needed.

    I doubt that I could understand the above - happy to talk you through.
     
    Tim Tucker likes this.
  5. John Tisdale

    John Tisdale

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    Here is a pic of lifting with an engine hoist. Again, I do NOT recommend this approach.
    The pic does show the H-Gantry in the background hoist.jpg
     
  6. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    Learn something every day. The inner tube is simply genius. I always have someone helped me with big logs.
     
  7. Dennis Weiner

    Dennis Weiner

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    The under $100 solution.
    For logs less than 22” OD, I use a HFT electric lift over my oneway 2436. I measure the diameter of the log to determine where the drive centers need to be and calculate the thickness of the shims I need. I use paired blocks of various thicknesses to rest the log on to in order to align the center points. (My inventory consists of pieces under 12” long of paired 6x6,4x4, 2x4, 5/4, 3/4,1/2, 1/4). From these sets, I can combine and stack to get the height needed without manual lifting.
     
  8. Dave Delo

    Dave Delo

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    Sorry but I couldn't resist, I do it the old fashioned way.....
    butterbean.jpg
     
  9. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    Thanks for the feedback. An overhead lift sounds like a real good option. Unfortunately, duct work runs along the ceiling above the lathe, so I have no way to mount one. The lift table may be the way to go for me, with additional apparatus (e.g. inner tube) on the bed to get the log between centers.
     
  10. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Folks, in regard to mounting some sort of lifting system to the ceiling above your lathe- don't. Just don't. (Are there any structural engineers in the room?)

    I am a building inspector (and the air gets sucked from the room...). Building framing systems are built to withstand the dead loads (permanent weight, typically the construction materials themselves and system components secured to them- drywall, pipe, ducts, insulation, etc.) and live loads (people, furnishings, equipment, things that move...). What is built overhead from your lathe serves one of two purposes-

    1- Floor framing of a room that is overhead. It doesn't matter if you are in an old house or a new house, structurally speaking, that floor system is typically built for live loads between 30-40 pounds per square foot of uniform loading spread out over the greater floor area, and usually not more than a 10 psf uniform dead load, and almost never for concentrated loads. (Although with today's fascination with stone kitchen countertops, we are seeing framing for concentrated loads under the kitchen cabinets.) This can be in the form of sawn lumber (2x8, 2x10, etc.) or an engineered lumber system ("I-joists" or open-web floor trusses), to which I will call them all floor joists. None of the floor joists in your house are designed for weight bearing of concentrated loads from the bottom surface (cord) of the joist, such as some sort of trolley/crane system lag screwed to the framing. As an example, John Tisdale's shop photo above shows wood I-joist ceiling framing, nothing but a ceiling surface is supposed to hang from those (pipe and duct run through designated knockouts in the OSB web), they are built from OSB glued into grooved lumber of small cross section.

    2- Ceiling/attic framing for the roof of the building. This framing, across a better part of the populated USA is going to be no stronger, if not weaker, than the floor framing described above. Hand framed roof rafters or manufactured roof trusses are first calculated for the expected snow load for your region. In my area of MN, we build roofs for an expected 35 psf of snow load and 10 psf of dead load (both uniform loads) to bear on the pitched framing members. That number goes up in higher snow total regions. The hand framed horizontal ceiling joist or bottom cord of the truss is only typically designed to carry a uniform 10psf for dead loads, and usually zero psf for live loads.

    Regardless of hand framed or manufactured/engineered framing components, anchoring a weight bearing fastener into the narrow dimension of a piece of lumber is never a good idea. There is about 1.5" of lumber width that you are now expecting to support a fastener than is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch wide itself, this sacrifices the remaining wood from being able to do its job, allowing the grab on the fastener to fail. Also, engineered components (I-loists and trusses) cannot be drilled or cut outside the allowances of the manufacturer's design, and I've never seen either that have been allowed to drive such fastening into the bottom cord of the member.

    A trolley/crane system hanging from the overhead building framing (parallel or perpendicular to the building framing does not matter) constitutes a concentrated load on those members that is in addition to the designed uniform live loads, you can't use "unused" live load weight (but my room above is empty) to compensate for the new concentrated load. Concentrated loads need to be carefully accounted and designed for, before and during the construction of the building. Concentrated loads are never carried on open span floor/attic/roof framing, they are carried on horizontal headers/beams and vertical columns that bring those concentrated loads directly to the building foundation. If I came into a building in the course of my work and saw such an installation (associated with the work I'm there to inspect), I am going to order the construction to be reviewed by a licensed structural engineer, and for the engineer to design a proper structural system to carry those loads. Have I done this before? Yes. A recent example- I was involved with the modification of a single family house to a medical group home where a bedridden patient was going to be cared for. The contractor was installing a medical lift (rated for 600 pounds) to the ceiling above the bed, one that is normally found in a medical building designed for such lifts. I informed them that the loads would overwhelm the roof trusses the lift would hang from and likely collapse while moving the patient. The truss bottom cord spec's for these houses usually have a 10psf dead load rating, and a zero psf rating for a live load. And they were going to hang a patient lift from that framing.

    If your shop has a concrete floor placed directly on earth, have a separate structural frame system professionally designed and built that bears directly on the concrete floor, assuming it can support your lifting system. Sure, you may be thinking I've described nothing but overkill here. Quite the opposite, I've described nothing but minimum requirements/standards. It's all happy times in the workshop until it rips the building apart and you are at of the bottom of the rubble pile.

    Be safe-
    Steve.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020 at 1:27 PM
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  11. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    John- respectfully, I really cannot recommend doing what you are doing. A 300-pound lump of wood might be one thing, but lifting some of those monster pieces of wood from your wood I-joist system above is just not a good idea. Please, consult with a local licensed structural engineer to have him design a modification to that floor system to properly support the weights that floor was never designed to withstand. Maybe they'll find it sufficient, but if not, I'd hate to hear of any kind of disaster.

    Take care,
    Steve.
     
  12. Ed Weingarden

    Ed Weingarden

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    Steve - knowing a little about residential home construction, I appreciate your detailed reply, and words of caution.
     
  13. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    My Mom's sister weighed over 400 pounds. We never worried about her walking across the floor, with the concentrated load between floor joists. How would a 300 pound block of wood hanging directly off at least 2 joists or more be worse, or even one joist? Consider your loaded refrigerator/freezer sitting on 4 little wheels, most likely not centered on joists either. An empty side by side 27 cu ft weighs 298 pounds. I haven't heard any floor joists cracking under any of mine. If you are over concerned by other peoples conservative advice, add a jack post under each joist when you load that pickup sized timber on the lathe. Personally, I've never put anything on my lathe close to 300 pounds.
     
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  14. Steve Tiedman

    Steve Tiedman

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    Richard, everything you just mentioned is a load that the floor system is designed for (except the lump of wood), the live loads I spoke to previously. Having all those typical weights in place, and then adding another concentrated load that the building component(s) was not designed for, is what leads to structural problems.

    Nothing we do in our shops (or homes)- structural, mechanical, electrical, or chemical, is ever a problem. Ever. Until the very instant when it is, and then these things we've been doing in the past suddenly cause a tragedy and big red trucks are parked in front of the house. We can learn from our mistakes, and we can learn before the mistake could be made. In my world I see examples of each nearly everyday.

    Home builders generally do not overbuild the structural systems in the buildings. Instead they build to the maximum spans a member can support, then spread those member as far apart as allowed so they can buy less of them. In other words, they build to the minimum required, not something a builder should brag about. (Building to code should not inspire pride.) You ask good questions, though, the answers being... it depends. For example, is that floor joist a 2x8 spanning 12 feet, or is it a 2x12 spanning 8 feet? What species and grade of wood is it? Does it already have holes or notches taken out of it for other typical construction reasons? The variables are endless, but if we plan ahead for what we are doing we can avoid the problems those plans may want to give us.

    I fully expect people to have some level of "king of the castle" after I leave the site, hopefully I don't ever have to return at the request of the fire department in the future, I don't like those phone calls.

    I've been at this for over 25 years, and I learned long ago that free advice is just that. My point to all of this is before we ask a built structure to do something it wasn't built for, find out if it's okay first. If we don't, well, I'll keep my fingers crossed.

    One if my favorite statements in life- "Just because I can, doesn't mean I should."

    Steve.
     
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  15. Timothy Allen

    Timothy Allen

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  16. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    You don't have to go to all the trouble to repeat all your information Steve. I was a mechanical engineer at Caterpillar for 30 years and understand structural issues very well. I'm not going to do a finite element analysis on my house structure. But if my structure is made to handle a refrigerator or full tub of water with a 400 pound women by either, I'm very comfortable hanging something that weighs 100 pounds less under them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020 at 8:39 PM
  17. Rob Fridenberg

    Rob Fridenberg

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    ....and... even though the house is designed/roughed in properly (is it really?) - the plumbers and HVAC guys come in after rough-in with their sawsalls and start cutting beams with reckless abandon to route their systems. Everyone is in a hurry to complete the job and move on to the next house. I was a bit shocked with what I saw when our house was built. The code inspectors do not see everything!
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020 at 10:16 PM

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