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Pulleys, block & tackle (and know-how!)--something to stock up on?

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  • Pulleys, block & tackle (and know-how!)--something to stock up on?

    Started by looking at some commercially available attic lifts, but saw DIY versions like this:

    ---and then moved on to videos like this:

    Seems like there are a lot of possibilities with either a motorized lift and/or knowing how to use pulleys/block & tackle. (I was thinking that an all-manual lift could be a good idea--less to break down and so on, and maybe simpler to build?)

    Some of the other videos on that page connect with ways to get into trees (lifting one's self and/or gear) and also, rappelling and such. Obvious uses for rappelling, and getting up into trees would be handy for hunting (and tree trimming?). Could be a way to store things so that they're safe/less accessible/somewhat hidden.

    And that last bit brought my thinking back to using a lift into an attic, or down into a basement.

    It's a bit far-fetched, maybe, but I could see being well versed with ropes and such, and/or building some version of a lift, whether taking things up into trees or, more likely, into a below-ground storage area, or under-a-roof storage area, as a way to:
    • use storage that is less accessible--which gives more storage options, and thus more storage capacity, and/or storage that's less likely to be suspected/broken-into.
    • use less accessible building sites for cabins, etc. (or those where bringing in heavy loads is difficult). This would have sort of the same advantages as above.
    • move heavy stuff solo, despite being older/having physical limitations--again, helps with opsec, but also is just easier/more convenient.
    • allows doing big jobs without machines/power tools--good for opsec and off-grid living.
    I could also see this skill-set as helpful when moving injured/incapacitated/disabled people.

    One reservation about this, though: what sort of training does it take to be safe with lifting/pulling with lines and pulleys? I worry about a rope or cable parting under tension and all kinds of bad outcomes. Much less extreme problems would be a piece of gear getting busted due to overloading it.

    Any thoughts? If you know how to do this sort of thing, how/where did you learn? What sorts of uses does this know-how have?

    Hoists in a garage for working on engines/equipment could be a starting point for some of the gear and know-how. Or for moving/hanging larger game taken while hunting.

    Zip-line and rope challenge courses in parks and such are kind of catching on. Working in such would also be a way to develop skills, and gear for such would be of use.

    I posted something a long time ago about aerial rope lifts. That'd be an extreme version of this, I guess. I'll try to get a link for that here, but it's late now so posting as is.

    Been there, done that. Then been there again several times, because apparently I never learn.

  • #2
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ID:	213161 Schneb, If your interested in learning safe and effective means of using ropes, cables, block and tackle and other hand tools a source you might not have thought of is the U.S. National Forest Service and the National Park Service. Everything created (bridges, buildings, etc.) in areas designated as National Wilderness Areas must be built with tools using nothing but man power or horse power. Here is a really helpful handbook that is given to all trail work employees: file:///C:/Users/Ronald/Documents/pdf05232810dpi72.pdf Part of park ranger work was never knowing what you were going to be doing next. The picture I included was a bridge I built for a remote hiking trail. Under the oak planks is an 18 inch red oak log that I had to move about 200 yards and get it across the creek and in place by myself (short staffed). I built a number of projects while a Ranger but I was the proudest of this as it was remote and I did it alone. Please check out the manuals available from the USFS, NPS and there area few from the U.S. Army Engineers. Just a thought.
    Last edited by dalewick; 03-26-2018, 06:10 PM.
    Judge no one, until you have walked in the same mud and spilt the same blood. Him, I call brother.


    • #3
      My first thought: I will definitely check it out--thanks!

      ...but my second thought: I tried to use the link and it's not working. Is there a title of that pamphlet that I could search out? I'll also just see what turns up from googling.

      (later, after googling) I'm seeing guides for maintaining the Appalachian Trail--but I'm guessing that's not what you had in mind. They mostly deal with how volunteers can use hand tools to trim and clear branches and trees that fall on the trail and weeds that encroach on the trail. Here's a link:
      Last edited by Schneb; 03-26-2018, 05:29 PM.
      Been there, done that. Then been there again several times, because apparently I never learn.


      • #4
        The book is "Handtools for Trail Work" You can order a copy of this document using the order form on the FHWA’s Recreational Trails Program Web site at < .htm>.
        Fill out the order form and submit it electronically.
        Or you may email your request to:
        Or mail your request to: Szanca Solutions/FHWA PDC 13710 Dunnnings Highway Claysburg, PA 16625 Fax: 814–239–2156
        Produced by: USDA Forest Service, MTDC 5785 Hwy. 10 West Missoula, MT 59808-9361 Phone: 406–329–3978 Fax: 406–329–3719 Email: Web site:

        I tried to upload the cover but the system won't let me. Trying to figure out how to delete photos.

        Judge no one, until you have walked in the same mud and spilt the same blood. Him, I call brother.


        • #5
          I think we should consider adding come-alongs to this list. Anyone who has ever lived on a farm or ranch know what they are. I have 2 and used them either in tandem or singularly to do everything from pull a riding tractor out of a ravine to encourage trees to fall in preferred direction ( away from the house) to help stretch barbed wire when building fence. The tractor took both as I was alone when it rolled off into the ravine, apparently I forgot to set the brake, hitched one hook on either side and and chained them to a tree. Went back and forth cranking two strokes at a time until I got it out. Took about 30 min but did get it out unscathed and finished my work. Lesson learned, I always set the brake now, even on level ground!


          • #6
            I pinned this article a while back--and it was written even earlier, so that's probably where the idea for this thread came from, at least in part. Good info in the write-up, though maybe it's going over basic facts that folks here are already familiar with.

            Preparedness Advice Blog - Information on all aspects of emergency preparedness and food storage.
            Been there, done that. Then been there again several times, because apparently I never learn.