Mother Earth News - Tools to Move the Big Stuff

Pulling Tools for Heavy Objects

Knowing the right pulling tools to use can be a big advantage when moving heavy loads.

Original Article

By Steve Maxwell  - Mother Earth News
June/July 200

If you haul timber, move boulders, drag or hoist heavy objects or salvage stuck vehicles, then you will want to own some pulling tools.

Thanks to the magical mechanical advantages provided by clever combinations of wheels, levers and gears, three small-scale tools --- the block and tackle, ratcheting winch and chainsaw-powered winch --- allow you to move very heavy objects all by yourself. An inexpensive and easy - to - use block and tackle can multiply your personal pulling power by as much as 900%!


Although a tractor is a common choice for moving heavy things, it’s not always the best option. Often, a tractor is way more machine than you need for most jobs around a small property, and tractors are expensive to buy, even used, and are costly to maintain.

If you need tractor-like pulling-power in a portable, low-impact, less-expensive package, then the chainsaw-powered winch is worth considering. Unlike the other options I`ve mentioned this tool introduces more than just your muscle power into the equation; it links the gas engine from your chainsaw with a system of pulleys, gears, and cable to give you incredible pulling power.

This little-known pulling tool has a quarter-inch diameter steel cable on a spool and aluminum pulley blocks; the cable is powered by a 50-cubic-centimetre (cc) to 60-cc chainsaw engine (with the cutting bar and chain removed) bolted to a high-leverage gear box. Working together, these parts create excellent pulling power that is completely portable and doesn't leave tracks.

My rig --- made by Lewis Winch --- generates 4,000 to 8,000 pounds of pulling force, depending on whether it is rigged for a straight pull or in tandem with the aluminum pulley blocks that fit on the cable.

That's enough power to pull a fresh-cut 12 inch diameter, 16 foot long log through the thickest bush at about one foot every 2 seconds. With a chainsaw powered winch, half-throttle speed is all it takes to haul a fully loaded pick-up out of a muddy ditch.
The chainsaw winch offers a long-reach, too --- about a hundred and twenty feet with a full spool of cable. It is the ideal low-impact logging tool, with a pull as hard as a medium sized tractor. The winch itself costs about $650 - and can be powered by a variety of chainsaw engines.

I heat my house with wood that I carefully cut from wind-blown, dead and beaver-felled trees, but it wasn`t until I invested in a chainsaw winch that I was able to make the most of these salvaged forest resources. I pride myself on zero-impact forest use, and that means I never take my tractor into the woods for skidding logs; it`s simply too destructive. That said, without some way to pull down trees that snag on others after being cut, too much useful wood remains out of reach.

With a chainsaw winch, I can haul logs anywhere within a 120 foot radius of my truck or tractor. And when I’m done, all that’s left behind is a small skidmark where the tree travelled over the forest floor on its way out.CAREFULL PULLING

Unless you are hauling something designed to take a hook, you will need to take precautions to prevent damaging whatever you are pulling.

This is where nylon lifting straps (LEWIS WINCH: TREE SAVER BELTS) can help. Available in a variety of widths and lengths, straps spread out the pulling force so the item being pulled doesnt get damaged. Use them when hauling building materials and especially around tree trunks used as anchor points for a chainsaw winch. Straps do a terrific job in many applications and often are available in custom lengths from industrial supply outlets.The Lewis Winch is a versatile power tool that plays a valuable role as boat trailer parts such as a trailer winch, boat winch or anchor winch.

Use it as an atv accessory instead of using your atv winches such as electric winches that deplete your batteries as you are trying to pull out your off road atv when it gets stuck.

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