Heavy lifting

My shop is a mess, and at the moment you can barely move in it. Fortunately, I mean this in the best way possible.

As youíll recall from last time, Iíve just gotten an assignment to write four tool articles, all but one of them on large stationary machines. The deliveries took place last Friday (the 18-wheeler carrying it couldnít get into my neighborhood on Thursday, and they had to take it back and get a smaller truck), and until Sunday the shop was littered with several very heavy boxes.

Now, itís littered with assembled tool bases/stands, assorted smaller parts and components, four sets of manuals and bags of hardware, and many cubic yards of molded Styrofoam packing. The thing about unpacking woodworking machines is that once you have them unpacked, they take up twice as much room: The space taken up by the machine itself, and the space taken up by the shipping crate and all the packing, which I have to hang on to for the time being. And to top all of that off, I still have two very heavy boxes that contain the main machines themselves. And until a very large friend comes over to help me horse those things up out of their boxes and onto their bases/stands, thatís pretty much the way things are going to stay.

Truth be told, I did get one of the machines set up last night with the help of my wife. The machine itself was dissembled enough for shipping that I managed to get all the parts but one out by myself. The last, although quite heavy, required lifting for less than four seconds, and my wife managed to help me out with that. Barely. But that still leaves two large masses of cast iron languishing there on my shop floor, laughing at me.

And until my friend comes over after heís off work tonight, thatís the way itís all going to stay. In the meantime, the best I can do is read all the manuals Ė for about the 10th time Ė and keep sweeping up what seems like thousands of tiny static-charged bits of Styrofoam floating everywhere in the shop.

Till next time,



  • George K. says:

    Wow, sounds like a problem a lot of us would like to have. I look forward to your reviews. I just started reading your blogs & I’m enjoying them. If you want to bounce any ideas let me know.


  • Mark Slafkes says:

    I’ve just gone through the same problem with my shop. After 18 years of having undersized and underpowered equipment, I got a new planer, new jointer and, for the first time, a shaper with power feeder. All of this stuff had various qualities of packing and all of it was very difficult to remove from the crates and get into my shop, a converted multicar garage.

    My point here is that the way the equipment is shipped should be in equipment reviews. Why? Because some manufacturers use environmentally awful packing, some use completely inadequate packing (this was my case), some use good packing and the packing is easy to deal with.

    If the equipment is too heavy to unpack by itself, a person risks serious back injury. If the equipment is too difficult to move into a basement shop, as one blogger related recently, the size needs to be taken into account. In my case, I needed a large tractor with a front loader to remove the crates (I live in a rural area) and with that, everything would still be in my driveway.

    Most equipment runs pretty well. But the other aspects, as you have said in this blog, can be a real determinant as to whether you want to purchase that particular equipment or some other manufacturer’s equipment.

    In my case, the planer arrived with two large castings shattered and the table loose from being dropped at the manufacturer. I was incredibly lucky that the carrier noted the damage because, to my eye, the only damage to the crate was a slight rip along one side.

    Perhaps, a good article would just deal with shipping and receiving equipment and cautions people should take and why.


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