View Full Version : In-shop "travel-lift"

Tom Robb
07-31-2017, 11:33 PM
Here in the Wooden boat Foundation's Port Townsend shop we use a knock down wooden crane that has to be dis assembled/assembled for each use (hoisting too-heavy-to-lift boats) and can't be moved when loaded. It has served well enough...ish. The lifting is with four come-a-longs.

It's a pain in the butt and getting tiresome not to mention time consuming.

Has any of you tried to build, or found a commercial unit, welded steel or aluminum, device like a travel lift but no engine power needed (complexity, cost, etc.) ? It would probably be stored outside when not in use. Shop space, as you all know, is limited no matter how big the shop is.

Any reasonable suggestions would be most welcome.

Thanks guys,

08-01-2017, 02:52 AM
Jim Cricket and friends did this:


George Ray
08-01-2017, 06:46 AM

Turns out there are MANY Youtube videos on DIY gantry cranes . . . . .
All the stuff below pales in comparison to the info to be found with a single Youtube search.
Good Luck . . . .





08-01-2017, 08:54 AM
If you want something more compact look at engine hoists. Should work fine for smaller boats. Manual hydraulic and foldable.

David G
08-01-2017, 11:16 AM
More specification, please. Boats how long, how wide, how tall, how heavy, with superstructure, etc. ???

08-01-2017, 11:51 AM
Not exactly a travel lift. In my shop I anchored sections of barn door track along the center line of he shop (24 x 16) and put eye bolts on the ends of the travellers. To these eye bolts I have hooked a pair of comealongs. I can raise any length boat that will fit in the shop. If I hook the comealongs to a bow eye and a bolt through the transom or around a sling made of cargo strap, I can spin the boat over with little effort and set it back on whatever support I have been using or lift the boat to slide a trailer under it. In a one man shop this has proved invaluable. Of course I am mainly working on small wooden boats the longest so far being a bit over 22 x 8 feet (I have a 9 foot ceiling).

08-01-2017, 12:22 PM
Yeah. We had a rolling gantry as a shown in the youtube above. The only issue with it was where to put it when not in use. It was steel and there was a smooth concrete floor in the shop so it rolled freely. In the end we laid down a smooth 'track' to roll it onto outside the shop and made a weather cover for the chain fall.

Tom Robb
08-02-2017, 11:52 PM
Thanks guys.
Helpful ideas.

Chip Chester
08-03-2017, 10:21 AM
Unistrut's catalog offers pre-enginered components for light-duty constructions like this. Not so much in the over-one-ton category, though.
Locomotion could be achieved with drill-powered components like the various trailer mover/tongue jacks, or elements of products like this: http://www.markchick.com/site/crawler/crawler_features.htm

They're not going to take you off-road, but they can move around the shop in a more controlled manner than 'pushing a pendulum'.


Ben Fuller
08-04-2017, 12:24 PM
For a real quick and dirty hoist/ boat roller for my dory, I hung an old spar from some boat hanging hooks after slipping a piece of 4" pvc over it. Slid the pvc over the dory's centerline then took a old trailer winch strap and tied it around the whole affair. Pulled the horses and rolled the dory solo. Next time I do it I'll rig a toggle release.