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lifting beams, use a screw jack?

m2akita's picture

Sometimes we need to lift up an overhead beam ( to replace a rotted post, replace old beam, etc.).  What we usually do is use a hydraulic bottle jack and a built up post ( usually a couple of 2x4's nailed together). 


This works great EXCEPT I do not like the hinge point that is created between the bottle jack and the post.  I think that it is an accident waiting to happen.  Your post is not perfectly plumb or the load shifts or something happens and that post and bottle jack go kicking out!!


So I am looking for a better alternative.  I would like something that I could throw in the truck and take to the job site.  In Mike Geurtin and Rick Arnold's book "Precision Framing" they talk about using what they call a screw jack ( looks something like a lally column with a crank on it).  Doing an internet search couldnt find anything like they had, best I could come up with was a screw jack from Ellis ( http://www.ellisok.com/ellisok/products_screwjacks.html ).  Thinking about just using lally columns.  Anyone know how much lift you can get out of a lally column?  Also trying to think of how to make a solid/stiff connection between the bottle jack and post.


Anyone got any great ideas??


Thanks.


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #79306, reply #1 of 36)

Have a 1/4 inch metal plate welded to the top of the jack.Lally colum screw jacks are readly avaliale at home centers and local lumber yards.

(post #79306, reply #2 of 36)

Concrete form supply houses carry what you need. Also you can easily make a screw jack. You would need a screw jack from a patent scaffold and a steel plate washer with a hole in the center a bit larger than the diameter of the screw jack.


Build up a post with a space in the middle for the threaded portion of the jack.Place the jack in the hole. If the beam is heavy, use a piece of pipe for leverage on the jack handles.The post can be almost any length you need minus a portion of the screw jack. Do not raise anymore than 2/3 the length of the jack. Most screw jacks 18" or 24" in length. So you can raise either 12" or 16"high depending on the jacks length.


Some screwjacks come without a footplate, this type can use a footplate or a U head.Uheads are made for a single or a double beam. The double beam type is the most convenient.It will take a beam almost a foot wide and can be used for a single beam also. When using a narrower beam ,twist the head so both sides of the U touch the beam. This will center a large U head on a smaller beam.


I have used this for crawl spaces ( short post) up to about 9'-0.Lubricate the screw once in a while, WD 40 or grease.The steel plate is the size of the top of the post and the jack goes thru the hole. The plate is better bearing then wood and easier to raise.


mike


Edited 9/15/2007 11:41 am ET by mike4244

(post #79306, reply #13 of 36)

Yeah, I kinda was thinking about something like that also.  Kind of hopeing to get away from using any wood members though.  If I use wood, Ive got to store it protected somewhere ( and that means under a tarp for me), or that 4x4 or 6x6 is then gonna get used for something else.


Hey, gotta complain about something :)


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #79306, reply #3 of 36)

I  lifted some steel I beams in an old carriage house to provide a center load bearing beam. We used studs to frame a guide built on the new lally footings then used a simple $40 cable pull from the Depot.  The guide kept the beams from swinging and we used blocks and 16D duplex to block the guide on the way up. The beam was pulled up to a double 2X6 plate at the top that we secured the guide studs to. Also we used HD canvas ratchet straps to crank it up tight at the end.

(post #79306, reply #4 of 36)

You musta missed the city auction last Tues.  They had a dozen or so tall electric screwjacks, meant for automotive lifting (one under each tire).  My machinist buddy bought 4 for $300 total if I understood him correctly.  Resold 3 as all he wanted was one heavy duty log lift for his sawmill.  Rated 6 tons ea, maybe a 6' travel.  Wheeled, so moving them was moderately convenient.  Second lift more difficult of course.


Hydraulic bottle jacks don't always do what you expect.  Bad time for one to fail if you're under there.


To get oak beams atop my 16' posts here, I clamped a pulley-supporting plank to the posts and ran a come-a-long over the pulley.  Pulling to a chain around the bottom of the post easily pulled the beams to the top, with the plank preventing over-pulling and missing the post.  Worked like a dream, solo.


Speaking of beams, did you see craigslist this morning?  Half a dozen 10"x13"x22' oak beams, $175. 


PAHS Designer/Builder- Bury it!

PAHS works.  Bury it.

(post #79306, reply #15 of 36)

Yeah I missed the auction, but I always got you to remind me what I missed!!!  Saw the ad in craigslist, would be some nice lumber.  Got a project in the future that I might be able to use them on.  Have to think a little bit.


 


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #79306, reply #19 of 36)

I didn't go to the auction either.  Carl told me what was there.  I figured it'd go high.  Oops.  But for my needs, the free-for-the-removal auto lift I got from a garage converted to restaurant is adequate.  And still uninstalled. 


If you need help moving (or storing outside) those beams, give a yell.  They're somewhere near here.  I've got metal roofing available for cover, tractor to sticker them.


PAHS Designer/Builder- Bury it!

PAHS works.  Bury it.

(post #79306, reply #5 of 36)

Sort of what dedhed said.


Jack posts / screw jacks are readily available and relatively cheap.


Went to Ellis site, their version incorporates a wooden column.  The jack posts which I have are comprised of two steel pipes which slide, one inside of the other.


I have 3, Tiger Brand, J-S-100 jack posts, adjust from 4'10" min to 8'4" max; "tested to 9,100 lbs at max extension, 18,000 lbs at min extension". I paid about $30 each about 10 years ago.


There are other models available both shorter and longer.  These adjust in 6" increments via a through pin system and the screw provides infinite adjustment between pin settings.


Jim


Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.


 


Google: "Tiger Brand Jack Post Company", HD listed as dealer, along with a lot of others.

Edited 9/15/2007 6:16 pm ET by JTC1


Edited 9/15/2007 6:25 pm ET by JTC1

Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

(post #79306, reply #16 of 36)

Thats pretty much what I think Ill go with, the telescopeing jack stands.  Are you able to actually lift much with those jack stands though, or just hold at a certain height.


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #79306, reply #23 of 36)

Don't honestly know in quantitative terms.


Have lifted several rather large porch roofs to replace columns and straighten the roof lines.


Have lifted 8' span of attic floor joists + attic floor + stored attic stuff + roof and supported it to cut in headers, etc for garage door opening.


Have lifted 4' span of 2 story house at the center beam to replace a cracked joist.


Don't know what any of those things wiegh.


You turn the screw jack on these with a 7/8" or so open end wrench and I have never really grunted on the wrench - grease threads before use for EZ lifting.


Jim


Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

Never underestimate the value of a sharp pencil or good light.

(post #79306, reply #6 of 36)

I've done jacking several times with just the adjustable (telescoping) lally columns. (Why do people think that jacking a house requires a hydraulic jack??) Unfortunately, the cheap ones can be a bit unstable, but certainly more stable than trying to balance a bottle and a 4x4.

The Ellis unit you linked to looks to be better than the telescoping lally. Of course you could buy four cheap lallys for the cost of one Ellis.

As to how much range you can get out of a fixed (non-telescoping) lally, it obviously depends on the manufacturer, but I'd guess 6-8 inches is the norm.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #79306, reply #10 of 36)

it says on the telepost box that the teleposts are not to be used for raising or lowering, the screw action is just for snugging up the post to the underside of the beam...i guess that is why people think that they need hydraulic jacks

(post #79306, reply #17 of 36)

DanH,


How much have you been able to lift (weight wise) with the lally columns?  Sometimes we're lifting a good bit of weight.


Thanxs


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #79306, reply #20 of 36)

I can't give you pounds, but have lifted ceilings/roofs several times, and done some jacking of sagging basement beams. Depends on the quality of the screw, and how finely threaded, of course, but I'd guess I've done 500 pounds with ease and 1-2 thousand with more effort. Probably about 2K is the limit for the cheap units, without having to use a hammer to turn the thing, while better quality ones should be good to about twice that.

One big advantage of the screw lally, vs a hydraulic jack, is that you can give the jack a half turn daily for several days, vs having to jack all at once, when straightening floors, etc. Not a big deal for other types of jacking, of course.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #79306, reply #24 of 36)

I've lifted lots of things the same way.  I don't weigh it,  I just lift it. If its too heavy for one lally then I use several. I'ts often convenient to have at least two because one can lift then readjust one while the other holds the load etc.  Sometimes the threads can get roughed up but they're cheap to replace. I use cribbing and hydraulic jacks when I'm worried about stability or when the space is small.

(post #79306, reply #25 of 36)

Yeah, generally if it's heavy you'll want to support it in several places anyway. The lally jacks are cheap enough that you can do that and no have to shuttle a hydraulic jack back and forth between lift points, redoing the cribbing each time.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #79306, reply #36 of 36)

Another frightening thing with the bottle jacks is some seem to have a hair trigger release valve.  One little turn and it dumps.


I just used some of the adj Lallys yesterday to replace a tapered column on a very poorly framed porch.  I used two about 18" apart for a kind of safety net and to make it easier.


The box for my little ones say they are rated at 14k pounds, longet ones 9k, but I would bet they are talking about snugging up and supporting, not lifting.

For those who have fought for it Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

(post #79306, reply #7 of 36)

For anything lower than 4 feet off the ground (and if configuration allows, such as for decks and verandahs), I use a JackAll to lift it. I've got a 4-footer; there is a 5-footer available. This is an extremely beefy jack that will lift a fully-loaded, full-size pickup so easily you'll hardly notice you're working. If the jack-beam will fit under the member you want to lift, it is by far the easiest way to go.



Over that height, I usually do the actual lifting with a bottle jack and 4x4 plumbed up very carefully, but  I use adjustable (telescopic) steel pipe posts to hold up the beam while whatever work is being done is done (and sometimes permanently, depending). We're rarely lifting more than an inch, just enough to get the old column out and the new one in, and I never let the load stay on that setup more than the time it takes to insert a Lally (or the new wood post) and lower the beam onto it. We're talking a matter of 15-30 seconds here, usually.


If I had to lift any more than, say, four to six inches, I'd be real tempted to set up cribbing caissons.



Dinosaur


How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....


Dinosaur

How now, Mighty Sauron, that thou art not brought
low by this? For thine evil pales before that which
foolish men call Justice....

(post #79306, reply #8 of 36)

> Also trying to think of how to make a solid/stiff connection
> between the bottle jack and post.

Here's one. Use a 4x4 for the post above the jack. Make a sleeve from 1x6 or 2x6 material. This sleeve should fit loosely around the 4x4 and be nearly as long. Leave one side of the sleeve short to allow you to work the jack.

In action, the jack pushes the 4x4 up through the sleeve, but the sleeve fits around both and will prevent the jack from kicking out. If the jack does try to kick out, the sleeve and 4x4 jam together pretty well and prevent any damage.

I've had a jack kick out, and it's frightening.

George Patterson
George Patterson

(post #79306, reply #9 of 36)

Lots of good solutions offered by others already, but I will add that whenever I need to use the bottle jack/post method, I always try to place the jack on top of the post, keeping the jack up near the weight being lifted.  Seems easier to keep everything aligned this way, especially when working alone.  If the post/jack combo looks wrong or is starting to "hinge", I feel that I have more control with the jack higher up.

(post #79306, reply #11 of 36)


 

This is a handy thing too.

I found it easy to adjust on a 2X4 for lifting or holding the other end or pushing that joist or rafter sister into place.

It's a modified trailer jack. 

 

al

(post #79306, reply #12 of 36)

Ah, that's a trailer tongue jack that's been adapted. Probably only good for 500-1000 pounds.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #79306, reply #14 of 36)

Look into these.:http://www.amazon.com/Qual-Craft-2601-Wall-Jack-2601Q/dp/B0000224MY

I have used them many times for raising beams.Plus you can then raise the house walls as well.

"Poor is not the person who has too little, but the person who craves more."...Seneca


Life is Good

(post #79306, reply #18 of 36)

Ive got a pair of those and have used them to lift a beam into place before, but I dont think they have the lifting power to actually jack up a beam thats got a load on it.


The farmer jacks that Dinosaur mentioned are nice for low loads, been thinking about picking some up just to have.


Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.
Live by the sword, die by the sword....choose your sword wisely.

(post #79306, reply #21 of 36)

That looks like the mechanism from a climbing scaffold.


If your view never changes you're following the wrong leader


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #79306, reply #22 of 36)

Dan ,

Is is very much the same, uses the same principles to operate.

Assume that each one can lift 1/2 ton safely, you can do a lot of lifting using them .

I have jacked up beams in place, lifting floors or ceilings, roofs as the situation warranted.
But I also own screw jacks, bottle jacks and one "box car jack" used by railroads for lifting box cars .
What gets used is what fits the situation.

"Poor is not the person who has too little, but the person who craves more."...Seneca


Life is Good

(post #79306, reply #26 of 36)

can you post a pic of that 'boxcar jack'?

(post #79306, reply #27 of 36)

can you post a pic of that 'boxcar jack'?


They're similar to the jacks that Dinosaur posted a pic of. Or at least the ones I've seen.


http://grantlogan.net/


 


I was born in a crossfire hurricane..........shooby dooby do

(post #79306, reply #28 of 36)

estacado,

I will have to get a hold of it . It is on loan to a friend right now.

"Poor is not the person who has too little, but the person who craves more."...Seneca


Life is Good

(post #79306, reply #30 of 36)

estacado ,

Found a link to some that are very similar to what I own.

Called a ratchet/screw jack.

:http://www.hyjacks.com/mj113.htm

"Poor is not the person who has too little, but the person who craves more."...Seneca


Life is Good