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Innovative Way to Carry Lumber in a Car

comments (26) December 10th, 2009 in blogs, videos

Tom Tom McKenna, Managing Editor
thumbs up 160 users recommend



Here's a funny, or not-so-funny, video shared with me on Facebook. It shows a clever way a Russian fellow found to transport a load of wood from the lumberyard. I notice he doesn't have any flags...

DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!

How to SAFELY Transport Lumber

ARTICLE: Tying Down Lumber
VIDEO: Tying Down Lumber for Transport Members Only
ARTICLE: Tips on Transporting Plywood

Tips for keeping lumber from taking flight (excerpt from Gary Williams' article Tying Down Lumber):

  • Use several short ropes, not one long one. This gives redundancy that one long piece doesn’t offer.
  • Learn three knots: A bowline, a slipknot and a half hitch. Together, these three basic knots are usually called a trucker’s hitch and provide a sure, simple means of cinching down the load and quick release when you are safely in the driveway. The load is cinched down and tied off in at least two separate places; should one rope or knot fail, the others are still on the job. Read Gary Williams' article or watch his videoMembers Only for more details on tying them.
  • Don’t use polypropylene rope—the cheap yellow stuff—because it won’t hold a knot. Instead look for 3⁄8-in. braided or three-strand nylon.

Do you have any tips for keeping lumber tied down securely? Post a comment below.

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posted in: blogs, videos, Wood, dangerous, cars, transporting lumber


Comments (26)

MFournier MFournier writes: RE SAMinOK's comment
Yup the guy owns a new convertible two seater Mercedes
But won't pay a lumber yard that would actually deliver.

The more we live with this Home Depot Wal Mart mentality the dumber we get.
How do figure a guy driving a Mercedes won't pay a small fee to get something delivered.

Or better yet why have we gotten to a point that we buy things from stores that obviously are too large for most cars and even small trucks to safely carry home yet do not demand that the store offer delivery as part of the purchase.

The ability to deliver large items you sold was once considered a necessary cost of doing business. If you sold those type of items people simply would not buy it if you did not deliver today people accept this to save 5% if anything at all.
Go ahead people start demanding delivery make these resellers know if they want your money they are going to have to earn it.
Stop using self check out also heck they already pay so little to these register people then they want to make you do it yourself eliminating yet another US job.
Posted: 11:37 am on January 28th

MFournier MFournier writes: Oh one last comment

Remember the local lumber yards you know the place people went to buy lumber before the home centers took most of the home owner DIY market.
The place that you do not have to load your lumber on a cart first and push it up to a register like you are at the super market. No if you have a truck you drive up to were the lumber is and load it directly on your truck.

No truck you just tell them what you want pay and go home and guess what they show up at you house (or job site) with the load of lumber and will even send someone to help you unload it or move it were you need it sometimes for free sometimes for a small extra fee.

Many of those local lumber yards delivered locally free of charge or for a small fuel charge if outside their normal delivery area. My local yard will deliver anywhere in town free. There really is no reason for this type of stupidity.
It was once expected that when you bought lumber that it was going to be delivered.
All lumber yards before the Home Depot and Lowes came along expected to have to deliver lumber and guess what they still do.

For those who feel they are saving by not paying delivery costs you need to rethink the indirect costs of your time your own gas and the damage to your vehicle that was not designed for what you are trying to do with it.
As well as the safety risks you are taking.

I really really feel if you do not have the ability to safely transport the load you should not be aloud to leave with it. This crap that the lumber yard or home center is not responsible is bull. They can flat out say this item's price includes delivery charges unless you give proof that you have a appropriate vehicle for transporting the load you are purchasing.

The same goes for furniture stores I am sick of seeing people driving home with a new mattress on the roof tied with a small piece of twine or worse holding it with their arm out the window.
Some products should just be purchased with delivery expected I do have a large work van that is more the capable of handling most loads but I still have things delivered when ever possible. First off I I am not responsible for its condition until it is actually at my home or job site. Most items are damaged during delivery if I do it I own it if they do it I get a new one.

People are simply penny wise and pound foolish
If you say you do things like this because you are poor you are not just poor but stupid. This often makes me wonder if Darwin was not on to something.
Posted: 11:18 am on January 28th

MFournier MFournier writes: To parttimer Your kidding right???

What are you trying to win a darwin award?
Posted: 10:50 am on January 28th

MFournier MFournier writes: Take a look at this one
http://www.swapmeetdave.com/Humor/Workshop/Overload.htm

People really are not that bright.
The cost of a rental truck or replace your car after you damage it? Which do you think cost more??

And if they were stupid enough to try that do you really think they are capable of actually knowing what to do with those materials once they do get them back to the job sight?

I doubt it.
Posted: 10:43 am on January 28th

weemalky weemalky writes: At least his hazard lights worked on that lemon. How much to get something delivered in Russia? Obviously more than a ticket if you get pulled over. Twenty years ago we fired a guy who 'lost' a $500 Featherlite ladder in traffic on a major expressway in Toronto.
Posted: 10:12 am on January 28th

GraemeSmith GraemeSmith writes: Polypropelene properly tied WILL hold a knot but it has to be properly tied and as it rarely is to take account if its slippery surface.

NYLON is NOT a good substitute - it easily stretches 10% under moderate load so loosening the load - even if the knots stay put.

Dacron (also known as terylene) is the best for occassional use. Low stretch, high strength, knots hold well. You will find it in the yacht chandler.

Or your local U-Haul has tie down straps with ratchet holds for as little as $10 for a 12ft long 800lb load strap. I keep a couple in the car for the odd sheets of plywood and studs that have to come home on the car roof rails.
Posted: 9:13 pm on January 27th

GraemeSmith GraemeSmith writes: Hmmm - Polypropelene properly tied WILL hold a knot but it has to be properly tied and as it rarely is to take account if its slippery surface - then the advice is good.

But NYLON is NOT a good substitute - Nylon stretches up to 50% in length before failing and easily 10% under moderate load so loosening the tie down - even if the knots stay put.

Dacron (also known as terylene) is the best for occassional use. Low stretch, high strength, knots hold well. You will find it in the yacht chandler.

Otherwise your local U-Haul does tie down straps with ratchet holds for as little as $10 for a 12ft long 800lb load strap. Hard to beat. I keep a couple in the car for the odd sheets of plywood and studs that have to come home on the car roof rails.
Posted: 9:10 pm on January 27th

GraemeSmith GraemeSmith writes: QUOTE - Don’t use polypropylene rope—the cheap yellow stuff—because it won’t hold a knot. Instead look for 3⁄8-in. braided or three-strand nylon. END QUOTE

Hmmm - Polypropelene properly tied WILL hold a knot but it has to be properly tied and as it rarely is to take account if its slippery surface - then the advice is good.

But NYLON is NOT a good substitute - Nylon stretches up to 50% in length before failing and easily 10% under moderate load so loosening the tie down - even if the knots stay put.

Dacron (also known as terylene) is the best for occassional use. Low stretch, high strength, knots hold well. You will find it in the yacht chandler.

Otherwise your local U-Haul does tie down straps with ratchet holds for as little as $10 for a 12ft long 800lb load strap. Hard to beat. I keep a couple in the car for the odd sheets of plywood and studs that have to come home on the car roof rails.
Posted: 9:10 pm on January 27th

GraemeSmith GraemeSmith writes: QUOTE - Don’t use polypropylene rope—the cheap yellow stuff—because it won’t hold a knot. Instead look for 3⁄8-in. braided or three-strand nylon. END QUOTE

Hmmm - Polypropelene properly tied WILL hold a knot but it has to be properly tied and as it rarely is to take account if its slippery surface - then the advice is good.

But NYLON is NOT a good substitute - Nylon stretches up to 50% in length before failing and easily 10% under moderate load so loosening the tie down - even if the knots stay put.

Dacron (also known as terylene) is the best for occassional use. Low stretch, high strength, knots hold well. You will find it in the yacht chandler.

Otherwise your local U-Haul does tie down straps with ratchet holds for as little as $10 for a 12ft long 800lb load strap. Hard to beat. I keep a couple in the car for the odd sheets of plywood and studs that have to come home on the car roof rails.
Posted: 9:10 pm on January 27th

mdciii mdciii writes: Knots are great (if tied right), and I use them all. But there is an easier way. "Figure 9 rope tighteners" are available from Lee Valley Tools (www.leevalley.com) for around $5, depending on how many you buy. They are a very simple and effective mechanical replacement for a trucker's hitch, and I have never had them loosen, even over thousands of miles. (But they "untie" easily in seconds.) Even 3/8" twisted nylon rope, notoriously slippery for knots, holds securely. Catalogue number is 99K69.55. They may be available elsewhere as well.

I realize that this is a flagrant product plug, and thus maybe against the rules, but these things really do work, and would be cheap at twice the price.
Posted: 8:55 pm on January 27th

Beaverwoodcraft Beaverwoodcraft writes: This also works great with a minivan. Isn't that why they put sliding doors on both sides?
Posted: 5:17 pm on January 27th

Paul_MI Paul_MI writes: Hi all,

Great video. I was at the 'yard' a while back. A man was loading sheets of dry wall onto the top of his car. After carefully tieing it down... you guessed it.. His roof collapsed.
Posted: 5:14 pm on January 27th

TLM80209 TLM80209 writes: Inovative, yes. Safe, no. Not only for himself, but for others! If you can't afford a safe way to transport your lumber, then you shouldn't make the purchase. Once while getting ready to leave the parking lot of a local lumber yard, a fellow customer stopped and asked me if it would be worth $20 for me to deliver some plywood he had purchased, to his home in my pickup. I said, "Sure". Not everyone has a need to buy a pickup or van if they rarely transport lumber. Or even to rent a vehicle. But you should be prepared to pay someone who has, or pay a delivery fee, if your going to purchase building materials. When I was a boy, our family passed a station wagon along side a highway that was loaded with long 2X4's through the back with the rear window down. The driver had slammed on his brake for some reason, and of course the 2X4's went sliding through the windshield. The driver was out of his car assessing the damage, and was bleeding from his face and obviously embarressed. I wondered over the years how much he had to spend on a new windshield not to mention possible stitches, etc. I've never forgotten that picture of him holding a white handkerchief to his face and his white shirt, covered with blood, and the predicament he was in.
Posted: 4:35 pm on January 27th

parttimer parttimer writes: When you're poor you've got to improvise, be it Moscow, India or San Francisco. I've carried a 16' 2x6 on my motorcycle, resting on the handlebars and my shoulder, tied to my body with rope so it wouldn't slip off. Not sure of the rope type or knots..:) I only do stuff like this early in the morning, right when the lumberyard opens and the streets are quiet.
Posted: 2:44 pm on January 27th

aafosse aafosse writes: That car looks like an east german trabant. We called thim Traubis while I was on a mission in Germany a decade ago.
Posted: 2:27 pm on January 27th

intothelens intothelens writes: Let's hope he used the wood to build a trailer....
Posted: 2:04 pm on January 27th

countryparson countryparson writes: At first I thought this was in India, but then I realized that they would have been holding the lumber on the back of a motorcycle, or even a bicycle rickshaw, if it was there. Great creativity, dangerous idea.
Posted: 10:39 am on January 27th

swenson swenson writes: When I can't use my wife's SUV with the roof rack I take the top off my Corvette and place stock as long as 12 feet on the passenger side floor with the tops sticking out the top and the face of the first board resting on the opening for the roof. I used to tie the bundle together but now I just use two quick clanps, one near the top of the stack and one near my shoulder to use as a handle. I have less than a mile to drive home and this works for me quite well. The air stream seems to jam the wood more tightly under the dashboard and a fleece jacker under the wood protects the roof opening from any damage. I did this for years with my old Camero T-top, sometimes taking 16 foot lengths of moulding. I guess This would not work if I had a stick shift, but I drive with one hand on the quick clamp to give a bit of support to the load and keep repeatint to myself "Don't drive into the garage."
Posted: 9:01 am on January 27th

Harvey44 Harvey44 writes: When I first saw the picture, I thought, "That's a Lada." I saw these heaps occasionally during the year I taught in Finland. The car was almost universally derided as junk; so much so that it became a metaphor for bad work, as in "that's the Lada of [fill in the blank]." Glad I wasn't on the receiving end of whatever this project was.
Posted: 8:42 am on January 27th

brutuslevi brutuslevi writes: Sure would would like to see the finished product HeHeHe. Reminds me of when I tied down and transported a 20' extension ladder in the back of my Chevy S10 many years ago.
Posted: 8:19 am on January 27th

SawdustShoppe SawdustShoppe writes: I know that guy! He Worked for me once!
Emphisis on ONCE!
Posted: 7:45 am on January 27th

SAMinOK SAMinOK writes: I remember when I always thought cameras on cell phones were pointless. Then one day when pulling out of my local Home Depot, I see a new convertible two seater Merceedes with the top down. The guy on the passenger side is holding three 10ft 2x4s with them draped over the top of the front windshield and across the back of the trunk. Of course they had rags under the 2x4s so as to not scratch up the nice shiney car...

I thought, no one will ever believe this, so I took out my cell phone and clicked a picture.
Posted: 6:24 pm on January 26th

John316 John316 writes: We thought we could fit a lot into a honda civic :) - but never thought of that (not that we would ever do that).

Thanks for posting!
Posted: 6:34 pm on January 25th

saschafer saschafer writes:
Gina,

Well, I was in Peru this past July, and it's back to South Africa next August. I don't know yet what's in store for 2011--maybe Brazil?

-Steve
Posted: 9:36 am on December 17th

GEide GEide writes: Are you kidding saschafer... that's no good.

And yeesh you get around, South Africa last year, Chiapas last week! Sounds like fun.
Posted: 9:49 am on December 15th

saschafer saschafer writes: I was in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México just last week, and saw something similar: Picture bumper-to-bumper traffic weaving back and forth between narrow lanes, and a load of lumber precariously balanced sideways on the roof of a car, extending out about four feet on either side.

Posted: 12:46 pm on December 14th

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