No matter what type of home improvement project you’re undertaking, one thing is pretty consistent — building materials are heavy! From sheets of plywood to wooden beams, lifting and moving these materials can be a real backbreaker, especially when you’re working alone. With that in mind, here are three great new tools that can really help you take a load off!
PullzAll (Warn Works, $249.95): Many of you have probably used a come-along at some point in time. Basically a steel cable with hooks at each end and a ratcheting handle in the middle, a come-along uses your muscle power to reel in the cable, pulling whatever load it’s attached to along with it. But what if you could move even heavier loads, and do it with virtually no effort at all? That’s the concept of the new PullzAll from Warn Works, the people that make those top-of-the-line vehicle winches.
The PullzAll works similar to the traditional come-along, but with an electric motor in place of the ratchet and handle. At one end of the small, powerful motor is a swiveling safety hook, and at the other end is a cable spool with 15 feet of 7/32-inch aircraft-grade wire rope and another industrial-grade safety hook. The motor has a top-mounted handle and variable-speed trigger, and a simple push switch changes the motor direction between forward and reverse.
To use the PullzAll, it’s simply a matter of hooking the motor to a stationary support, then pulling the trigger to unspool the necessary cable. Hook the cable to the object being pulled or lifted, reverse the motor direction, and pull the trigger again to reel in the cable. The motor has a pulling capacity of 1,000 pounds, and has a built-in electronic load limiter and visual strain readout to help you safely monitor the load.
This is truly a tough, well-built workhorse of a tool with a wide range of applications from lifting beams to stretching fencing to moving heavy equipment around in the shop. And if you’re out there working where no power is available, there’s also a rechargeable 24-volt model for around $479. For more information and to see the tool in action, visit www.warnworks.com.
Gorilla Gripper (Landon Innovations, $49.95): The Gorilla Gripper, which is designed to lift and carry heavy sheets of plywood or drywall, is one of those "why didn’t I think of that?" kind of tools. It’s simple, tough, and best of all, it really works. The Gorilla Gripper has a padded handle and two movable padded plates, all made from aircraft-grade aluminum. Simply slip the two plates over the top edge of any sheet material from 3/8 inch to 1 1/8 inches thick, grab the handle, and straighten your legs. The movable jaws grip the panel securely, and are self-adjusting to different thicknesses. So, instead of wrestling to find a way to get your hand under the panel to lift it and then struggling to carry it without losing your balance, Gorilla Gripper lets you easily lift the panel off the ground and then carry it with a comfortable, overhand grip. It’s like having a carrying handle on those big, heavy, awkward sheets of material that you always dread having to move.
The Gorilla Gripper will lift drywall (even two sheets at a time), plywood, OSB, siding, MDF and just about any other sheet of building material. You’ll save a lot of wear and tear on your back, neck, arms and hands, as well as on the sheets of material, and make a tough job that much easier. Check out www.gorillagripper.com for more information.
LegUp (Landon Innovations, $49.95): Here’s another clever tool from the same people who invented the Gorilla Gripper. Anyone who’s ever had to lift a sheet of plywood or other material up onto a table saw and get it correctly aligned for cutting knows what a chore that can be. You have to manhandle the sheet onto the saw table by lifting and twisting at the same time — always a risky move for your back muscles — then get it over against the fence and moving forward into the blade, all without damaging yourself or the material.
LegUp is designed to help you complete that task safely and with a lot more control and a lot less effort. The LegUp is a long, pivoting, powder-coated steel arm with a hook at the bottom, attached to the side of your table saw with a hinge mechanism. Simply set the edge of the plywood sheet onto the hook, then use the natural leverage of the sheet to tip it over and onto the table saw. As you slide the sheet over against the fence, the hook drops back down on its own, safely out of the way and in position for the next sheet. The sheet remains much more under control, and the risk of hurting your back is greatly reduced.
The LegUp comes with two different adaptors to fit a variety of different table saws. Installation is quick and easy, and is basically just a matter of choosing the right adaptor and then attaching the hinge to the table saw with a single bolt and lock nut. You can see a video of this simple and effective tool, plus get ordering information, at www.gorillagripper.com.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.