Home Depot Husky sent over a low-profile floor jack a while back, and I’ve used on my vehicle maybe once or twice. What I didn’t realize was how much use this jack would see in my garage workshop.
There are a wide variety of lifting and hoisting tools that I should probably own. But, cranes and gantries take up too much space for how little use they would see, and hoists would require extensive reinforcement to the ceiling. If I can’t store a crane, a gantry is certainly out of the question.
I built a temporary pulley-based lift a few years ago, to raise the head of my drill press on top of its column, and after that I purchased a worm-gear winch for future needs. With the pulley system, there was nowhere near enough mechanical leverage to make the job easy.
I might build a knock-down aluminum-framed gantry at one point, but if need-be I can create a 2×4-based lifting tower with minimal effort.
Back to this jack. In addition to being able to lift vehicles, it can lift certain other things as well.
I’ve used to replace caster wheels attached to workbenches or tool cabinets too heavy to tilt over.
And yesterday, I used it to lift a 400-pound jointer onto its base. The process of uncrating and raising the jointer took me about 4 hours, but I got it done safely thanks to this Husky low-profile jack.
In addition to being able to fit underneath narrow gaps 3-1/8″ off the ground, it can be raised to a height of 19-3/4″. The wheels make it mobile, and although fairly heavy, the jack can be lifted and moved around if need-be.
I’ve kept the jack in a corner of my workshop, but will probably find a new home for it now that it’s out in the middle of the floor again. The handles remove easily, and so it can be very easily stored with a small footprint.
The way I raised my 6-foot-long jointer table, I blocked it up on each side and eventually removed the crate and pallet from underneath it.
Lift one end with the jack, place 2×4 support under that side of the jointer table, lower the jack, then switch to the other side. I basically built taller and taller towers on each side to support the wings of the jointer table until it was tall enough for me to place on top of the base unit.
Lifting equipment in this manner can be risky, but I took precautions with how my wood blocks were stacked and I supported the main table mount with taller and taller load-rated platforms.
This wasn’t the most effective approach – an engine or shop crane would have shaved a bunch of time, effort, and frustration off the task, but then I’d need to find a place to store it.
This worked for me because I had to lift the jointer table only about waist-high. If I had purchased the larger parallelogram-style jointer with a wider base, I would have had to have rented lifting equipment, built a wide gantry, or used some other type of crane or hoist.
Everything could have slipped and fallen at any moment, and so I took precautions with providing proper support under the center as well. And, I worked with the assumption that something could slip and fall at any moment, which meant never putting my fingers or hands where they could be crushed.
The jointer dropped half an inch at one point, and slid horizontally at another, but my fail-safes worked. I worked slowly and carefully, and was prepared to give up and call it a day until I could figure out alternate lifting means.
400 pounds is nothing for a 3-ton jack, but I appreciated its ease of use just the same. Operation is a little different with workshop equipment than a car, since the lifting position shifts with use and can move your load laterally. With a car, your jack might move since the car won’t.
I absolutely do NOT recommend using automotive jacks in any way described here or in any way other than recommended by manufacturers. Misuse can and will lead to injuries. As an aside, if you’re lifting a vehicle, follow manufacturer’s directions and also use jack stands – a jack is a lifting device and not to be used for support.
The Husky jack is straightforward to use, and it has been secure and reliable with every automotive and non-automotive use so far.
As for workshop use, I’m always up for safer, easier, and better tools. While this worked well for raising the corner of a mobile tool cabinet, the same can’t be said about going back and forth lifting the sides of a jointer table a little higher incrementally.
A lift table wouldn’t have worked, partially because I couldn’t get the jointer table on top of it in the first place, but also due to storage limitations. An engine crane would have worked perfectly. But again, where would it go for storage?
I have seen portable gantry cranes, but they’re very expensive.
The funny part is that after every improvisation like this, I think “I’m definitely going to build a bolt-together gantry that I can easily store!” But, I don’t, and then the next lifting task comes along and I improvise in a different manner. For instance, I’ve lifted a 52″ tool chest on top of a mobile tool cabinet, solo, using ratcheting tie-down straps anchored to the bottom cabinet. But how often do I need to do that?
I’ve got a 1500 lb-rated worm gear winch (Dutton-Lainson WG1500HD with hex drive, available at Amazon) and a coil of 3/16″ wire rope from the same company. It’s about time I create a portable gantry that can be used with this and other attachments. Hmm, and if I do it right, maybe I can design it to be multi-functional so that most of the structure can be used more than once or twice a year.
Thinking aloud, looking at load calculations, an 80/20 beam capable of supporting 1000+ loads with minimal deflection would be run ~$280 with shipping. I could potentially build the base and design it for use with 2x4s or 2x6s doubled up. Or, I could go with a smaller 3″ x 3″ aluminum extrusion that could be replaced by a beefy 3″ x 6″ if or when needed.
Well, in the meantime, the Husky low-profile jack has gotten me out of some difficult lifting tasks. But as mentioned, I don’t recommend it – don’t do as I do, as it is risky to health and property.
I think I have that same jack. Mine has more warning labels and the padded part of the handle looks different – but otherwise I couldn’t tell them apart.
I really like it too – though I do wish at times I had bought something lighter weight. I drag it around my farm for various lifting tasks semi-frequently (to work on machinery, lift up a trailer tongue, hold a gate in position as I install it etc.). Very handy – but heavy if I’m carrying it more than a few steps from my garage.
In my garage working on vehicles it works great. Low enough to get under my car, enough lifting height to get my truck wheels off the ground. From what I recall, it was one of the cheapest 3-ton jacks I could find at the time.
I find I use a scissors jack quit a bit for non-automotive things. I like that it lifts *mostly* vertically without the lateral motion you mentioned. I also like if I lift and block the load, I can chuck the drive handle into a drill to retract the jack and then reset it.
That might have worked here too, maybe a pair of them and custom-made boxes made from the scrap boards. Moving the jack wasn’t easy as I also used 2×6 cedar boards for support and had to pick up the jack over them.
Ha – use the drill to lift the load too. I used my drill on the scissor jack from my Elantra for years to raise and lower it for winter tire swaps.
I might not try that with a big truck or SUV, but my wimpy brushed Bosch drill could lift that car easily.
I fell in love with my Rigid Octane impact wrench when I rotated the tires on my wife’s Odyssey the first time… I almost want to take it with me in the car so I never have to hand crank one of those things again
I recently used a scissor jack and a block of wood to separate the wash drum from the splined shaft of my Whirlpool washing machine.
This reminds me of the 6 inch Jet (same company as Powermatic) I bought in 2002. So much excitement until I noticed the wobbly improperly welded base. Then so much grief getting it exchanged. Whiplash!
I’ve lifted quite a few machines over the years. I found a folding Harbor Freight engine hoist to be the most useful, even though it takes up a lot of space. Next is a cheap motorcycle scissor jack with 2×4 rigging. After that is a small Harbor Freight chain hoist mounted in some 2×4 framing. I love 2×4 scrap.
Here is an out of the box idea. Craigs List or FB market place etc mover. For example my neighbors high school boys do side gigs as furniture movers. Would be fairly easy to lift and safely move 400lbs for two guys who work out with heavy weights at the gym regularly. Added bonus of helping out a young entrepreneur or Even better sparking an interest in wood working.
Stuart, which Powermatic jointer did you get and what were the deciding factors?
60HH – the helical-head 8″ w/ dovetail ways.
I was always of the mindset that I would go with the 54HH (6″ helical) or the 8″ parallelogram.
If I’m going 220V, I might as well go with the parallelogram and 8″. If not, then the 6″.
I kept reading lots of people saying they wish they went 8″ from the start, and a couple of “it worked just fine for me” comments at a ratio of maybe 10 to 1.
Ultimately, I realized that the 60HH was a little larger, but not as pricey or large as the 8″ parallelogram. So this can handle my longer boards and my wider boards, and it wouldn’t be potentially starved for power which is something else I heard about the 6″ 110V model.
I bought a 110V dust collector with the mentality that I needed something *now* and that if I upgraded, I could always put it in the basement or similar paired with a small CNC router or less regularly used equipment or similar.
Upgrading from a jointer wouldn’t be so easy.
This is the same reason I went with a 110V band saw that ships in two pieces.
On a tighter budget I might have went with the 54HH. If I wasn’t prepared to add more 220V outlets (I’ll build an extension cord for now), I might have went with the 54HH. If I had more space I would have saved up and went with the 882HH 8″ parallelogram-style jointer.
I surprised myself and went with the one model I hadn’t anticipated being interested in.
It was my hope that the jointer would be easily maneuverable, and I think it will be. It’s large and heavy, but I think it will tuck away nicely, and there’s room under the wings for small carts, vacs, or other things that might wouldn’t fit under the much larger base of the 8″ parallelogram model. I also considered a Hammer jointer-planer, but 1) it’s a lot pricier, and 2) the buying, installation, and servicing experience seems much more complicated. I have learned over the years that going a less-travelled path can cause some headaches when it comes to accessories, parts, or similar.
You can get a 1 ton folding shop crane for between $100 and $200 on sale at Pep Boys, HF, etc. Mine takes up little floor space and makes lifting anything heavy an easy job.
Care to do a review and give more details of the powermatic jointer?
I plan on it, but right now it’s still covered with factory rust inhibitor. It’ll be a while.
Back in the day (as the expression goes) – I bought most of my heavy iron (home woodworking machinery) from a local dealer. The internet, big box stores and (sadly) discount pricing was not something that was available. The Delta dealer had machinery movers deliver and set up my Unisaw, my 8 inch jointer, drill press and band saw. Years later, when I swapped out my band saw for a larger Laguna machine – I had to pay for that service – but suspect that the purchase price was more competitive. When I bought my well-used Walker Turner radial arm drill press – the moving of it cost me more than the tool – and cleaning/tuning it up took a good bit of time with lots of fussing because I did not want to move it twice – and the spot where it resides in the shop was not the ideal place to service such a rusty old beast.
Koko The Talking Ape
I wish I could’ve seen your process. You lifted one end of the jointer, put blocks under it, then lifted the other end. But how did you get the base under the jointer? It’s longer and wider than the jointer, so the support blocks would get in the way, wouldn’t they?
The only way I can visualize doing it is to lift it in some kind of sling. I might attach the sling to two longish 2x4s and have two people rest the 2x4s it on their shoulders and lift. 400 lbs total means 200 lbs on each person, which even I can handle. Maybe add two cross pieces connecting the 2x4s on either side, so they won’t twist or slide out of people’s hands. No hands or feet get anywhere near the thing.
It was not a photogenic process.
With this model, the base is narrower than the table, and so I lifted both sides, added a central support when necessary and for emergency support fallback in case of failure, and when the wing height was sufficiently tall enough, the base slid underneath.
If you look at the last Instagram image, there’s a gap between the table and the base. I had a scrap plywood strip on top of the sawhorse on the left, and 2×4 in the right. Lifted the wing on right by hand and removed the 2×4 with an elbow push and lowered the table to the base. Lifted the left wing, nudged the 1/2” plywood strip out of the way, and the table was fully supported by the base.
The table should have been supported around its center the whole time, but I believe the cast iron table was strong enough to not flex at all.
Koko The Talking Ape
Thanks. And you actually explained it well before. I just didn’t pay close attention.
So you lifted the jointer from the bottom with the jack, and then put support blocks under the WINGS of the jointer. Those were tall blocks! Or stacks of blocks. I’d have been nervous too!
No, I mostly lifted from the wings. I tried lifting from the center but there were too many balance issues. Lifting from one end meant it was still supported at the other.
I had to work slow because too much of a height difference would introduce horizontal forces and that would have been risky. So, each side was raised 1.5″ at a time.
When things got too tall and unstable I used 2×6’s and then a work platform under the center, and then finally sawhorses.
If there was any uncertainty I would have stopped and built “apple boxes” the next day.
Koko The Talking Ape
Gotcha. So, tall blocks to support, and tall blocks plus floor jack to lift, both under the wings of the jointer.
So three sets of blocks, one to lift, one to support the other side, and one to stay under the lifted side in case it falls off the jack.
So the blocks were 2×6 on end? What kept them upright? Or were they laid down flat, and stacked up? I guess a few feet high?
I laid everything down flat. Think jenga tower under each wing, blocks under the jack once things were more than halfway elevated.
I only needed to lift everything maybe 2 feet?
I won’t reenact it or take photos because as mentioned it’s highly advised against. This isn’t the right tool for lifting, and so there’s an increased risk of personal injury, damaged property, or both.
I have a MotoMaster (CanadianTire Automotive House Brand) Motorcycle/ATV jack for exactly this purpose. And forget workbenches, just around the house (apartment in my case.) moving insanely heavy things from time to time. I can’t remember the Imperial specs for the minimum clearance, but I know it has a max lift of 11″ and uses low-profile side-castors to roll easily in any direction. At the time I bought it, it was $75 CAD, on sale from something like $120-$150 CAD? I only remember the sale price for certain.
1500 pound max payload, pneumatic pedal-controlled lift, removable T-Handle, I love that little bastard. When my Mother’s scooter has needed the tires checked or refilled, Jack comes out, scooter gets pulled aboard (I think it’s because the lift is something like 2cm higher in clearance than the bottom of the deck the scooter is based on.) and up the whole thing goes so there’s next to no bending or kneeling to check or refill the tires. I’ve owned it since… probably 2008? Never needed oil, never needed so much as a bath. Just keeps on working. Absolutely in love with this lift.
Here’s a link to the new model that replaced mine. The lift area got some heavier forks, and it got coloured different, but this is pretty much it:
That wouldn’t have worked very well here. With any scissor cart, first, I’d need to do something to get this on top. I guess I could have lifted it, placed the sawhorses under the wings, and then lowered it onto the base at the center in some way. If I’m storing anything big and bulky, it’d likely sooner be a crane or portable gantry.
No no, I am not suggesting this as a replacement. Canadian Tire doesn’t ship to the US anyways, it wouldn’t have helped you.
I’m just saying, you’re using something that was not originally meant for that kind of purpose, and it works really, really well! I totally agree with that mentality, and what you did with that Husky jack.
My own experience with my Motorcycle Jack just proves to me that these are nearly invaluable purchases for home use because, despite being made for the Automotive market, they truly are as helpful and versatile as it gets.
And, again, I will state that mine is the previous version of the one shown in my link. The platform formed by the arms is not as pronounced/proud, and not as heavily reinforced. They’re also a little bit narrower, and the clearance total is lower. Closer to your Husky jack. But it otherwise has a remarkably similar set of stats to the one shown, aside from colour. Mine is all red, with black rubber and wheels. Aside from that, it’s identical in function and size. Even has the identical weight rating, and safety mechanisms.
Here’s a thought though: If I was to combine those Air Shims with the Jack, I believe the combination of the two (obviously using multiple shims to distribute the total weight at max load) would allow the shims to raise what you need up just high enough for the jack to be slid under easily. Then just deflate them when the Load is centred on the Lift, and voila… 1500lbs of lift. What do you think? (I could definitely use it this way for my Mother’s Scooter, but I’m not sure it would have been enough for your recent mega-lift issues.)
That jack is almost certainly not rebuildable. pass
Blocks of ice are sometimes a way to temporarily support heavy items allowing them to be slowly lowered as the ice melts. This works OK outside allowing items to be positioned and lowered over studs embedded in a concrete foundation. In the absence of a crane or backhoe to lift an item – a ramp cam be used to get (roll/slide/push) the item up to the height of the ice blocks.