October 17, 2010

Make your own pot lifter!

Trying to maneuver a large pot is very tricky, potentially dangerous, and just plain uncomfortable - you risk injury to yourself, your pot, and/or your plant. I have a sprained ankle right now (and for the past 12 years), and I need to be careful with my footing. Getting my legs near a pot could cause me to twist my ankle again, and I'm sure my orthopedist would have a fit since I just had an MRI a week ago. If I had a trick back, I definitely wouldn't be able to move some of the pots in my yard - some are very slippery with no place for a good hold and weigh more than 150 lbs.

I first saw the Pot Lifter on an episode of "Gardening by the Yard" and loved it!  Then I saw the price and was a bit surprised.  I'm not doubting the construction or the relative value, but I can find a large dolly at the pawn shop for the same amount of cash.  And I'm cheap when it comes to gardening gadgets.  Plus it seemed a bit limited in size.

I also saw an episode of "from Martha's garden" where the producers must have convinced Martha to try climbing a tree with an experienced arborist.  I don't know that much about knots, so I'm easily amazed when it comes to how useful and versatile they can be.  However, despite how awesome it was to watch Martha Stewart try to climb a tree (and I can't say I would have done any better to be honest), the knot the arborist used was even more awesome!

So combining the Pot Lifter idea and the knots, I managed to create my own pot lifter/hauler for $3.  I taught myself the knot and can make one of these rigs in about 15 minutes.  It's super easy and incredibly useful especially if you have a lot of large, bulky pots that you might need to bring inside for the winter or severe weather.   You can potentially make your own for free if you can get your own rope without paying a dime.

The bonus is that it's adjustable and can move more than pots!  You can haul lots of stuff!

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Materials:
  • Two Longer Bicycle Inner Tubes (cut to 24" or 61cm each)
  • Two Shorter Bicycle Inner Tubes (cut to 11" or 28cm each)
You can find bicycle inner tubes for free at a place that does bicycle repairs or perhaps any specialty bike shop.
  • Two Hollowed Pieces of Bamboo (11" or 28cm each)
I used bamboo because I have a good amount of it in my backyard. You do not need to use bamboo - you just need something that is tubular and has a comfortable grip for your handles such as PVC pipe.
  • Two Longer Ropes (154" or 391cm each)
  • Two Shorter Ropes (61" or 155cm each)
This is some leftover rope that I bought at Home Depot. You won't need a whole bundle.  I taped and singed the ends.
Note:  These are the measurements of the materials I used.  Your measurements do not need to exactly match mine, but remember you can cut things shorter, not longer.


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Step 1:  Create the Center

Send the longer ropes through the longer tubes and the shorter ropes through the shorter tubes.

Lay the longer ropes parallel to one another.

Lay the shorter ropes parallel to one another and on top of the longer ropes with the inner tubes between the longer ropes.



Tie the shorter ropes to the longer ropes using a Blake's Hitch and a Figure 8 Knot.



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Step 2:  Create the Handles

Send each end of the rope through the bamboo.




Tie the end of each rope to other rope coming out the same end of the bamboo using a Blake's Hitch and a Figure 8 Knot.




 Repeat for the other side.



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How to Use:

You can adjust the knots for a range of pot sizes by squeezing the knots and pulling it along the rope it's tied to.  The inner tube will crumple with smaller sizes and will help add surface tension between the rope and whatever you're carrying.  You probably won't need the full size all that often, but it's nice to have the option.  You can also adjust the distance between the handle and the center portion should you need to be closer or further away.



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Enjoy and be safe in the garden!  Your back and plants will love you for it!

2 comments:

  1. What a great project - and so useful. Thanks for the tip!

    ReplyDelete
  2. webb - Yay!! It totally is useful in my opinion especially for the cost and "labor". It's going to prove its usefulness the night before the first frost, I bet.

    ReplyDelete

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