by Bill Fugate



It recently dawned on me that I shouldn’t be lifting anvils anymore or half anvils either.   Having passed “middle-aged”, I sure don’t want a sore back for the second half of my life.  So, I began looking for a lifting or hoisting system for my shop.

The shop has a truss roof with about 10’ head clearance.  This is a serious limitation, but one which will have to be endured.  When necessary I’ve been rigging a chain hoist in the rafters.  It helps, but is not very maneuverable.

While at Rice’s landing last spring I spotted a track hoist used to change out 400# chucks on a large lathe.  One end of the track was pinned on the wall while the opposite end ran on a circular rail hung from the rafters.  A trolley with a chain hoist ran from end to end and the track swung through perhaps 90 to 100 degrees. 

Requiring a minimum of head room over the hoist, it was exactly what I needed.  The pictures pretty well show how I adapted the idea.  A 3” wide flange beam, 11’ long comprises the track.  I would have preferred a 4” beam 15’ long, but the 3” beam was free for fixing Tom Ferris’ battery charger.  The trolley and hoist (2 ton) are imports commonly found.  Everything else was fabricated in my shop. 

This arrangement provides lifting capabilities in the area around the anvils, forge, air hammer, fly-press and drill-press, and enables me to load or unload off the back of a pickup truck.  I’m comfortable lifting 600# and have been moving an 800# air hammer around.  A 4” beam should be good for more than 1000#. This is all being checked out. The hoist is far superior to rigging in the rafters or borrowing an engine jack and it’s sort of fun to play with too. 

Anyone desiring information, assembly details or how I bent the track please feel free to contact or visit me. Bill Fugate, 724-473-8297,


Top of Page