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How to Lift Heavy Loads with a Nail Gun and 2x4s

July 13, 2017

I’m kicking myself for not already knowing this amazingly simple trick!

There are hard ways and easy ways to perform just about any construction task—and I just learned I’ve been doing it the hard way. When I need to lift a heavy part of a building, and don’t have a bottle jack, I put an overlong post against it and beat the post plumb with a sledgehammer.

As you will see in this video, Scott Wadsworth knows the easy way to do it. Wadsworth is a carpenter and blacksmith in Southern Oregon. When he needs to raise something heavy he cuts two 2x4s so their combined length is equal to the existing height plus how much he wants to raise it. He butts them end-to-end, nails them to a third 2x4, and then pops them into place.

It’s a clever use of leverage that’s easier to demonstrate than explain. Watch the video and be impressed or amazed—or like me, wonder how you spent so many years in construction without knowing this trick.

—David Frane is a freelance writer and a good buddy of ours. A former carpenter, he has covered tools and construction for JLC, Tools of the Trade, Core77, and other publications. He lives in Northern California.

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