If you have large rocks on your property, you may think that you need to call a professional or use heavy equipment to move them. In some cases, this is true; however, if you’re smart and methodical and have a few simple tools on hand and know how to apply leverage, you may be able to move large boulders on your own. After all, there was no heavy equipment available to the builders of the Pyramids or Stonehenge, and surely your rocks are not quite that big!
If you have to move a heavy rock, it’s important to know how to do it with maximum efficiency and minimum danger. In this article, we share techniques to help you move big rocks safely and quickly as part of your farm maintenance. Read on to learn more on how to move a heavy rock.
What You'll Learn Today
- 1 Have The Right Tools On Hand
- 2 Choose & Understand Your Rock Moving Method
- 3 Which Method Is Best For Moving A Heavy Rock?
Have The Right Tools On Hand
When you have to move a large rock, you want to be sure not to strain your back, crush your fingers, break any bones or do damage to buildings, vehicles and the like in the surrounding area.
That’s why it’s important to identify the method you plan to use and then make sure you have the tools necessary to follow through.
Here are half a dozen essential tools you’ll need for shifting a big rock:
A prybar can be used as a lever, which allows you to move a great deal of weight with little effort.
For maximum effectiveness, you place the end of your prybar under the rock and use another rock, brick or sturdy chunk of wood as a fulcrum between the rock and the force your applying to the other end of the prybar. This gives you maximum leverage.
This is a sturdy object which you place under your prybar to provide greater leverage. The fulcrum provides a pivot or balance point. It remains stationary while you apply force to the end of the prybar, exerting greater force on the boulder you intend to move.
A ratchet crank allows you to create a hoist by attaching a strong strap to your heavy object, securing it around a stable object such as a heavy vehicle or a sturdy tree trunk and then simply cranking the ratchet to move the heavy object bit-by-bit.
It takes far less force and effort on your part to crank the ratchet that it would to simply drag the rock.
4. Nylon straps and rope
Very strong, wide nylon straps will give you a secure grip on the rock. Sturdy nylon rope, such as a tow rope, can be used to tie the rock onto a conveyance to move it, to secure your prybar in place as you work, and any number of other tasks that may come up during the operation.
5. Materials for a conveyor belt
Strong boards and pipes can be used in combination to create a conveyor belt to roll the rock along easily.
6. Sled, tire or sturdy plywood
A large, flat, sturdy piece of plywood, an old tire or a sturdy sled can be used to pull the rock smoothly along the ground using your own strength or that of a small tractor or draft animal.
7. Wheelbarrow or wheelie bin
If the rock is more medium sized than big, you may be able to simply place it in a sturdy, wheeled trash can or wheelbarrow and roll it to its new location.
Choose & Understand Your Rock Moving Method
Here are five smart methods you can use when confronted with the task of moving a big rock.
1. Use a hoist
The hoist method allows you to move large boulders or rocks on your own. If you’re going to use a hoist, you’ll also need a prybar, a heavy duty rope or nylon cord, along with a sturdy ratchet crank.
Gather together an assortment of bricks or blocks of wood to support the heavy rock during various points in the operation.
Begin your task by strapping a cable securely around the heavy rock. Use your prybar to lift the rock and then push bricks or blocks of wood to support it, making a space underneath where you can pass the strap or cord.
Use a wire or a stick to run the cable under the rock so that you don’t accidentally crush your hand or arm.
Once the rock is securely tied with the cable, you can use the ratchet crank to slowly pull the heavy stone into position.
This can take quite a while, but this can be a good thing because working in increments gives you time to make adjustments, and working slowly means that you are taking less risk of injury.
2. Drag the heavy rock
You can drag a heavy stone if you are pretty strong and have a sturdy old tire or piece of plywood, a strong nylon strap or rope and a prybar. You’ll use the tire as a conveyance for the rock, so you’ll need to tie your strap or rope onto the tire securely at the outset.
Use the prybar to wrestle the rock onto the tire or plywood, wedging it securely in place. Keep your back straight and use good form to avoid injury as you drag the tire to the rock’s new location.
If you have a very strong snow sled, you can use it to move a big rock. You’ll also need a prybar to loosen the rock from its current location and topple it onto the sled. Use a mover’s quilt to prevent causing scratches, gouges and other damage to your sled.
Once you have the stone securely on board the sled, you can just drag it to its new location and then use the prybar to topple it out of the sled and into its new place.
Once you arrive at the new spot, use the prybar to topple the boulder off the tire and into its new position.
3. Use a plank to roll the rock
To roll a heavy rock up or down a plank, you’ll need to have a very strong plank and a minimum of four sturdy pipes to use as support beneath it. You’ll lay the pipes at equal distances, parallel to one another between the stone and the desired new location.
Lay the strong plank on top of the pipes, butted right up against the base of the stone. Use a prybar or sheer brute strength to push the rock out of its location and onto the plank. Once it’s there, begin pushing it along toward its new location.
The pipes underneath should roll so that the plank and the stone move along easily. As the plank moves forward, you’ll see that the back pipe will appear.
You’ll need to stop, pick it up and move it in front of the plank so that you can continue rolling. This method involves quite a bit of stopping and starting, but you’ll eventually get there.
4. Make use of a wheelbarrow or wheelie bin
If your large rock will fit inside your wheeled trash container or your garden wheelbarrow, you can use that to move it. Just lay the wheelie bin or wheelbarrow on its side next to the big rock. Use a prybar to loosen the rock up and roll it into the bin or barrow.
Set the bin or barrow upright and roll it carefully to the stone’s new location. Take care not to have the bin slanted far to the side because the excessive weight of the stone may cause cracks in the side of your trash container. Of course, a tilted barrow will spill your big rock out in an unwanted location.
No matter which conveyance you use, hold it fairly straight upright. Once you’ve arrived at the rock’s new location, you can lay the bin or barrow down again and tilt it up to roll the rock out.
Which Method Is Best For Moving A Heavy Rock?
Clearly each of these methods has its positives and negatives. You would probably not be able to use a wheelie bin to move the same rock for which you would need a hoist. When deciding how you will move your large boulder, use common sense and don’t be afraid to call for help if you need it.
Don’t be afraid to combine the tips in this article. The presenter in this video uses a combination of methods to get the job done.