Friday, April 17, 2015

Barn progress: the hatch and hoist...

Barn progress: the hatch and hoist... The barn's second floor is almost 14 feet above the first floor, accessed via a long, narrow flight of stairs.  While it's possible to carry many heavy things up those stairs, it's certainly no fun.  If you have something large, long, or awkwardly shaped, it may not even be possible.  So when we were designing the barn, I had the builders put a 4' x 10' “hatch” in the ceiling of the first floor (which is also the floor of the second floor).

My builder made a couple of doors designed to open like a clam shell.  They sit in a frame, and weigh about 30 pounds apiece (they're made of steel-faced foam).  I installed big strap hinges on them, and an eye-bolt connected to a rope, pulley, and cleat system that lets me easily open and secure the hatch doors.  Then I installed a half-ton electric hoist above the center of the hatch, with a 4x6 spreader to share the hoist's load across six trusses.  The last step, just completed, was to wire the hoist into my second floor electrical subpanel.  I made a test run with a load of about 500 pounds – worked great!

Left-to-right below: the hatches opened wide, a close up of the hoist, and the hatches closed.

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