# Shop Tips & Tricks #21: Jacking sideways, or "Walking the Jack."

 Blog entry by GnarlyErik posted 05-25-2017 12:38 AM 2802 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments
 « Part 20: Curves, Fair Curves and the Lack of Them Part 21 of Shop Tips & Tricks series Part 22: How to Stabilize Anything With Legs »

Here’s an idea you may find useful some day. This trick uses a jack to safely move something horizontally. You can turn most jacks on their sides, but then must have something solid to jack against. Did you know you can use a jack by itself to move something sideways without needing a side purchase at all?

It’s a pretty simple notion, but it may not occur to you. This requires a jack with a rigidly solid, flat base like a bottle jack. Other types of jacks may work too, but most will carry more risk.

Here’s the way this idea works:

1 Place the jack beneath the item which requires shifting, as near to the center of weight at one end as you can. It is important that the other end has at least two points of solid contact with the floor or ground. For example, you may need to move something like a patio deck or porch. In my experience I have sometimes used this trick to move or shift heavy boats around;

2 Tip the jack about ten or fifteen or so degrees to the side AWAY from the direction you wish your item to move. While this seems counter-intuitive, it will soon be clear how this works. The flat base of the jack will be tipped up off its support on the side you wish to move your load. If you are on soft ground you need something flat and solid under the jack. It is important to draw a mental line from the top of the jack to the edge of the jack in contract with the supporting surface. The top of the tipped jack must never get beyond a vertical line from its top to the edge in contact with the surface.

3 As you begin jacking, physics work to make the base flat with its support again. This is controllable and safe when done right. Each stroke of the jack handle lifts the load a little and makes the base level itself to the support underneath it a little more. (Note: If it does not, or shoves the wrong way, you should reassess and reset because you are doing something wrong. Be safe!) As the jack straightens into plumb, it shifts the load in the opposite direction of its lean until the base is flat with the support again. At this point, you will also have raised your load somewhat too, obviously. You then release the jack and reset it if you need to move your item further.

And it’s just that simple! See my sketch below for a graphical explanation:

SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS:
1. Be sure the top of your jack is not tilted beyond a vertical line from the top to the edge of its base, and always err on the side of safety;
2. Make sure your load is supported solidly in at least two other points opposite your jack;
3. Make sure both the top and bottom of your jack can not slip;
4. Place a solid safety support beneath your load to protect yourself and your appendages it case something does slip;
5. Never drink alcoholic beverages and mess around with a jack!