found wood #4: quick and dirty homemade dolly (for moving huge logs)

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 06-12-2009 12:31 AM 15337 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: When it rains... found some more logs ON MY BLOCK! Part 4 of found wood series Part 5: more Ficus microcarpa »

If you recall the enormous gum tree logs I rescued recently, you might have wondered how I was going to move them all. Crushing manly strength alone? Nah, I was still pretty shot after lifting them into the truck in the first place. I slapped together a dolly out of scrap 2×4s (left over from the log rack shelves) with deck screws and some pocket holes (and screws), and a pair of rubber wheels and matching axle bolts that I ended up not needing for another project about a month back.

2x4 dolly

2x4 dolly

It was the work of about 20 minutes, plus another 15 trying to find the other wheel (next to the clothes dryer, of course!), and about 30 minutes of talking to mom on the phone after calling to see if she saw it while cleaning up my place on her yearly visit recently (she’s too good to me, but had no idea where a wheel might be :)

2x4 dolly

I added a cross bar after trying to move the first log, because at about 2’ wide, some logs would fall through:

2x4 dolly with additional crossbrace added

The one thing I’d change is the wheel placements. I made it so they would be flush with the bottom, so it would sit flat when tipped forward. Tipping it back was supposed to allow it to roll on the now bottomed-out wheels, but the lumpiness of the grass and cement around my house meant I was too often dragging it on the back of the bottom 2×4. I flipped it over and ran a sharp chisel along that edge to relieve it substantially, and it got better, but I still wish I’d swapped the location of the bottom frame and wheels. Wheel bolts should have been on the bottom, frame floor just above them.

Other than that, it performed quite admirably, not even bending under the weight of the huge gum logs. It saved me at the very least $30, though I imagine some day I’ll just cave and get a proper dolly anyway.

Here’s a time-lapse video of moving the euc logs a few days after I found them. As the sun sets, the lights in my log racks – recently blogged about – light the way.

The video is hosted by flickr. I’d just do that with everything, keeping the videos with their related photos, not to mention it being negligibly easier to grab embed codes from Flickr. However, they have a cap of 90 seconds. A lot of my videos run over that, so YouTube must remain an option.

Now I’m thinking of just undoing the screws, moving the wheels and frames where I want them, making some ‘tailgate ramps’ (Do they have a name – the 2x~6 deals that gardeners use to load and unload lawnmowers and tractors?), and seeing if I can go grab the rest of those even bigger logs, if they aren’t gone yet.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

6 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5164 days

#1 posted 06-12-2009 01:18 AM

Gary, your ingenuity and resourcefulness never ceases to amaze me. The dolly looks pretty solid and constructing it out of re-purposed material is a great cost saving idea. I guess you could use a few more logs in there but, at the rate you are going, it won’t take long to fill up the rack. Then it is either build another or start cranking out projects to make some room in there for more wood.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View lew's profile


13489 posts in 5098 days

#2 posted 06-12-2009 02:23 AM

If this wood stash gets any larger, your going to have to employ the neighbors cat to stand guard at nite!!

Great Job, Gary!!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View clieb91's profile


4265 posts in 5277 days

#3 posted 06-12-2009 03:53 AM

Great solution. I may have to think about making one of those for various projects around here.
That log rack is looking pretty full these days, the lights are a nice touch.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4724 days

#4 posted 06-12-2009 06:23 AM

Scott – thanks very much! I feel the same way about everyone here. I’m going to go with “crank out projects” if I have the option.

Lew – she was with me tonight, helping out again with another big log haul (more on that later).

Chris – thank you. Just make sure you let the wheels stick under enough so it rolls well. It’s pretty important for dollies and hand trucks, and it’s the biggest oversight in my project :)

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Loogaroo's profile


3 posts in 3468 days

#5 posted 10-25-2012 05:36 AM

I like the simple and sturdy design. Moves much better than the 4 wheel flatbed model I made.

View SlimPickins's profile


135 posts in 3257 days

#6 posted 03-31-2015 12:37 AM

I like the dolly – especially the wheels through the wood in a hurry – if it was a ladder, it would be a “fireman’s ladder” so this is a “lumberjack’s dolly”.

-- If a bug can't eat it, it isn't good wood

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