I almost want to go move a huge rock

This is an excellent example of what you can do with a little ingenuity and patience. Given that hours would have been relatively abundant when things like Stonehenge and the great pyramids were built, and given that ingenious people would have dedicated their energies to these kinds of practical problems instead of video games, it’s not unlikely that they were at least as competent as he is at moving heavy things.

I found it pretty amazing that a member of his family allowed him to move their pole barn 300 feet just to show that it could be done. I’m nervous enough about the idea of professionals jacking up our house for foundation and basement work; I can’t see myself letting someone slowly spin a working building around just to prove it possible :-). I wish we’d learned more about how he got the cross pieces on the arches up. Standing the beams up was impressive, but the cross pieces seem a much trickier business. Still, it’s all quite something to watch.

Kudos to Ellery Crane for pointing me at this post.

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15 Responses to I almost want to go move a huge rock

  1. Lambo says:

    To raise the cross pieces, couldn’t he have just raised them the same way he raised the block that he placed upright? By slowly jacking it up with the two by fours to the height needed, but instead of then placing that stone upright, place two others upright at the ends, and then, I don’t know, burning the wood structure under the cross piece, so it would rest on the uprights.

  2. Bryan says:

    You could raise it up using the “seesaw” frame and then use wooden rollers or levers to move it sideways. If you raised it higher than the supports, gravity could help you move it down to the supports.

  3. Phi says:

    I’d wondered about that approach to raising them, but then I couldn’t figure out how to lower it into place and align it really neatly like it seems he did in that one completed arch they show in the video. It’s probably just a failure of imagination on my part, but it wasn’t obvious how you’d either slide the crosspiece over onto the vertical posts or (as you suggested) lower it into place in a controlled way.

    If you used burning, for example, what if the whole wooden structure shifted, and the crosspiece slid significantly to the side, or even all the way off? How much clearance would you need to still be able to erect the vertical beams? If it’s only a teeny bit, then I could see it all working, but if you need a foot or two then the lowering seems complex.

    Just not sure…

  4. Jeff Hebert says:

    Wouldn’t he just need to lift it up perpendicular to its ultimate orientation to the height he needs, then rotate it using the first method in the video (the rock underneath it)?

  5. Phi says:

    That does sounds plausible. You’d probably have to be pretty careful about your clearances, but this guy’s gotten pretty darn good at this stuff, so that probably isn’t a big problem.

    There’s a reason I’m not an engineer. I love it when they figure out cool stuff like this, thought…

  6. pablo says:

    This totally ruined the movie “Spinal Tap” for me.

  7. John Emerson says:

    The cross piece is the part the space aliens have to do.

    Your security code is almost impossible. I took four tries.

  8. Magnum says:

    Raising the cross-piece using the seesaw method is the obvious part, but you have to think a little bit outside the box to work out how to place it across the top of the two vertical blocks.

    Most people seem to assume the cross-piece is raised next to the two supports, then somehow shifted across.

    Instead, what if the cross-piece is moved along the ground between the two supports, 90 degrees to the final position? Then after it is raised to the height of the supports (or slightly higher) it’s probably easier just to spin it around on a single pebble, instead of walking it across, or even trying somehow to roll it.

  9. Magnum says:

    The other point which should be utterly obvious is what to name his park when he finishes it: Wallyhenge.

  10. Matt Stephens says:

    How about naming it Flint-henge. Get IT! Flint is the town, and a soft rock!

  11. Dr A says:

    Where was this guy when I was arranging boulders for my oriental garden?

  12. The Running Gun says:

    So, is it possible that
    stonehenge was actually built by a man who was only showing his naighbors how he could move big rocks around?

  13. Phi says:

    That’s a wonderful image. A few guys with a wagon load of mead were just messing with us :-).

  14. JCA says:

    Henges – Engineering in Prehistory

    Move huge rocks with nutating gear technology.

    Stonehenge was a crane to do this type of work!

    HengeTv animation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgoVQTK0-9I

  15. kevin says:

    could this be how coral casal was built by ed leedskalinins

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