The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Multiple Use's for a Hand Winch

We have a four ton hand winch that really pulls more than its own weight around here. Some folks refer to them as a "come along", I call ours an essential tool for pulling a truck out of the mud, stretching barb wire tight, or bringing down an old house as you can see in this short video clip.  There are several varieties to choose from. The ones rated for two tons can be had for 10 or 15 dollars; we got lucky and found a four ton model for only 20 bucks at the Bluff City flea market. You should expect to pay somewhere between 35 and 50 bucks for the four ton if you want to order it online.

I have a designated gear bag for our winch that includes a heavy duty tow strap, a ten foot stretch of cable with loops onAnna with winch each end, and a good old fashioned chain. These items are needed to attach your winch to a tree, heavy duty vehicle, boulder, etc. Extreme care should be taken when operating any type of winch where several hundred or thousand pounds are being held. The cable can end up holding a tremendous amount of potential energy, and if there is a break or slip then that energy needs to go somewhere, and if you're in its way it might be the last mistake you make. I try to imagine the path the cable might take if it did break, and stay clear and make sure any bystanders are plenty out of the way.

Simon Faure invented a new kind of hand winch during World War 2. He named it the Tirfor and due to its unique design these winches are capable of working in any position, horizontal, vertical, or angled.  What really sets the Faure winch apart from a simple come along is its shear pin. When the machine reaches 125% of it's capacity a metal pin inside the winch breaks, alerting the operator that any more pulling would be dangerous. Replacement pins are stored in a compartment on the handle. Be ready to pay between 300 to over 1000 dollars for such a tool. More details can be found at this website.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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