5 Heavy Items You Can Move With A Stone Boat

A stone boat is the "world's simplest wagon"—a basic wooden sled designed to move heavy things. From logs to machines to (yes) stones, here are a few things I've moved.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

A number of years ago, I penned an article for hobbyfarms.com explaining how a large, flat piece of wood tied to a tractor via rope or chain could be used to haul heavy items around a farm. I called it the “world’s simplest wagon.” But it’s really more of a sled.

In the years since, I have expanded on the concept in more sophisticated ways. It turns out there’s a name for my wooden wagon/sled. It’s properly called a stone boat. The name is appropriate in that it is perfect for transporting stones.

But I question the “boat” portion, as I’m skeptical whether a stone boat would float under the weight of a giant boulder….

I digress. My current stone boat is built of stout planks, making it durable and suitable for heavy loads. The front curves up so the sled can slide over small obstacles. And I’ve installed eyehooks so I can tie down loads for extra security.

If you don’t have a front-end loader and only infrequently need to move heavy items, this can be a perfect solution. I’ve hauled all manner of heavy loads around the farm, including…

Read more: Does your tractor really need a front-end loader?

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Rocks, Stones & Boulders

With a digging bar (and perhaps the assistance of a second person), I can wrestle large boulders on to my stone boat.

There’s no way I could lift them into a wagon (and sliding them up a ramp would be difficult). But flopping/rolling them onto the flat surface is relatively straightforward. Smaller rocks and stones are even easier.

Tree Stumps

In much the same way as stones, I’ve wrestled tree stumps onto my stone boat and hauled them away to decompose in the woods.


Logs can be a little trickier to move since they’re inclined to roll around, but that’s what the eyehooks are for. You can tie down logs thoroughly and prevent them from moving.

I used a stone boat to move a large number of logs this year, and it worked like a charm.

Small Machines

Rocks, logs, tree stumps—stone boats can move all kinds of heavy natural materials. Manmade items are fair game, too.

Once or twice a winter I wind up tying my self-propelled snow blower to the stone boat so I can haul it from one part of the farm to another.

Read more: Seeking a snowblower? Ask yourself these 6 questions before heading out to purchase.


Hay bales, bags of livestock feed and bedding, jugs of water—a stone boat can haul all of these and more. It’s not my first choice for items that can be easily lifted individually (I would rather load a wagon, cart, or wheeled vehicle). But I can certainly carry a heavy load of supplies in a pinch.

Ready to add a stone boat to your arsenal of farm tools? Then you’re in luck, because hobbyfarms.com offers step-by-step instructions for building your own. Before long, you’ll be hauling heavy objects with ease, no front-end loader required.

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