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Turn A Piece Of Wood Into The World’s Simplest Wagon

You don’t need fancy equipment to lift heavy objects around the farm—a simple piece of wood will do.

by J. Keeler JohnsonOctober 4, 2016
PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson

If you live on a farm, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually need to move heavy objects that just don’t lend themselves to being easily transported. Two perfect examples are tree stumps and large rocks—they’re very heavy and often oddly shaped, presenting a challenge when it comes to moving them to a better location (i.e., out of your hay field or barnyard.)

So how do you move large objects like these? They’re obviously too heavy for a single person or even a few people to lift, and while it’s possible to wrap a chain around them and drag them behind a tractor, this will undoubtedly leave large scrapes and gouges in the ground, which is probably not ideal. A better approach might be to lift them with the front-end loader on a tractor, but not everyone has a front-end loader—if you don’t, you’ll have to find another way.

Fortunately, a simple piece of wood can save the day!

By wrestling or rolling heavy objects onto a large, flat piece of wood, you can easily use your tractor to tow the wood around like a wagon, moving tree stumps and rocks without causing as much damage to your land. The wood acts like a sled, distributing the weight of the object and slicing across the ground without digging in and leaving marks.

The first step to building this primitive wagon is to choose an appropriate piece of wood. It needs to be large enough that the objects you’ll be moving won’t fall off, and it needs to be strong and thick enough to support heavy weights while being pulled by a tractor. A 4-by-8-foot piece of plywood can work well for simple jobs.

Once you’ve chosen a piece of wood, you’ll need to drill holes in two adjacent corners. With these holes, you can use hooks, chains, ropes or wires to attach the board to the hitch of your tractor. Whatever materials you use to tow the wood, make sure that you provide enough slack and distance between the wood and the tractor so that the wood will lie flat when towed. (Although, having the leading edge of the board hover ever so slightly above the ground will help it slide smoothly and not get caught on bumpy ground.)

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While I wouldn’t recommend this approach for huge projects, like clearing a field—you’ll obviously want better equipment for that!—I’ve found that this “wooden wagon” is simple, fast, and easy to construct and use. One of the main benefits is that it doesn’t require you to lift your heavy loads—you don’t even have to slide them up a ramp because the “wagon” lies flat on the ground. For moving an occasional tree stump or rock, it works great, and it’s also easy to customize to your own preference. For example, if you want to get elaborate, you could add metal eye hooks to the wood for tying down stumps and rocks.

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