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Moving a large rock.  RSS feed

 
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We have a very large boulder (roughly 1000lbs) in the middle of a road on our way out to our homestead. It hasn't been too much of a problem until recently after it started raining. Our problem is that we do not have the money to rent any equipment and are very limited on towing supplies. Since the picture attached was taken, the boulder was "spun" into a hole just a little more to the left of the rock to get my truck over it. And it has also rained making our current situation difficult.
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Posts: 533
Location: South Tenerife, Canary Islands (Spain)
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Have you got a hammer drill. Even a small 1kw drill running off the car battery with an inverter could smash that rock into several pieces in a few mins. Or hammer and chisel, try to make it crack in two
 
pollinator
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Do you have a come along?
I have found them to be effective if tedious to use in situations where pulling with a vehicle isn't an option.
 
pollinator
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any trees uphill you could use a come-a-long and a tow strap to flip it?
 
gardener
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I think one good way to move that large rock is with compounding pulleys. I've included a couple graphics to show how they work. Essentially, when more and more pulleys are added in unison, it effectively reduces the force needed to move an object. I bet a sufficient length of rope, with a couple pulley's, tied to the rock and a couple trees off to the side of the drive there, and using that car, that rock can be dragged off to the side.







 
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Sledge hammer, big chisel, leather gloves, eye protection. Bust that rock into movable pieces and you are good to go.
 
pollinator
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There are a few no cost ways to deal with this, and many great ideas already given. But my suggestion would be via good old fashioned pick axe and shovel.

My ancestors often did this to rocks that were too big to move by oxen and stone boat. They just dug a hole next to the rock that was bigger than the rock was, then pushed the rock into the hole and covered it back over.
 
pollinator
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Yes all great ideas.Tried and true for me has been to cut six two foot long round logs to use as wheels. Get a nice big rock bar and try to get one corner of the rock up on one of the log rollers. Move it down hill and off the road. Beware on a hill the rock can get moving don't leave the truck or people below the rock. If it gets up on one roller use the rock bar on the opposite side of the rock to pry it downhill. As the rock moves up on the first roller add a second push it with leverage from the rock bar, repeat ...
 
pollinator
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In the photo it looks like the ground slopes down on the right side.  Could you dig out the edge of the road there, add some water to make the mud slippery and then carefully push the rock off the road with the truck?

Other option, haul in a LOT of rock and gravel and bury the whole mess.
 
                            
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So my first thought is high lift jack and SAFETY!!!   It's what I'd try first.  I've slowly moved huge boulders by carefully flipping them end over end that way.......and I've almost lost a finger, so there's that.

My second idea is probably easier to understand in a terrible illustration.  Basically you'd need a snatch block/pulley, some rope/wire that feeds over the pulley, a chain to wrap around a tree across from the rock, and another chain to wrap around the rock.  One end of the rope ties to the truck (and the truck should be pulling down hill with gravity), it threads through the pulley chained to the tree (or rock or whatever is heavier than what you're moving, and for the sake of kindness you really should be using a tree saving fabric strap around a living tree........but you got to do what you got to do) and ties off to the chained rock.
I think very slowly and methodically giving a quick yank, and then scooching with the highlift this could be done easily, but it would take a while especially done solo.

Good luck.  Fun stuff. 

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One approach would be to excavate on the side of the stone to the right in the pic that drops away from the road and use a lever to try worry the stone off the road. Advantage could be zero cost if a suitable pole is available nearby.

Another option would be to simply excavate the opposite side of the road and go around the rock.
 
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Got the time to build a biiig fire and a way to get water to it? Keep it surrounded by embers for a couple days, then suddenly douse it with quantities of the coldest water you can find. Make sure you're wearing goggles! It will quite probably crack, even shatter. Subsequent breaking it down is then much easier, if at all necessary.

What I would do, because of what I have, is use a 10k lb winch (about $240, and handy to have, though likely a friend has one to loan you) to move it out of the way. Chain winch to large tree, make a net of ropes, cable or chain, hook to winch and extract! If your car has a hitch you could attach winch to hitch too.
 
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Yeah, Peter's got it. Dig under it. It likes going down.
 
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I would second making a fire on the rock, for a while.  Can you have a cookout where the rock is?  Make it a fun event.  Then douse it in cooold water.  If there is no way to cool the water onsite, a few pounds of dry ice will help chill it a bit.  After you douse the hot stone, it should crack and be "easier" to hammer to pieces. 

This is how people have dug their way into pyramids and other old stone vaults.  Looking up Egyptian rock mining or something similar should help illustrate this idea. 

Another idea would be to use a cordless circular saw, cut a grid as deep as you can into the big face.  Sledge the chunks out and repeat.   Also this is sort of how people cut notches in wood if they only have a big saw and hammer.  It becomes fairly easy to knock out the smaller bits between the cuts, rather than just whacking away at solid rock face.



 
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Maybe I'm missing something, but why move it?  It looks quite flat, and if the rest of the driveway is covered with the layers of gravel- - I'm guessing, you will put on your driveway--  it actually becomes a solid surface. 
 
                            
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Seriously, these other replies are interesting, and would probably work, but really,
a hi-lift jack is all you need.  Or, it's all I'd need.  I know, because I've done it many, many, many, many, times.  It's great for pulling stumps out too!  It's two flips of that stone, and you're done.  One, if you're lazy, and swerve around it.
It's triangular from what I can see, giving it the perfect base, and tip to flip it from?  It's simple.

Here's an example of a rock probably half the mass of the one the op has.  It's all the same, though.

Safety.  Safety.  Safety.  Again, I barely got my finger pulled out from when the rock fell off the jack.  Yes, the rock will fall off the jack.  That handle will fly into your rib cage and break your bones if you're not paying attention.  There's a lot of force involved in this, but I think it is the simplest way to get this thing moved considering the op doesn't have a lot to work with.  It's a very valuable tool for less than $100.

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more.
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more.
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more.

and now that otherwise useless rock has become a very nice seat for me to enjoy in my "sunflower" garden area. 
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Was the beer used to clean the wound, before gluing the wound closed?
 
                            
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The beer is always a constant, thus the injuries. 

and I absolutely detest cleaning any wound.  I let my dogs do it for me. 

I've not had so much as an aspirin in the last five years. 

 
Brian Rodgers
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Curious if the original poster has seen all these "helpful ideas?"
Brian
 
Travis Johnson
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Travis Johnson wrote:There are a few no cost ways to deal with this, and many great ideas already given. But my suggestion would be via good old fashioned pick axe and shovel.

My ancestors often did this to rocks that were too big to move by oxen and stone boat. They just dug a hole next to the rock that was bigger than the rock was, then pushed the rock into the hole and covered it back over.



I was short on time when I wrote this so I did not elaborate on it, but for years we used to drive over this one rock in a field of ours. It was just enough so you had to pick the head of the chopper when we went over it. that was a pain, but seeing how big the rocks were on the rock wall, we knew it was big. (The rocks are always bigger on the down hill parts of a rock wall because Oxen could only pull them down hill).

One day I decided to remove this rock out of the field. It took a 34,000 pound excavator and a bulldozer working in unison to withdraw it from the hole. It was about the size of a small car. It was huge! But under it was the most beautiful topsoil. That was when I figured out how my ancesters had dealt with the rock. They had dug a hole and just buried it. frost had heaved it up over the last 200 years so that we could just feel it.

 
Travis Johnson
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This rock is interesting.

It was the only one in this field cleared in 1838. It had a hole drilled into it for dynamite, but for one reason or another, was never blasted.

It took us 175 years, and ultimately 185 horse (horsepower) and one big bulldozer to get it to the edge of the field, but we do not give up easily! We are a patient family!

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pollinator
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Fredy Perlman wrote:Got the time to build a biiig fire and a way to get water to it? Keep it surrounded by embers for a couple days, then suddenly douse it with quantities of the coldest water you can find. Make sure you're wearing goggles! It will quite probably crack, even shatter. Subsequent breaking it down is then much easier, if at all necessary.




^^^ THIS  ^^^

Build a HOT fire and heat that rock up to over 1000 degrees.  Hotter if you can.  If you've got old honey laying around, sugar burns at a very hot temperature.  Coal is also great for this task, as it burns tremendously hot and for a long time (albeit, it's a dirty burn).  Burn the fire all day and get that sucker good and hot.

While the fire is burning and heating up the rock, position a 55 gallon drum uphill from the rock.  After the fire has burned for many hours, fill the drum with 5  20 lb. bags of ice and equal amount of water.  Rake back the coals so the rock is exposed.  Dump to ice water down onto the rock.  It'll pop.

Sometimes the fire alone is enough to crack the rock.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pslnI0IPEc8

 
Marco Banks
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Or you could invest in some ecobust and let it do the job for you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0uFoZ7das0
 
Marco Banks
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Ecobust -- another example.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaAZNyisdOA
 
Travis Johnson
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Another way to split rock if a person lives where it gets cold enough, is to take a star drill, bore a hole down through the rock, then fill with water and plug with a wooden cork. When the temperature gets low enough, the water will freeze and shatter the rock since water expands by 9% when it is frozen.
 
Brian Rodgers
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Travis Johnson wrote:This rock is interesting.

It was the only one in this field cleared in 1838. It had a hole drilled into it for dynamite, but for one reason or another, was never blasted.

It took us 175 years, and ultimately 185 horse (horsepower) and one big bulldozer to get it to the edge of the field, but we do not give up easily! We are a patient family!


Now that's a nice rock.
Boy howdy I wish we had half that much moisture.
This year everything I do outside has a cloud of dust around it.
Come on rain!
I moved this rock across the yard and through the door to our earth-sheltered greenhouse using log rollers. This goes a lot quicker if there is a second person to help keep the leading edge on the rollers, but it still works, just slow like in this video.

Although it isn't shown in this video I also placed firewood in and around the flagstone steps of the sunken section of the greenhouse to protect the rock-work in case the rock got out of control. The rock  didn't hit anything somehow, but safety first matters. Getting it through a doorway shows how much control you can get using a rock bar to pry  the weight around.    
 
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Maybe split it first.
 
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Notice how his coworker almost got squished at 2:25.  Be careful out there folks!
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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