Instructables
Concrete blocks (or CMUs, or Cinder Blocks, or Free Weights, or whatever) are heavy.

Yes, they are designed as an efficient construction material meant to be maneuvered by hand under normal human power, a feat they excel at, as evidenced by their ubiquitous proliferation.

But what if you're not a normal human? What if you work in an office all day and have the equivalent forearm strength of a small child? Or what if you just don't really want to torque up your wrist and elbows hauling big heavy things because it would interfere with your tennis swing or the fluidity of your interpretive dance expressions? Or what if you're an OCD engineer and simply must devise the most efficient load transfer mechanism throughout your body for every single item you ever pick up? Or what if you're lazy?

Well, gather around misfits, and hear tell of how you, too, can be of some marginal use on a construction site, despite your crippling dainty or schizoid mannerisms.
 
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Step 1: Think.

Picture of Think.
This is important. A great man once said, "Think - don't stink." *  That guy was totally right.

Man is a tool-making creature, not because he is particularly noble, but because he is lazy, and would prefer it if the laws of physics would do his work for him, or at least interfere with his desires as little as possible.

One of those laws is Gravity. More often than not, Man finds himself diametrically opposed to this law. He is at odds with it all day long, and though he appreciates its purpose, he will try to circumvent it at every opportunity. But in order to do this, he needs to know a little about it, for "Knowing is half the battle." **

So he sits down in a comfortable chair (See? Already he's giving Gravity the proverbial finger, because his legs sure as smack don't want to carry all this weight around) and says to himself:

"Gravity moves in a straight line, and an object supported any angle apart from directly up and down will incur additional resistance, particularly at those points at which departure from vertical begin." Or "Heavy things held out make arms and hands hurt."

In order carry a concrete block normally, Man would grip the block from the side, offsetting the block's loading axis from its center to the edge. Now, the block is a tightwad and will follow Nature's statutes and by-laws to a T, so when it senses it's being picked up off the prescribed axis, it will contort itself until it has re-righted itself with Gravity's regulations. As it angles itself, it becomes more inconvenient for Man to hold. He must angle his wrist and elbows to counter-compensate for the block's adjustment and tighten his grip to prevent the block from slipping. All of this because he marginally infringed upon Gravity's "straight down" clause.

But what if there was a way to keep everything in line? What if there was a way to grasp the block from straight above? It would mean eliminating all ancillary stresses from the equation, rendering the block much easier to maneuver... but how?

Now, bear in mind, Man is not a creature of infinite intelligence, and thinking takes effort, so he employs another strategy to hold information for him and minimize his own exertion - he draws. And once an image mysteriously appears that makes some modicum or sense, he musters up enough strength to get out of his chair and get to work.



* This person's name was Apollo Creed. He was a genius who hospitalized an Italian with a below-average IQ in a fist-fight. Later, he lost to that individual, but while his opponent came close to squandering all of his new-found wealth, Apollo managed to retain buckets and buckets of money, because he was smart.

** Quote from another one of history's most pivotal personalities.
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nexsad10 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

JourPT1 year ago
A really nice idea, may use it without the soldering.
MAF4051 year ago
very niece idea .
overblast1 year ago
Is that the MOM Corp Bending Unit at work in the top photo?????
chuckr441 year ago
My rebar broke when I bent it, what happened? I think I used thicker rebar than you did.
Great design - and excellent descriptions. I want this for my birthday!
(I hate moving cinderblocks.)
agguilar1 year ago
Thanks for sharing!!!
dougbyte1 year ago
Very good idea. Thanks for sharing.
sharpstick1 year ago
Great idea! I usually just grab them by hand. Messes up my hands if I'm too lazy to go find some gloves.
A few comments:
1. If you don't have a welder, fasten a spacer a couple inches below the handles to spread the bars. A block of wood or even foam rubber fastened with tie wraps, duct tape . . .
2. It seems like a bit of an upturn on the end of the bottom part would help keep the blocks from slipping loose, but I guess friction is adequate.
3. A U-shaped spreader at the handle level would hold them apart so you don't have to spend as much energy holding them out (from banging into your knees).
4. This could also hold the blocks horizontally instead of vertically, but I haven't decided if this would help or not.
thinkthank1 year ago
Great idea
Eh Lie Us!1 year ago
Shields against these foes? I can dig it!
cw871 year ago
love it! what a great idea. Would garden trowels work?
criggie1 year ago
Trick - get the pallet of blocks off-loaded and delivered as close as possible to where you want them.
paul296901 year ago
Excellent Instructable, I will be making these tomorrow, have all the materials to hand, mainly cos I'm super lazy and would rather buy double everything I need for a project and so always have some materials to play with without having to go out and expend energy twice! I loved your witty step instructions, more of the same please.
lime3D1 year ago
I like it. I like working with rebar for a variety of projects, so the next time I'm making something, I'll make a set of these, just to keep on hand. Thanks.
annguyen1 year ago
Not on US soil? R u doing volunteering work somewhere? Are you an engineer and what organization are you working for? Ever heard of EWB?

Sweet creation, we are building a school out of CMU this summer in Nicaragua. This will come in handy if I can convince the macho men in me and my friends to use it.
dowdymp (author)  annguyen1 year ago
Thanks a bunch! I'm actually an Architect-in-training, and these were for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic that our church takes every year. I made 6 altogether for our group, and the total weight came out to about 10lbs, so they're manageable for putting in a checked bag.

I'm totally a fan of EWB! Thanks for helping in Nicaragua - hope everything goes great! (By the way, the neat thing about these is even the manly men in our group liked to use them because they make you feel like you have awesome metal hook hands.)
wolfgang641 year ago
It's Sunday and I'm off. I saw this and just smiled, went out to my workshop and made set. My guys are going to love these! The only change I made was I put about a 10 degree up hook on the very end of the cinder block side. Great idea, thank you.
billfarr1 year ago
You are soooo right about inventiveness. Nature is the Mother of invention but a LAZY man was/is the Father. Great text and a great idea. I have to move 3-4 blocks every time I use my boat and just went out and built my carrier.
Oh yeah! I live in Fl so I use my boat a lot and those blocks aren't getting any lighter:-).
Billfarr
chuckyd1 year ago
Just grab the block on the wide side at the end. No torque involved, and the wide side increases the gripping power, without the added weight of the device.
Interesting, informative and entertaining. Wish I would have had one of these yesterday as I was carting blocks from my car to the patio. But, I will have one next time! THANKS!!
hazlett1 year ago
Cinder blocks have not been made, in the US, in many years.
lbrewer421 year ago
Its nice to see someone else who likes to cheat physics - GREAT job. People who have never moved much block at a time are the ones who likely do not understand the benefit these tools bring. There were many times I could have used these in the past. But If I doing this type of work anymore I think I'd design one to carry two blocks for each hand when moving the lighter weight ones.
If ya got gloves.. You don't need those things :P
As someone who has worked with these (concrete blocks) for a few years (basement waterproofing/rebuilding) I can say that this is--without a doubt--better than the ones we used to use. It is cheaper, it is way less complicated, and we could make them on site if they break. I will be sending this to my buddies still in the trade.
Yeah, but you missed the bits about not "torqu(ing) up your wrist and elbows" and "offsetting the block's loading axis from its center to the edge". This tool allows your arms to hang in a natural position, and takes the stress off your fingertips. The last two pictures show carrying with gloves and without, so clearly, if ya got those things... you don't need gloves. :P ;]
Bricks/concrete eat up gloves very fast. Gets expensive.
askjerry1 year ago
I have to agree with cdellam below... I really like your writing style and the borders and shadows on the images. The whole instructable has a really good feel to it. Nice job! I spent a summer in my youth working at a job site building fire walls... hauling those up three or four flights of steps every day for a few weeks. These would have been great to have had back then!

Thanks,
Jerry
cdellam1 year ago
One other benefit you didn't mention, is the saving of wear and tear on your skin. CMU's are notorious for sucking every bit of moisture from your skin, and turning your hands into 80 grit sand paper. Excellent Instructable! for an excellent tool!
P.S. I like your writing style! LOL
armstk1801 year ago
Excellent , very good idea !
but dowdymp what you have for the block without any hole?
you know , because new block are very light and without hole
dowdymp (author)  armstk1801 year ago
Hey thanks! Good question. Before the hook/fork scheme I debated using something similar to what's available on the market:

http://www.bontool.com/product1.asp?P=B21-468

These are really clever devices that use leverage and friction to employ the block's own weight as their gripping mechanism. I just didn't want to spring for $20 a pop for the cheap ones, let alone the $70 deluxe models. Also, knowing that we'd be working with cored block, I didn't want to spend hours in the garage trying to fabricate some pivot/hinge mechanism using inadequate material and equipment when a dumb bent piece of metal would do the job.

But for solid blocks (like landscape blocks, caps, etc.) I'm sure it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility to create a similar carrier by selectively bending and flattening a couple pieces of EMT conduit, hitting 'em with a drill and throwing a bolt in for a pivot. Or whatever. Surely there are better methods and way smarter people than me around... kinda why I love this website.
B21-468_0.JPG
Stone_UFO1 year ago
Be a man! haha jk, cool idea! This would work great for full 3/4 ply wall forms for concrete. Those things torques your wrist( with out the stupid winds of southern sask throwing the thing around on you)
Wyle_E1 year ago
If you don't have a welder, a spacer (such as a bit of pvc pipe), held in with zip ties or baling wire, will hold the legs apart.
Great writing!
onemoroni11 year ago
Anything to make the job easier. Work smarter, not harder. Good instructable.
Man, I am going to save the text so I can go back and get additional grins from the narrative! Very well done.
Wonderfully creative and the narrative entertaining and well just makes me want to follow you, oh that sounded like stalking... Love it. Thank you.
jerickm1 year ago
Great idea and even more brilliant delivery. Thank you!!!
bobzjr1 year ago
Great idea for carrying blocks. I really need to pickup welding. I'm missing too much fun.
I like the Futurama reference with Mom Corp. well done:)
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