Introduction: Bottom Box Grip Brackets for Lifting Heavy Items (One or Two People)

About: I split my time between carpentry & music. And, oh yes our pet bunnies Also check out the shingle art. Someday I hope to post an instructable for this

Bottom Box Grip Brackets for Lifting Heavy Items (One or Two people)


aluminum (scrap gutter)

rope, string or twine

plastic conduit


metal files

hand saw to cut plastic conduit

tape measure

hammer, pliers, tin snips


This is a prototype for a tool that would assist me in the lifting and carrying of large, heavy and or awkward boxes. The problem is how to get hold of these boxes and move them around. I will quickly mention that you should ALWAYS lift with your knees and arms, and NEVER with your back. Google 'best lifting practices' for more about that.

In all I spent about 20 minutes on it. I mention possible improvements in the steps and at the end.

I had several heavy cardboard boxes to ship via usps and my hand truck is temporarily inaccessible. Even if it were available, I'd still have to lift the boxes at some point. The larger box in the picture weighed 56 lbs. and the smaller box weighs 68 lb.

The idea is to create 2 outside bottom corner brackets which adjust to the width of the box and be attached to string so I can lift from a better position. I had several options from the material at hand. I decided that using a piece of scrap aluminum that was already bent to a right angle would be perfect for the 1st attempt. This particular piece was salvaged from a rain gutter and is thicker than the aluminum you'd get in coil stock.

Step 1: Convert the Aluminum Into Brackets

This piece was salvaged from another project that originally came from an old gutter. The piece was 17" long, so I cut it into 2 pieces, each 8 1/2" and filed and rounded the edges.

First try, I cut a slot 1/2" in at the corners with the idea that the rope would be able to catch there and be stable when I lifted. This almost worked, but the rope did not always cooperate.

Step 2: Cut Handles

Cut 2 handles out of plastic conduit 4" long. Bevel the inside edge so it won't fray the rope.

Step 3: Loop the Rope

Make a large loop with the 2 handles. I chose a random length of rope, but approximated having the handles at knee height when ready to lift.

Step 4: 2nd Try - Revised Rope Channel

On the 2nd try, I bent the corners to receive the rope in place. I took a piece of round iron stock and bent around it using pliers and a hammer.

When I used the rope in the revised channel, they did not slide easily and the next time I will bend the channel around a narrow tube or hose.

Step 5: Lacing Through the Corners of the Grip Brackets

Bring rope up through one corner of the first bracket. Add handle and then lace down through the other side. Bring the end over to the second corner bracket and repeat. Be sure that you have them lined up properly with the outsides facing opposite each other.

Step 6: Lifting and Observations

For some reason the smaller heavier box was harder to balance with this version. So I compensated by wrapping the cord around the upper corner of the box. These pieces were 8 1/2" long. I believe if they had been wider, like 12", it would have been better. Also, might have worked better with shorter straps?

If I look like I'm straining, well, this box weighs half as much as I do.

Step 7: Summary

Maybe I invented it, or maybe I've carried the idea in my subconscious from somewhere else. But a search online left me with nothing like it. Then again, I'm not sure exactly how best to name this or even what would be best to refer to what I call the corner grip brackets.

Ideas for future improvements include: Make brackets with casters; and have a width control adjuster, possibly made out of extendible curtain rods.

By the way, I have previously tried using rope without brackets, but they tended to dig into the edges of the box.