Forklifts are amazingly useful machines, but when a 5 inch curb and a couple of steps keep them from getting where they need to be it causes a problem. Luckily resident forklift operator extraordinaire Tim Anderson was able accessorize our forklift with a loading dock and curb ramp so now it can pick up the real important loads, right at the back door.
Step 1: The Loading Dock
- The dock is slanted towards the building with about a 1 inch slope. This way important things on wheels, like babies in carriages, will roll back towards the building instead of down the staircase should they start to move.
- The dock is heavy - which means its stable, and most of its weight is distributed towards the forklift - which means that it can be lifted safely with the forks extending just a little more than half way under the loading dock. (see third photo below)
- The dock's angled supports help protect the forklift tips from accidentally hitting the concrete steps. (see fourth photo below)
- The dock can be picked up and moved without the help of another person or any heavy lifting.
(see video below)
The only drawback is that the loading dock is not as wide as we would have liked. This loading dock fits on three different stair cases around the office and the shop, so its width was limited to the width of the smallest staircase.
Step 2: The Curb Ramp
The curb in the back of the building prevented the forklift from getting close to the back door to make pickups, so once the loading dock was built, the curb ramp was a must.
The curb ramp is made from seven layers of laminated plywood stacked on top of each other. The layers were cut with a fairly large beveled edge on a table saw and then hammered together in place. Each layer only rises 3/4" and the beveled edge makes for a very smooth ride up to the curb.
The ramp is made from two independent ramps that can be taken apart and widened so that cars and other wheeled vehicles can drive up on the curb as well. Ramps like these are particularly useful should you ever need to free your car from a locked parking lot.
Step 3: Pick Up Important Loads
The dock and the ramp still need a coat of outdoor water sealer to protect the wood from the elements but once they were built it was time to pick up some important loads - mainly big piles of trash and recycling.