Moving the picnic table - Fiberglass RV

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Old 08-01-2014, 11:07 AM   #1
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Name: Steve
Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
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Moving the picnic table

Once again, I’m letting the group in on my next money making, probably not patentable, project. My previous project involved mounting a fan blade to an alternator and in turn mounting it to the roof of my trailer to charge my trailer battery while in transit is sure to make me big money. Soon, I’m sure. No wind? No problem! Connect a motor to spin the blade.

Okay, moving on…

I’ve been contemplating a picnic table moving scheme that I can use to move a picnic table all by myself. I’m a solo camper. Some of those state park tables are heavy puppies and I can’t always drag them through the dirt. And there isn’t always help available when I arrive. Further complicated by the fact that I’m not supposed to lift much of anything and even one end of the table can be a challenge for me.

My current thinking involves a pair of side-crank (I like the side-crank form), swiveling, 1000 pound capacity (lightest, cheapest I can find) tongue jacks with a swivel wheel at the bottom of the jack tube. I would clamp each jack assembly to the table seat, in the middle of the length of the seat. Swing the jack vertical, jack up each side to raise the table in the center like a see-saw. Then from the end in the direction of desired travel tip the table level so that it’s high-sided on the swivel wheels and I tug away. Tugging is different from lifting with regards to my restrictions. The bigger the wheel I can fit on the bottom of the jack the better. However making the assembly too long below the tube swivel means I can’t get it under the seat.

I’m interested in the swivel jacks because they already have that side plate attached to the jack tube that I think I can modify with some sort of scheme to firmly clamp the jack to the table seat. Probably sandwich the seat between two plates and "pinch" them together to capture the seat bench. The seat-clamping scheme is the part that is most up-in-the-air (pun intended) aspect at the moment. (I need everyone camping today to measure from the ground to the bottom of the picnic table seat and send/post the measurement.)

About the cheapest swivel jack is ~$30 each (including the wheel) and weighs about 15 pounds. I’ll need two of them. I think I can finagle some sort of bench-seat-clamping thingy out of scrap plywood and bolt it to the side/swivel bracket. I’m thinking I can get out of this for under $100 and give Rube Goldberg a run for his money. Short of motorizing the whole thing (which is strangely appealing), any suggested refinements?

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Old 08-01-2014, 11:17 AM   #2
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no, but interested in what you come up with. I hate those big heavy tables, especially if they are in an inconvenient spot.

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Old 08-01-2014, 11:31 AM   #3
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Trailer: 2003 Casita 16' SD
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Yikes! Here it is already. Mine needs to be lighter, cheaper. This one's over $500 and it's already patented. Bummer. One more search with slightly different terms and up it pops.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:02 PM   #4
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How about offering a few beers to your buff, younger camp neighbor to help move the table for you? Pretty lost cost option and very neighborly campground etiquette...but no patent.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:11 PM   #5
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This story may or may not be helpful, but I like telling stories. A year and a half ago we bought a round, steel tornado shelter to be fastened down in the garage. It's called a New Day shelter. The company owner brought it out in a pickup with a lift unit. The lift brought the shelter nearly upright and he guided it down to the concrete floor. Then he proceeded to move this half-ton steel object about 20 feet into the garage, all by himself.

How did he do it? The man got a crowbar under one edge and lifted it just a bit, then slipped a foot-long, small diameter pipe under the edge. A light push moved that side of the shelter. Then he did the same to the other side, and so on. In five minutes he had walked it about 20 feet.

Perhaps a couple of larger diameter pipes could be used to roll a picnic table over some semi-rough terrain. Not expensive, not very high tech, but also not very bulky to pack away.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:18 PM   #6
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I run a dry campsite or I'd take that beer suggestion. Thick walled PVC might do the trick with tables like the one shown. Those with just legs on the ground might take some extra thought.
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Old 08-01-2014, 12:19 PM   #7
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Gotta say, as the table are very heavy, and the ground is often very soft, I don't think that you will be able to roll much without a lot of effort. Look at the size and width of the tires on the example you posted..

Maybe something simpler like a metal pinch bar that you can wedge under one end at a time and "Walk" it where you want it to be, might be a solution.
Maybe something like this: A Mattock Tool for Moving Heavy Machinery by Hand
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:46 PM   #8
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Ever try to lift a picnic table by the seat board and have it pull off the legs? There's another clinker for you. But I agree, some of the campsite tables are super heavy, and we usually like to put it in our screen room. I like the jack/dolly idea, very clever!
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Old 08-01-2014, 01:56 PM   #9
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Nova Scotia
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Lol! I'm sitting at a provincial park picnic table right now! I just had to take a break from trying to move it 6 feet!

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Old 08-01-2014, 02:18 PM   #10
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Hummm, might be easier to just bring your own folding plastic table and chairs and forgo the whole pick-a-nick table moving thing. Or, as we did when we truck-camped, just put your quick-up 10X10 awning over wherever the table already is!
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Old 08-01-2014, 04:03 PM   #11
Name: RogerDat
Trailer: 77 Scamp 13
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What about something like this?
Rack'em Trailer Dolly Rackem Hitch Accessories RA20

I could see something that had height adjustable support, with a single removable handle and two sets of wheels.

Adjust support to just under seat, press down on handle and it levers the wheels under the weight, lifting that side. Remove handle and position second set on other side but leave the handle in so you can steer.

Might need an arm or pin to "lock" the first set of wheels after the handle is removed so the wheels don't hit a snag and get pulled back out from under the load.

Might even be able to have a place for the hitch ball so it could still be used for moving trailers.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:01 PM   #12
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British Columbia
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If you're gonna carry something, it just makes sense to me that you carry a compact, folding picnic table. I set mine up where I want it and use the site provided table as a kitchen counter. Site table has BBQ, butanes stoves and "kitchen sink" on it.
Portable picnic table usually ends up under the awning, set for dinner.
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:09 PM   #13
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Don't drill holes, try custom storage you design:
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:25 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by hotfishtacos View Post
How about offering a few beers to your buff, younger camp neighbor to help move the table for you? Pretty lost cost option and very neighborly campground etiquette...but no patent.
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