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Illustration by Harry Bates
Illustration by Harry Bates

A skid-steer loader—the generic name for the small, multipurpose vehicles like Bobcats that landscapers use—is the fastest, easiest way to move a back-breaking rock from point A to point B. But if the terrain or your budget preclude mechanized methods, there are some simpler, albeit slower, ways to get stones rolling.

1. Pry it. With a scrap piece of 6x6 or a small, flat-sided rock as a fulcrum, a 4-foot pry bar can roll or push a big stone little by little over level terrain—as long as your arms and patience hold out.

2. Roll it. Lay a plank across several short lengths of iron pipe placed parallel to each other on the ground. A rock loaded onto the plank will slide forward as smoothly as if it were on a conveyor, as long as you move the rear pipe to the front as the plank advances.

3. Pull it. By exerting up to 4,000 pounds of pulling force, a ratcheting lever hoist, or "come along," can persuade many previously stuck-in-the-mud stones to, well, come along. Harness its cable end to the stone with 4-inch nylon straps, which grip the irregular surface better than chain or rope. Attach the other end to an immovable object, such as a tree or a trailer hitch on a car or truck. Then start cranking.

TOH Tip: To reduce the friction between stones and the ground, load them on a sheet of plywood, then pull or pry this makeshift "skid."

Where to Find It

Come-along and nylon straps:


Morgantown, PA