An old-timer showed me this device for lifting heavy timbers single-handedly. I have used it to raise 22-ft. long 4-in. by 16-in. laminated beams with surprising ease. The device requires two block and tackles or ratchet come-alongs with locking devices, a boom, various lengths of chain or cable, miscellaneous hardware, and a tree or equally substantial mooring.
Construct a boom as shown in the drawing. It should be long enough to be at roughly 60° to the floor when the beam is lifted to its finished height. Lag-bolt a heavy block (at least a 4×4) to the floor to prevent the bottom of the boom from moving and position the boom over the timber at its center point by adjusting the two comealongs. Drill a bolt hole at the balance point in the beam, attach it to the vertical come-along, and lift away. Control over the arc of the boom and the elevation of the beam is easily adjusted with the two come-alongs, allowing precise horizontal and vertical positioning.
After raising a beam to the desired height, I add a second chain wrapped around the top of the boom and attach it to the tree as a safety measure; it has proved to be unnecessary, but makes me feel more secure while the beam is aligned and pegged into place.
Robert Von Drachek, Missoula, MT