Tag Archives: winch boxes

Winch Boxes – Episode V

Winch Boxes – Episode V

Hey if George Lucas can have his second Star Wars movie be Episode V, why not me?

Back on task, with winch boxes. Most of you have Googled them overnight. I can hear you nodding your heads.

Thought you could Google anything and get an answer, didn’t you? Me too, but what you are looking for is a well-kept secret.

Every set (either two to lift a pair of trusses, or four to lift two pairs along with all purlins and bracing between) of winch boxes I have ever seen were fabricated by whoever was using them.

The most common version is a welded up steel box with 5-5/8” inside dimensions and no bottom. This open bottom will later allow a “box” to be slid over a 6×6 column top. Attached to this box top (welded or bolted), is a reduced drive hand crank winch designed for a boat trailer.

Most of these crank units seem to come from Harbor Freight – and a caution is to use ones with steel gears, as opposed to nylon gears. I’m told nylon gears just do not have the needed durability.

In most cases, steel cable is used for lifting, although straps could be an alternative. 

Regardless, winches and cables or straps need to be adequately rated for weight being picked up.

Have a column size other than 6×6? If 4×6, add a block of 2×6 to appropriate column side. 

Larger than 6×6, chainsaw a notch into the column top to fit the box.

Another variant of winch boxes (requires use of cables only and twice as long), places a pulley wheel on the column top, and the winch is attached to a flat steel plate affixed to the column outside. This method does afford the ability to do lifting from the ground, instead of having to crank off from ladders.

I’ve successfully lifted two sets of 80 foot span roof trusses, along with all roof purlins and truss bracing, using winch boxes.

Those who have built and used them, rave about time (and small financial investment) spent fabricating truss winch boxes as being well worth it.  And these days, so easy to resell on eBay.

I’ve suggested to several people for them to manufacture lots of these, and rent them out. Even though there is a market – no one has taken me up on it as of yet.

Courtesy of Alex (www.BuiltMammothStrong.com), please enjoy these photos.




Winch Boxes- A Post Frame Miracle

Winch Boxes – a Post Frame Miracle

Back in my M & W Building Supply days we had provided a pole barn kit package to a client in Woodburn, Oregon. One of Jim Betonte’s Farmland Structures post frame building crews was doing erection in our client’s back yard. Our office received a hostile phone call from this client about lunch time. He had come home to get a bite to eat and found his new building’s roof all framed up. 

And on the ground.

And he was less than happy…..okay he was pissed off.

He was furious because he did not want heavy equipment, like a crane, run across his yard to lift his roof up. Luckily we were able to talk him down and assured him when he came home from work his roof would be up in place and there would be no tire tracks.

True to our word, when he came home, his roof was up, there were no tire tracks and he wanted to know how we did it.

Jim’s crew refused to tell him!

Our office wouldn’t either!

We were having way too much fun at our client’s expense. He was pretty sure we had used a helicopter, he even asked his neighbors if they had heard anything unusual.


In much of our country, post frame buildings are constructed with a truss or trusses aligned directly with building’s sidewall columns. Purlins (generally and hopefully) on edge span distances between trusses. 

I will share with you this miracle (in pictures) eventually. But first, a few words about my friend who has provided these photos.

Alex Welstad was working in Florida and Texas, doing disaster recovery following hurricanes Irma and Harvey. He returned to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2017. His Florida building partners had a prior history of erecting pole buildings for years, so it was a natural niche for them. Their first year about 20 buildings were constructed and earlier this year (after another 20 or so buildings) Alex’s building partner decided it was time to move on – leaving Alex as the main man. In my short time of knowing Alex, I have learned to quickly appreciate his thirst for knowledge and willingness to work both hard and smart to have happy clients. You can learn more about Alex and his business here: http://www.builtmammothstrong.com.

Stay tuned to this station for our next exciting installment (and those promised photos).

On the Road with Post Frame Buildings

On The Road

Author’s Note: This is part 2 of a series of blogs written from a 6500+ motorcycle trip from WA to Ohio and back.  See Blog from Oct. 15th for the beginning…and hang on for the ride!

In yesterday’s post, I had mentioned all of the old barns I saw falling down. Not a single one of them had the appearance of being what I would term a modern post frame building.

I did happen to notice three new post frame buildings under construction.

Road TripThe first of these was seriously one of the largest post frame buildings I have ever seen being built. From the highway, it appeared to be well over 200 feet in length, with a center clearspan and large side sheds on each side.

The second was a smaller building, probably about 24 foot by 36 foot. I was impressed by it being very similar to what I would term as a Hansen Pole Buildings “Classic” pole building. By Classic, I mean it had main truss bearing columns every 12 feet, with double trusses aligned with the columns. Considering most of the area I was travelling would consider the “only” method of post frame construction to be columns every eight feet, with truss carriers (headers) spanning between the columns and single trusses placed every four feet – I was impressed by what would have been viewed as “outside of the box” construction.

The third building I saw had 40 foot span trusses and side sheds. The crew was working on the building as I rode by – placing trusses using a large all terrain forklift to raise the prefabricated roof trusses into place. I couldn’t help but think of all the money being spent on the equipment, the amount of extra work to do everything “in the air”, not to mention the safety risks involved.

I recently had a question posed as to where to get “winch boxes”:


By use of this method of lifting trusses into place, the trusses, their bracing, and all of the roof purlins can be lifted into place without the need for heavy equipment. All of the framing is done on the ground, other than the placement of every other bay of roof purlins.

Coming from the land of frequent safety inspections from OSHA (in the case of the State of Washington “WISHA”) – I was appalled to see the construction crew on the last building working 20 feet above the ground, without any type of safety harnesses, or scaffolding. Besides the huge potential for a debilitating (or fatal) fall, the contractor also was running the risk of a significant fine, should the crew be caught by the “safety police”.

See you tomorrow for Day 3 of viewing pole building construction across the U.S. & Canada from WA to Ohio…and back!