How to make your own triple blocks for less than $45

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Why a triple block? Why not a double? or a single?

Because two triple blocks working together gives you a 7:1 mechanical advantage- 5,000 lb log requires only ~720 lbs of force to lift. And you can use just 5/8″ thick rope to lift 720 lbs. A double block would only reduce the force down to 1,250 lb. But you have to double that- for each end of the log. And a single……ummmmm…..there’s no mechanical advantage to a single. Stop talking about single pulleys. On the other end, a “quadruple” block doesn’t really exist beyond huge construction cranes with wire rope- from what I’ve seen and read, anything more than three pulleys and the friction increases beyond the efficiency gained. So, a triple block it is.

First, I looked online. And found…..not quite nothing, but almost. It’s unbelievable in this age of Amazon and Ebay that you can’t find a triple block with more than 3,000 pound capacity. I suppose not many people are lifting heavy objects by hand. Ok, you can find them, but they are insanely expensive, and you need two to make a set. Not to mention you need four sets to work efficiently. Look at that price:2017-07-03-22-48-53_scrot

I mean, I guess you could climb a 30-foot lifting pole and change the block and tackle out every time you want to lift a log, but you would still need four pulleys- two on each pole- to lift each log. So, it would cost you $1,300, plus rope (about $300).

This calls for a cheaper solution:

Enter Harbor Freight:


Of course, I’d need six of them to make a set, but that’s only $72, not $327. And some grade 8 bolts, which are easy to obtain from Fastenall.

Here’s what I came up with:20170705_204824_zpsm7auqpcv



Some more notes: I needed somewhere to tie the end of the rope- on the antique pulleys, there’s a place called a becket 70d1a3c340f41214567fd48f2725ccd9--block-and-tackle-pulley-light. I didn’t have one, so I took two extra plates from a single pulley, and put a bolt through them.

The results

I just finished lifting the biggest log yet- over 6 feet around at the base, and 50+ feet long- I figure it weighs around 6,000 lbs. The pulley held just fine- in fact, it held better than the #6 triples that I had on the opposite end. The singles (on the box) were originally rated for 3,000 lbs, so I figure the modified triple is worth at least that much, but with that huge log, probably more like 4,000 lbs.

I spent $12 per pulley x 3 pulleys = $36. The two grade 8 bolts were about $4 each. So for ~$45, I got what normally costs over $300.



7 thoughts on “How to make your own triple blocks for less than $45

  1. This is exactly the solution I was looking for! Thank you! Would it be possible to post a few photos of the becket solution? I am having difficulties seeing exactly what you’ve done in the photos and how you are tied off. Thanks again!


    1. No problem- maybe this photo can help? I’m still using the pulleys to install window and door frames: .

      You can see I used 2 of the original hooks as “beckets” in this pulley. I used a grade 8 bolt through the bottom of the setup, and just slid the original hooks onto the bolt as I pushed it through the pulley housing. To use the pulley, I wrap the strap around the object I’m lifting and either connect each end of the strap to 1 hook, or just slip the strap through its own loop and connect the strap to both hooks:

      you can also see where I did a long splice of two pieces of rope in the second photo (yellow rope spliced to blue+white rope). Splicing is covered at the bottom of this blog post:


    1. Thank you!

      Yes, they outperformed my antique #8’s I got off eBay. I estimate the largest log I lifted with them was 6,000 lbs.

      My ridge pole was 10,000 lbs, according to the crane guy. I doubt my pulleys would have held up.

      Still using the pulleys for the roof- decking, sleepers, plywood, and shingles. They are quite handy.


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