I am planning to install a large wooden work table in my basement. The top is 10 x 4 x 3" which means it will weigh about 500 pounds.

The problem is: how do I get it into the basement? The only access to the basement is down a flight of stairs. It is a straight shot, no turns, but I still need to get it down the stairs without damaging anything, so sliding is not a good idea.

Even with 4 men, each can only lift about 100 pounds, so that is not enough strength, and I don't see how I could get more than 4 men lifting the table. In fact, going down the stairs, it would be difficult to fit more than 2 men, one at either end.

  • why is sliding not a good idea? can the table legs come apart?
    – depperm
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 11:01
  • @depperm I only need to move the top, the legs are separate. The top weighs 500 lbs. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 11:27
  • 1
    Wait, 4 men can't carry 500 pounds together? Oh, you mean 4 boys can't carry 500 pounds.
    – Gunner
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 11:43
  • @Gunner - I think the problem is fitting 4 men carrying the top in the stairwell at the same time.
    – sirjonsnow
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


That is a big piece of wood. There are three obvious approaches:

  1. Get some professionals to do it. A grand piano weighs more than that (and is more awkwardly shaped). Professionals will have the experience and equipment to do it safely, and the indemnity insurance to pay if anything gets damaged.

  2. Slide it gently down the stairs (possibly manufacturing a slideway out of a plank or two, or just cover the steps with blankets). Use ropes looped around the table to restrain it, and possibly a block and tackle to reduce the load until it is manageable. (With the block and tackle, you can probably arrange not to have anyone standing below the table as it goes down - which strikes me as desirable).

  3. Don't try and move the top as a single element. There is no way it can be made of a single lump of solid wood, so buy the elements separately, and assemble them at the bottom of the stairs.

  • 2
    Humans have been sliding heavier things for years, so good answer. Option 2 is well written and what I have done for similar situations.
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 11:37
  • 1
    @SolarMike s/years/millennia/ Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 12:06
  • 1
    Like option #2, have done it like that before but it was too hard to type all of it out before coffee.
    – JACK
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 12:16
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    @MartinBonner I know that quite well, which is why I CALL them rather than trying to BE them.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 13:17
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    Don't consider cutting a butcher block into pieces without first checking for metal rods inside. Some are held together with internal threaded metal rods. Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 17:23

This is a job for a rigger

Same thing the Egyptians did with pyramid blocks. Block and tackle, winches, slides, leverage, etc. except with safety.

For something 500lb, your back is at no risk because handling it with muscle is simply out of the question. The only body part capable of moving that your brain.

You might build a cradle for it, to assure it always stays vertical and you aren't tempted to keep it vertical using muscle power, which would go right until everything goes wrong very very quickly.

  • 1
    "The only body part capable of moving that your brain." Nice!
    – gnicko
    Commented Sep 12, 2019 at 22:39

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