I am planning to build some steps from stone slabs. The slabs weigh a maximum of about 600 pounds. I need a way to move them around over ground like a lawn, so small wheels or a pallet truck are no good. Also, I need to move them into position, so just carrying them is not good enough. It has to drop the stone into the right place.

I am familiar with small cranes used to move machine tools, but those cranes typically have pretty small wheels and are designed to move over asphalt or concrete, not rough ground.

What are options? I think in the old days they had a thing used to move stone that was like a pair of long iron arms that were joined at a fulcrum where there was a wheel. You could manipulate the arms like tongs to pick up the rock. I have not seen these things in any modern context though.


An engine hoist with large wheels. If you can't find one pre-made "offroad engine hoist" will provide many design/modification ideas.

An engine hoist with small wheels and planks or plywood laid on the ground to make a hard surface to run on.

Same options as above but an A-frame hoist.

A 3-point hitch crane on a tractor.

A small excavator (rental, one day should do if you are prepared.)

A hitch-mounted crane on a pickup truck.

  • Agree with plywood, but don't underestimate rollers from ABS... it worked for the Egyptians. (Well, not the ABS part, but you probably get the idea.) – Aloysius Defenestrate May 14 '16 at 22:36

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