How I Killed Two Birds with One Stone and Ruined My Truck All in the Same Day

by Dale on October 1, 2013

So you build 12 beautiful custom mahogany and reclaimed pine tables for a client’s restaurant over 100 miles away. The turnout perfect, all finely crafted, stained, finished, rubbed out, waxed and polished. Now how do you get them to the restaurant?finish tables

Delivery of custom furniture is not something to dismiss lightly. Twelve tables will not fit into the back of your minivan or even a full size pick-up. Rent a trailer, you think? That probably would have been the best solution, but it adds to the cost of the tables. In trying to keep the cost down I decided against the rental option. I wish I would have rented the trailer, or even rented a larger box truck! I have tons of moving blankets to wrap everything in, at least two dozen of them.

But I went with the lesser delivery cost and used my Dodge Ram 3500 Dually with 8’ bed. Along with the tables I had eight 3” x 12” x 16 ft. beams or floor joists of reclaimed pine to deliver to another client near the restaurant. Why not kill two birds with one stone or trip? Sounds like a good idea.bneams

I could put the beams in the back of the truck. They would stick out 8’ but with an “extend a bed” device that fits into the hitch it would support the extra length. Now I have a 4’ x 16’ platform to load the tables on and they all fit – Great!

Sure seemed like a good idea to me. Heck, it’s a one ton truck, it can take it!

The day before the delivery my son and I started loading the truck. First the beams, no problem – all in place. Then the tables, but I decided to stack the tables; 6 on bottom, 6 on top with the table tops touching each other (with a blanket between them, one table upright and the top table upside down).

Then using straps to tighten the whole thing down to the beams. We loaded eight tables, all strapped down in place and quit for the day. I thought I could easily load the other four tables by myself the next day, delivery day.loaded up

I will make a long story even longer now. The next day was pouring down rain in buckets. I have a carport at the shop to load my truck under so it wasn’t a real problem. I got the other four tables in place, strapped down, all tied together with a tarp (plastic) over all the tables. I was ready – and off I go into the wild blue yonder. A note here to remember I have been delivering furniture for years in all kinds of trucks or using delivery companies where I crate the furniture before they arrive and load it for delivery.

So I was pretty confident. After driving about 1 mile I remembered I forgot to place my red flag on the end of the beams sticking out 8’ from the truck so it was back to the shop, quick. When I turned down my driveway one of the tables slipped and almost fell off the truck! This was a major flaw in my plan. The new plan began.

Working alone it went a little slower and used a lot more physical strength. I removed the tarp, unloaded all twelve tables, and repacked the load. This time I loaded the tables 2 side x side and upside down on top of the beams, blanketed and strapped. Thankfully it had quit raining and was a glorious sun shining day so no tarp was needed.

Now, finally I’m off again. As I drove down the driveway the load was tipping a bit, like a teeter totter. Proving too much weight on the back of the extend-a-bed. No way could I go on because the chance of hitting a bump while driving through the hills of southern Indiana would ensure disaster.

I had another strap, 2 inches wide, a long one with tightener. I used it to strap the front of the ‘teeter – totter’ to the frame of my truck around the bed and over the tables. This secured the load and worked great. Everything was tight, no rocking or tipping, all strapped into place.

A strange looking sight heading down the highway, but a good system all rock solid. I liked it!

The 2 inch strap was about 8 feet too long so I just wrapped the extra length around the tables inside the bed of the truck. wreck This was my mistake… About 75 miles into the trip traveling about 60 mph on the highway the strap unwound itself and managed to wrap itself around the dual wheels.

Wrapped between these wheels it pulled on the whole strap holding the front of the load so hard and tightening it instantly that the strap broke two tables and squeezed the bed of my truck like a beer can before the strap broke.

A very loud BANG sounded and I stopped immediately in the grass in the center of the highway, because you know I would be passing when it happened! Wow, was I amazed when I got out and saw my poor truck.

Thankfully I was able to make the delivery of 10 tables and the beams.  The bed of my truck is a total loss – even mangling the gas tank so no fuel will enter into it. I had to rebuild the two ruined tables and I’m looking for another truck bed for my pick-up. Oh how weird is that?

Conclusion: Always RENT a delivery truck to fit the delivery!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Stohler October 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm

My younger brother once decided to haul 16 sheets of 12′ sheet rock with a K-5 Blazer. He got them all loaded (4′ sticking out the back) and hung a red flag on it. Then he decided on his way home to stop off and fill the gas tank. (Ignore those flat rear leaf springs.) He filled the tank, and started for home, but when he put the transmission in drive the now severely overloaded truck immediately did a wheelie and unloaded all the sheet rock right in front of the gas pumps. When the front of the truck came back down the truck bed was now still on the ground, which was his first indication that the leaf springs had been completely inverted in the process. While that happened back in the early ’80s, my family is NOT the kind to ever let him live that one down.


Dale November 22, 2013 at 1:12 am

Well, Im glad Im not the only guy that stuff like this happens too, but not glad of the mishap. Some of us just push the envelope a bit and usually get away with it, then push it a bit more the next time until the disaster hits. I guess its like gambling and losing. Thanks for sharing !!


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