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I bought a Port A Mate a few days ago and tried to use it today for the first time today. I bought 7 sheets of 5X5 Russian ply and I could get a sheet off my truck okay but that is about all. I did get one sheet inside and put where I wanted it to go but after that my wife helped me to unload the rest. My wife got on one side and I got on the other and we picked it up and put it where it needed to go. One problem I had was reaching the lever to lower the panel then I had a big problem getting it off the Port A Mate. I am 75 and I can't handle those panels any more. I would give this tool a rating of 2 stars out of 5. I hate spending money on something that won't work for me.


Portamate Portamate PM-1800 Panel Carrier
 

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ouch...
plan ''B''???

.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys but this doesn't help me at all. I am not ready to break it down yet. It may be a month or so before I am ready. I had to buy some ash, red oak, and alder so I thought I would get the ply while I was there.
 

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Thanks guys but this doesn't help me at all. I am not ready to break it down yet. It may be a month or so before I am ready. I had to buy some ash, red oak, and alder so I thought I would get the ply while I was there.
Good thinking Don,by the time you're ready to break it down the price might have gone up.
 

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Theo
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I'm thinking slide it out of the truck bed, all sheets, onto that stand thingie. Then tip one sheet at a time where you're going to store it. May be necessary to have it on wheels to you can move it to where you will slide it off and store it. OR, hire a couple of teenagers to move it all for you, $5 each would probably work, but even at $10 each I think it would be more than worth it. And I would try to get a refund on that mover thingie, which would pay for at least 5 hires to move plywood in the future.

I get my sheets cut to the width I want at Lowes, usually about 9.5" X 48". That makes it quite easy to load, and to move into the shop for storage. Besides being a year older than you, my back has been bad for many years. I often don't have the last cut made in a sheet of plywood, which gives me a piece about 20" wide for whatever. I would say that 99.9% of my projects can be done with 9.5" wide pieces with a little wiggle room - I plan them that way, and that has been working out quite well for me for years.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm thinking slide it out of the truck bed, all sheets, onto that stand thingie. Then tip one sheet at a time where you're going to store it. May be necessary to have it on wheels to you can move it to where you will slide it off and store it. OR, hire a couple of teenagers to move it all for you, $5 each would probably work, but even at $10 each I think it would be more than worth it. And I would try to get a refund on that mover thingie, which would pay for at least 5 hires to move plywood in the future.

I get my sheets cut to the width I want at Lowes, usually about 9.5" X 48". That makes it quite easy to load, and to move into the shop for storage. Besides being a year older than you, my back has been bad for many years. I often don't have the last cut made in a sheet of plywood, which gives me a piece about 20" wide for whatever. I would say that 99.9% of my projects can be done with 9.5" wide pieces with a little wiggle room - I plan them that way, and that has been working out quite well for me for years.
You bring up some good solutions Theo. I hate having to get help to do something.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
considering its useless to you, I am surprised you gave it 2 stars.
Send it back as "not fit for purpose"
Bob I thought about that but some of it is my not being able to do things.
 

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So far my Gorilla Gripper and shop made 2 wheeled dolly for picking up and moving full sheets has been working well for me. Even the 5 X 5 sheets move easily on edge with them.

I made the dolly using 3/4 birch ply using the wheels and axle stubs from the front of a junk rotary mower. I also saved the larger rear wheels and axle stubs and I'm considering making another dolly from them because the route into and out of my shop is not smooth or level, and I think the larger wheels might work better for me.

In use, I pick up the sheet, standing it on edge if it isn't already, and then set the bottom edge in the dolly, then let the dolly handle the weight while I maneuver the sheet to where I need it. The dolly can be placed under the middle of the sheet and roughly balanced, or near the trailing end, while I lift and carry the leading end of the sheet using the Gorilla Gripper to hold the leading end up while I move it around. This works almost as good as having a helper on the other end when moving the 4 X 8' sheets.

I'm also 75 and needing to find ways of handling large and heavy things that I can no longer do alone. My DeWalt 735 planer is on a folding miter saw/planer stand, so I can move it around like a hand truck and then lift the stand and planer into operating position without help. It also stores easily on end with the planer still attached, consuming only about a 3 sq ft of floor space when stored in my shop. It's always used in the parking area outside the shop, since my shop space is limited. I have the discontinued hose and fabric drum cover, plus a 55 gal plastic barrel that I use to collect the chips ( to keep them out of the neighbors pool) It works great, if the fabric cover stays on the barrel.

The one thing that I failed to add when building the small wheeled dolly is handle holes to make it easy to pick it up and carry it when moving it to the location of the sheet stock. I'll be adding handle holes in the tall sides of the large wheeled version when I build it, maybe later today. Adding them to the small wheeled dolly will be difficult, because I glued and narrow crown stapled it together. If I cut them now it will be difficult to round the inside edges of the holes for comfortable carrying. I could, and might, just add small hardware handles to both sides above the wheels instead.

I guess pictures are needed. I'll try to take some today.

The first (and last) time that I had a sheet cut to size for me they splintered the cut edges so badly that I lost 2" of material from both sides of each cut. They also cut it wrong, making it useless for the intended purpose. No thanks, I'll do my own cutting and I'll manage the full sheets until I cut them, somehow. I know of one woodworker who has a battery operated track saw, who breaks down his sheet stock in their parking lot. It might be worth getting one for this.

Charley
 

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Don your age is just a number. Some people half your age can't move large bulky items such as a 5 x 5 or 4 x 8 sheet of ply. I am only 59 but have a bad shoulder so I avoid lifting full sheets as much as I can. I have a furniture dolly that I lower the sheet onto and my floor is smooth enough to go where I need to. My sheet goods storage is the first thing in the shop right next to the garage door, that makes it easier to handle. I have seen plans for a table saw attachment that you bring the sheet to it then a lever helps to flip it up and it locks in place. I am thinking of doing this this winter.
 

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Theo
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You bring up some good solutions Theo. I hate having to get help to do something.
Time tested. I don't like having to get help either, and also I just don't want people in my shop.
 

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The first (and last) time that I had a sheet cut to size for me they splintered the cut edges so badly that I lost 2" of material from both sides of each cut. They also cut it wrong, making it useless for the intended purpose. No thanks, I'll do my own cutting and I'll manage the full sheets until I cut them, somehow. I know of one woodworker who has a battery operated track saw, who breaks down his sheet stock in their parking lot. It might be worth getting one for this.
Charley
My back won't let me handle even a half sheet comfortably anymore. First thing I do when I get plywood cut is, avoid Home Depot, and go to Lowes. At least at Lowes whoever is on the saw has done it before. Nothing like standing there for 10 minutes or more, waiting for someone to do some cutting for you, and they have them tell you they have never done this before, and then ask how to do it. And I stand right there and check, just in case - no issues with Lowes. If I could load full sheets, I would take them home and cut them to whatever size, off the end of my truck, but I would use a corded drill. Simple enough to make a track guide for that. So, I'll just stick with Lowes cutting my plywood, for now.
 

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Don your age is just a number. Some people half your age can't move large bulky items such as a 5 x 5 or 4 x 8 sheet of ply. I am only 59 but have a bad shoulder so I avoid lifting full sheets as much as I can. I have a furniture dolly that I lower the sheet onto and my floor is smooth enough to go where I need to. My sheet goods storage is the first thing in the shop right next to the garage door, that makes it easier to handle. I have seen plans for a table saw attachment that you bring the sheet to it then a lever helps to flip it up and it locks in place. I am thinking of doing this this winter.
I purchased this "Leg Up Table Saw Panel-Lifter" to help me with getting the plywood on the table saw. It really helped give me that extra hand needed.

https://www.amazon.com/Leg-Up-Table-Saw-Panel-Lifter/dp/B001UP2UX4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509102494&sr=8-1&keywords=leg+up+table+saw+panel-lifter
Jet_Table_Saw_2017_k.jpg
here is a short youtube video of it in action
 

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Discussion Starter #15

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Things like that leg up thingy, I would just make if I needed one. If I had the space in my shop I'd make a panel saw.
 

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Well, that helps you get a full sheet up onto the table saw. Actually, they have a shop made version of it where I work. Their's is a hing and piece of angle iron with a hook shape on the bottom end. It works, but it's on a 14" Delta 7 hp saw with a whole sheet of plywood for an out feed table and another turned sideways on the right side of the saw. There's also about 10' of floor space around all this in every direction. My whole shop is about the size of their saw and attached tables.

I finished building my other larger wheeled dolly on Thursday, but then went to the Klingspore Woodworking Show in Hickory, NC yesterday. I took some pictures of both of my shop made dollies today, but then I left the camera in the shop. I'll try to remember the camera tomorrow and post the pictures of both sizes. I even tested both with full sheets of Baltic Birch and 4 X 8 birch cabinet ply, with a few pictures. Sorry, no video. I don't own a video camera, but may soon. I'm not sure which I like the best. The large wheeled version moves over rough ground easily, I also cut handle holes in the top, making it easier to pick up and carry.Both have advantages and disadvantages, enough that I might build a third version and scrap these two, but each let me move full sheets much easier than I have been experiencing recently and either is a definite improvement.

Charley
 

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This is my 6th attempt at posting these pictures this morning. My internet is going up and down, causing me to loose everything in this post before I can save it. Every time that I choose "Manage Attachments" and then try to "add a picture" my computer crashes with the "Choose files" screen locked up. I can't get past this and I've run out of time to mess with it. I will try again tonight.

Charley
 

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I'm thinking slide it out of the truck bed, all sheets, onto that stand thingie. Then tip one sheet at a time where you're going to store it. May be necessary to have it on wheels to you can move it to where you will slide it off and store it. OR, hire a couple of teenagers to move it all for you, $5 each would probably work, but even at $10 each I think it would be more than worth it. And I would try to get a refund on that mover thingie, which would pay for at least 5 hires to move plywood in the future.

I get my sheets cut to the width I want at Lowes, usually about 9.5" X 48". That makes it quite easy to load, and to move into the shop for storage. Besides being a year older than you, my back has been bad for many years. I often don't have the last cut made in a sheet of plywood, which gives me a piece about 20" wide for whatever. I would say that 99.9% of my projects can be done with 9.5" wide pieces with a little wiggle room - I plan them that way, and that has been working out quite well for me for years.
I did the same thing at Lowes. Bought a sheet of cabinet grade Oak 3/4" ply and had them cut it in half. Sure glad I did because it delaminated right down the center of the ply. Last sheet they had and last sheet I ever bought from Lowes. I am 79 and have the same problem with lifting. I am in a quandary as to where to buy ply in the UP of Michigan. I use to buy locally in Iron Mountain, MI but the owner complained with the saw dust on the floor when I brought my own saw to cut up the ply in 3 pieces to fit in my SUV. :frown:
 
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