How can I safely move complete 4 ft x 8 ft sheets of plywood alone?



Plywood lounger, source unknown

I saw this photo of a lounger made out of plywood, and I am pretty certain it would be easy to execute with a jigsaw, sandpaper and patience, but one thing I've never tried is to bring an entire sheet of 4 ft x 8 ft plywood home. I usually buy smaller project boards.

Assuming that I don't have any other warm bodies to help move a whole sheet of plywood, what is the best way to lug a full sheet into a workshop, assuming there is enough clearance to get a full sheet in the door in the first place?

Peter Grace

Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 2 485

10wingardium leviosa – dfife – 2015-04-23T17:41:51.230

I would make sure you get the right kind. That chair is going to put a lot of pressure on some pretty skinny plywood that in my opinion would break if it were just the standard construction panel type. It is far more fragile and weaker than a board of solid wood of the same dimensions. I think you might want finer grade stuff that's more highly processed with more glue in it. But maybe you already have instructions and know exactly what you are doing. – Jonathon – 2015-04-23T20:38:08.100

I would love any input you'd like to provide on the type of plywood I should choose. I was intending to try this build out, I was thinking I'd get good birch plywood. – Peter Grace – 2015-04-23T21:11:50.670

1I can tell you not to strap multiple sheets of plywood to the roof of your car and try to bring it home that way -- a friend tried that with his car, and it worked great, he strapped everything down securely and they plywood stayed solidly in place, even at highway speeds. Until he hit the first bump in the road -- then the roof of the car dropped a couple inches... and continued to do so after every bump. His insurance company ended up totaling the car. – Johnny – 2015-04-24T00:29:04.767

Luckily I've got a full-size pickup truck. :) – Peter Grace – 2015-04-24T01:39:04.470

2Can't you just get the supplier to deliver to your home? – David Richerby – 2015-04-24T11:01:50.640

1Some good methods below, but nearly all will lead to disaster (or swearing) if the wind is blowing on the day you move the wood! I speak from experience here. – Magnus Smith – 2015-04-24T14:39:17.167

I will say, after seeing that image, I think you will want to create that shape by 'creating' that plywood yourself, still with alternating directions of layup, but with a focus on getting the majority grain structure bias to match the expected loads. Hint: it looks like that canopy is more than 4' off the ground. (Mock up with cardboard, try it!) If it were me, I'd be buying veneers for the layup (and they are not cheap.) Maple for the outside, bamboo for the inner. Do you have a high quality bandsaw? You could make your own veneers and that would save $$. – zipzit – 2015-04-25T17:04:50.193

1I see that image and want to see if it can roll down a hill. Might want to put a 5 point harness in first though. – Daniel B. – 2015-04-26T01:19:12.957

Plot twist: the sides of the pictured chair were not made from plywood, but from the trunk of a 200-year-old tree. – Dan Henderson – 2015-11-30T19:27:32.943

I know that this is a very old thread, but just in case there is a chance of this being read by the original poster, I was wondering if there are plans available for this terrific lounger? – None – 2016-04-06T21:56:06.017



I use a Stanley Panel Carry (Model 93-300). It is about $7.00 on Amazon or at Home Depot.

For cutting panels, the best way is to get a sheet of foam insulation, and lay it on the ground and put the panel on top of it. Cut through the panel into the foam.

enter image description here


Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 6 092

2If you have a couple of pieces of scrap wood, I made one of these out of a garden/sign stake and a piece of 2x2 screwed into it. For extra credit you could put a groove in the 2x2, but I didn't and it works reasonably well (for much less than $7, if you're on a budget or loathe to spend money. – Wayne Werner – 2015-04-24T13:01:35.870

Another option if you have two people is to use straps or rope with loops in the end. Place the edge of the plywood over the rope/strap on each end. and lift so it sits in the two saddles. This works great for moving mattresses too. – Daniel B. – 2015-04-26T01:18:13.120


There are commercial handles that are supposed to make carrying plywood easier, but they're not inexpensive.

The simplest way I've carried sheet goods is with a loop of rope caught on the corners.


enter image description here


TX Turner

Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 3 927

5That person is either nearly 8 feet tall, or that board is only 3 feet wide. I suspect most people will have difficulty carrying a 4' x 8' board this way, particularly if they have to maneuver them up or down anything more than gentle slopes. – Adam Davis – 2015-04-23T18:17:40.643

1It's not really that bad- lowering the center of gravity of the sheet makes it a bit more manageable. I wouldn't do this with a sheet of concreteboard, but 3/4" ply? Heavy but not unwieldy. – TX Turner – 2015-04-23T19:07:42.027

1Also works with ratchet tie downs! you can then use it to tie down for driving and to clamp for gluing. – hildred – 2015-04-26T00:22:31.383

I used said method 30 years ago. Where the man in the illustration is holding the rope I put on my shoulder. That would give me approximately 150 cm to the ground and then 50 cm to hold the top. I could also move the double weight each time. Use bands instead of rope to spare the boards. Use something between the band and the shoulder to spare the shoulder. Big sheets catch wind. – LosManos – 2015-06-26T10:38:22.923


There are panel carriers which range from inexpensive at less than $10 to rather pricey at around $50. You can also use the rope loop method as suggested by TX Turner.

Personally, I try to avoid lifting 4'x8' sheets thicker than 1/2" by myself. Instead I slide or drag them onto the cart at the store, then slide or drag them onto the car's luggage rack (or into the pickup truck bed or trailer).

Once I'm home, I again slide them off the car/truck/trailer and onto a furniture dolly or 3-wheeled mover's dolly to move them around easily.

furniture dolly


3-wheeled mover's dolly



Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 15 938


Assuming of course that you have no problem with the weight, I just stand the board on the long edge, go to the middle of the board tip it maybe on my foot or some other thing to get my hand under it then with the other hand balance it, pick it up, and carry it. A lot like this

enter image description hereenter image description here

If you have strange passages you need to maneuver around you might have to get into the front and drag it, though getting a little roller skate or something on the back end might help save the carpet.

I would recommend wearing gloves, since that stuff tends to give slivers. The 1" boards can get a little heavy.


Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 12 431

3"The 1" boards can get a little heavy." ha! – Adam Davis – 2015-04-23T18:12:48.723

1@AdamDavis What? don't you believe me? ;) – bowlturner – 2015-04-23T18:16:17.843

1The worst I ever had it was moving a pile of 5/4" particle board sheets about 40 feet into a shed. I think I was able to carry maybe 3 before I resorted to dragging the rest. Now that I think about it, the weight itself wasn't the problem, but the fact that even with gloves the bottom hand hurt from the grooves (dance floor, tongue and groove). They make wonderful workshop table tops though, so it was worth it. – Adam Davis – 2015-04-23T18:22:10.660

1I did a short stint in residential construction. Once the delivery truck dumped the lumber, this was the only way they moved around the job site. I got dirty looks from everyone else until I was able to carry at least 2 at a time using the over-the-shoulder method in the picture on the right. – FreeMan – 2015-04-23T19:37:43.750


For moving plywood on the ground, I stand the sheet up on the short end; put my back against it; grip the edges (backhand), somewhere below the centerline; and lean forward. Very easy.

For carrying up a ladder, I set it long side down, put a C-clamp (tightly!) on the upper edge near the center, and lift it behind me while I climb. (This can get awkward at the top, depending; but, at least I get there.)


Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 233

Finally, a legitimate use for my C-clamps! – rob – 2015-06-10T01:06:04.573


While it's probably more than you're willing to spend, Gorilla Grip plywood handlers have a pretty good ad.

EDIT - My apologies to rob. I had not followed his "rather pricey" link, which is the same as mine.


Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 364

1That commercial was an eye-roller for sure. The product looks really interesting! – Peter Grace – 2015-04-24T01:42:09.547


I'm liking it. This commercial is a bit more... informative.

– Robert Harvey – 2015-04-24T05:42:49.253

OK, yeah, that one is much more informative. I think I might get one of these! – Peter Grace – 2015-04-25T03:47:12.637


Usually I just Wrestle it, but in offices and other finished areas I use a door cart. Here is how to make a door cart:

  • start with a four wheel furniture dolly.
  • cut a two by four about the length of the long side or slightly longer.
  • wrap it in carpet and attach to the furniture dolly. It should be on top and all the way to one side.
  • cut three more two by fours to the same length and wrap two in carpet.
  • place (but do not yet attach) the third two by four opposite the one you already attached on the dolly.
  • cut two two by fours about three foot long.
  • attach the two three foot and two carpet covered two by fours to form a rectangle (just like the top of the furniture dolly but about three foot wide)
  • cut a taper on the end of a two by four this two by four will form the back of the dolly, so to determine the angle of the cut you want something that will form the long lage of a triangle that has the board about three foot long as the hypotenuse and a short leg less than half the length of the factory carpeted sides of the furniture dolly.
  • after checking fit duplicate above board.
  • attach two boards from the last two steps to the board sitting on the dolly pointed straight up and with the tapers coplanar
  • attach the rectangle to the tapered end of the uprights and then attach the whole thing to the dolly.

(also works great for folding tables)


Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 270

2Do you have any pictures you could add? – rob – 2015-04-26T00:54:18.707

I don't have a camera, But I'll try to draw it. If that turns out ok I'll add it. The four wheel dolly you referenced in your answer is typical of what we build these on. – hildred – 2015-04-26T01:00:03.617


This seems like it might be a pretty credible solution… enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

$34-40.00 on Amazon - unless of course your dealing with stairs which is pretty probable.

Honestly though, at some point it is also pretty likely (and unfortunate) that at some point you will be wrestling with beast, e.g. getting it out of the truck, on to the cart, etc…

So your best bet might just be calling on an extra pair or hands, i.e. friend, brother-in-law or neighbor.

Bottom line is, safety first, work smart, not hard, etc. ;)

John Waller

Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 29

2Welcome to Woodworking.SE! This site is different from traditional forums. One way in which it is different is that we want the best answers to do more than borrow heavily from the existing answers and add a humorous twist. If you borrow from another answer, you should add some detail which has not yet been discussed. – rob – 2015-04-25T20:04:19.913

2You do touch on a couple solutions which others did not include in their answers, but it would be more helpful to discuss the practical implications of those solutions in more detail, and how well they've worked for you. For instance, the craigslist solution may not be practical in many cases, and there may even be other concerns worth considering before posting an ad just to get someone to help you move a couple sheets of plywood. Lastly, while I can appreciate the humor of your funeral joke, I don't think it adds any value to your answer and could be considered inappropriate for the site. – rob – 2015-04-25T20:04:25.073


I have always used a door carry, which is not a device but a grip. This grip is one that is good to know when help or other devices are not available to you.

The grip is one were the arm that is going to used to carry the wood is bent like it is in a cast. You cradle the piece of plywood on your forearm, with the top leaning into your shoulder. You have much more control then you have when your carrying arm is straight. You are able to pretty much stand straight up and down. One does not need to bring a arm in over their head to keep the plywood balanced. I believe this is the safest and most comfortable way to carry a piece of plywood (or door).


Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 333

2Do you know of some pictures you can use to illustrate the grip? – rob – 2015-04-26T01:01:47.237


If you have a tarp (or you could get one, they come in handy a lot) you can simply lay the tarp down, set the plywood on its face on the tarp (you could probably even do more than one at a time this way). Obviously, the tarp should be bigger than 4x8 for this to work right. Then get a rope, stick it through two of the back circular openings, then go in front of the tarp and you can stick the rope through one of the center front openings. Or you could just grab the front of the tarp with one hand and even hold the rope with the same hand, and then just walk to where you need to put it. This will be much easier to do then carrying the plywood, with it just sliding along the concrete/grass/etc.

enter image description here


Posted 2015-04-23T16:50:42.877

Reputation: 219

To clarify, are you suggesting laying the plywood flat on its face, or on edge? – rob – 2015-04-25T20:08:09.183

I would not recommend laying the plywood on its edge, because if you drag it over an abrasive surface such as concrete that way, you may end up burning or tearing a hole in your tarp. – rob – 2015-06-10T00:26:34.517