One issue found with a stone boat is that it maximizes the friction with the ground. This is normally just accepted but I have found documentation of stone boats with wheels as an attempt to reduce the friction that regular stone boats suffer from. I think the style pictured above is very interesting and I may try to put one together in the future. It would be mostly for fun because I don’t think it is nearly as versatile as a regular stone boat. While it clearly can haul a larger load I don’t think I need the larger capacity. I will let you read some descriptions of them from vintage magazines.
Taken from The Canadian horticulturist, Volume 18 1895
A TWO WHEELED BOAT
Every time you see the old mowing machine beside the road useless and a detriment to the scenery, remember that it may be transformed very easily into a great labor saver. Draw it on to the barn floor some wet day and take it apart by using wrenches. Remove the wheels and have your nearest blacksmith lengthen the main axle enough to accommodate your biggest stone boat between the wheels when they have been returned to their places. Then have him make a couple of clamps to fit over the axle and bolt down on the reves. In attaching the boat see that it does not balance, but has a tendency to ride on its nose. Then when loaded and under motion the entire weight will come upon the wheels. This work should not cost more than 60c. to 75c. and will greatly facilitate the drawing of heavy loads for which a boat is commonly used. A most excellent dray has been made by putting the axle within one foot from the rear end, and suspending the forward end to a stick of oak timber 4×4 inches and swinging this end under the centre of axle No. 2 belonging to still another old mower. These arrangements greatly lessen the draft. This second axle need not be lengthened. It is easy to fasten sideboards to this low down contrivance by bolting sticks to them which run through staples fastened to the sides of the boat. For moving sand, earth, stones, for picking up stones, etc., it has no equal. -Farm and Home
Taken from the American agriculturist, Volume 211862
How to Haul Stones and Manure
The stone boat or, “drag,” so generally used, the most expensive method. The most that can be said in its favor is, that it is so simple in structure that any body can make one after the planks are sawed, and that it is very convenient in loading and unloading the stones. But after the stones are loaded we want a team of elephants to draw them. It is severe on oxen by reason of the heavy strain it brings upon them. The friction upon the ground, unless with snow or ice, is immense. And if the ground is lubricated with frost it is a dangerous vehicle unless the surface is level, as it is very liable to run against the legs of the cattle. We have known of a fine yoke of oxen permanently disabled in this way. Stones should be moved upon wheels if we consult the welfare of teams. A yoke of cattle will draw a ton upon broad tire wheels with about the same ease they will draw one-quarter of that weight on a stone boat -a great saving of muscle.
For moving very large stones of five or six tuns weight, and putting them in place in a wall, there is nothing we have yet seen or heard of, quite equal to Bolle’s Stone digger. But as this is somewhat expensive and not in general use, a very convenient carriage for stones is a platform suspended between the wheel’s of a wagon. The platform may be 10 to 12 feet long, and of the width of a wagon body. It maybe made of strong plank, or joists, bolted or spiked upon cross pieces. This is suspended by short stout chains from the fore and hind axles, down to within a foot of the ground, or less for a level surface. To facilitate turning, the forward end may have but one chain in the middle, which will allow the forward wheels to turn readily to the right or left. The platform may hang mainly upon the hind axle, in which case the rear may be nearly as wide between the wheels, and the forward end run out nearly to a point. The wagon can then turned round in a short space. The two chains on either end of the hind axle will prevent its tipping. The hind end can be tipped down to ground for rolling on a very large stone, which can then be balanced by smaller stones thrown on in front. Such an apparatus is quickly constructed, without the aid of a mechanic, except getting the bolts from a blacksmith. Any strong wagon may be used, and much larger loads be drawn saving not only wear of team, but unfrequently expense for blasting stones could not be moved on a drag or stone boat.
Taken from The Cultivator, Volume 3 1846
DESCRIPTION OF A MOUNTED STONE BOAT
Take a stick 3 by 4 inches, and 4 feet long, on which place a pair of strong wheels, 18 inches in diameter. Take another axle, 4 by six inches, 6 feet long, into which frame a tongue suitable for oxen or horses, as the case may be, then borrow the forward wheels from your lumber wagon, and place them on the long axle, and you have the “movements” finished.
Then take stone boat plank of the usual form and bolt the hind ends fast to the under side of the short axle; pin a piece of scantling across the forward ends, into the center of which drive a strong iron staple and connect it by the swivel to the under side of the long axle. The reason why the forward axletree is longest, is, to give room for the wheels in turning. The above combines in a great measure the advantages of a cart and stone boat, viz., ease of draft and facility of loading.
Highlander Nov 8 1845
Taken from The Cultivator 1862
STONE BOATS ON WHEELS
In many localities, where there are many rocks and stones to be hauled on stone boats which slide on the ground, two, and sometimes three teams are employed to haul what one team would do with ease, were the load placed on wheels. A stone which will weigh ten or twelve hundred pounds, will make a good load for a team, and it is very fatiguing for them to haul even that amount any considerable distance. But, if a stone is on wheels, a team will often haul with ease a load more than twice as heavy as their combined weight .
On one of the shores of Long Island Sound, I saw workmen hauling stone and boulders a distance of about one hundred and fifty rods for building a pier; and I observed that a man with one span of horses, would haul nearly twice as heavy a load on his wheeled stone boat, as another man did with two yoke of oxen on a common stone boat.
To make a good stone boat on wheels, procure two good plank about twelve feet long, and from two and a half to three inches in thickness, and about eighteen inches wide. Now bolt a piece of a timber about eight inches wide, on the under side of an axletree supported by two wheels, and then bolt one end of these two plank on the under side of the timber, letting the bolts pass through plank, timber and axletree. The other end of the plank should be fastened together similar to a common stone boat, by bolting a narrow piece of plank across the ends with carriage bolts. This will be the forward end, and the other end will be beneath the hindmost axletree. A knuckle hinge bolt is fastened to the forward end of the stone boat, rigidly and a part of it is put through the forward axletree and secured with a key on the top.
When loading very heavy boulders, the forward end the boat may be lowered clear on the ground and after the stone has been rolled on, the end is then pried up with a lever and secured to the axle tree.
The forward end of the stone boat should be narrower than at the middle and hind end, in order to give room for the fore wheels in turning round. If the road is not very uneven, the boat may be bolted so low beneath the axle trees as to be within six or eight inches of the ground.
A man of very little mechanical skill could make such an apparatus during some stormy day, by using the wheels of a cart for a part of it, or all the wheels of a lumber wagon, on axletrees with or without skeins on the arms.
Such a stone boat would be far more convenient and easier for a team when hauling stone for ditches, than a stone boat that slides on the ground.
No hounds will be needed on the hindmost nor forward axletree. The tongue can be attached to the forward axletree as they often are to light wagons- with hooks eyes.
S Edwards Todd
Taken from The Country gentleman, Volume 19 1862
STONE BOAT ON WHEELS
Editors of Co. Gent.- In your last vol. p. 894, Mr. S. Edwards Todd describes the manner of rigging a wagon for the purpose of drawing stones, calling it a “stone boat on wheels”. As to the construction of it, he says: take two planks about 12 feet long, each 18 inches wide; then block down from the underside of the hind axletree; then fasten one end of these two planks to the underside of the blocking by bolting through the axletree, blocking and planks. The other ends of the planks are to be fastened together by bolting a narrow piece of plank across the ends on the upper side, as is done in making a common stone boat, which latter end is to be swung under the forward axletree with a bolt having a “swivel” joint. He says: “the tongue can be attached to the forward axle tree, as they often are to light wagons, with hooks and eyes, and if the road is not very uneven, the boat may be bolted so low beneath the axletree, as to be within six or eight inches of the ground.”
I think, in order to make this vehicle strong, and so as to work well, there should be the following additions: three cleats across the under side of these planks, one near each end, the other in the middle- also “deep” cleats on the upper side, along near the edges, to prevent the stones falling off; also one across, a little back of the forward end, to prevent them from sliding forwards, and from being in the way of the axletree in turning. A “reach” will be necessary to make the carriage run steadily, which may be attached to the upper side of the axle trees, or bolstered up so as to be out-of-the-way of the load, and can be laid aside when loading or unloading, otherwise the forward end of the boat or rigging, being swung beneath the forward axletree, and the tongue be it connected with this axletree by joints, in drawing and holding back this axletree would rock forwards and backwards like a “rocking shaft.” I think six or eight inches too near the ground to swing this rigging. Twelve or fifteen inches would be better, for, although the roads may be quite smooth, there may occasionally be a soft place, and, should the forward wheels settle in much, the forward end of the thing would be run “right into the ground.”
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