How To Build A Dumbwaiter

If you own a multiple story home you may want to learn how to build a dumbwaiter. Dumbwaiters are used to carry items from one floor to another and can make moving heavy items between the floors much easier.

To build a dumbwaiter, you will need:

  • Saw

  • Tape Measure

  • Plywood

  • Pulleys

  • Nylon rope or sash cord

  • Weights

  • Screws

  • Framing Lumber (generally 2×4's)

  • Wood Glue

  • Eye hooks

  • Drywall

  1. Decide where to build the dumbwaiter. In older homes dumbwaiters are in or near the kitchen. Dumbwaiters are used for a variety of reasons, so your reason for building the dumbwaiter should dictate where it is built. Once you have decided on a spot, make sure the spot is free and clear of any pipes and wires or anything else that may block the path of the dumbwaiter.

  2. Cut a hole in the ceiling or floor. Once you have verified that there is nothing in the way locate the floor joists. Cut a hole in the floor between the joists.

  3. Measure the space between the floor joists. To know the size you need to build the dumbwaiter, you will need to measure the space between the floor joists. You can make the dumbwaiter larger but that will entail much more construction.

  4. Build your dumbwaiter case. Once you have determined the width of your dumbwaiter, decide the height you want. Measure and cut your boards. Screw or nail them together.

  5. Attach pulley system. Install a large pulley on the ceiling of your dumbwaiter shaft and a pulley to each side of the top of your dumbwaiter box. Thread nylon rope through pulley system and attach counter weights.

  6. Build dumbwaiter shaft. Using the 2×4's build the frame for the dumbwaiter shaft, keeping it just a touch larger than the dumbwaiter. There should be enough room for the dumbwaiter to glide freely up and down the shaft but not too much room that it could swing back and forth. Once the frame is in place cover with with drywall. Cut out the door for the dumbwaiter.

  7. Test your new dumbwaiter. Test out your new dumbwaiter to ensure that everything works properly.

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