DIY Dumbwaiter Pulleys

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Marker

  • Saw

  • Tape measure

  • 6 plywood boards

  • Hammer

  • Nails

  • Pulley system

  • Nylon rope

  • Counterweights

  • 4 2-by-4 plywood

  • 4 drywall pieces

Pulleys in various colors.

A dumbwaiter is a lift that is installed between the floors in a building. It is used to transport food, laundry or other items from one floor to another. Modern dumbwaiters are run by electric motors and are usually found in hotels, kitchens and restaurants. Dumbwaiters in personal homes are generally not electric and are designed to run with pulleys and ropes in a shaft.

Step 1

Remove any old pipes and wires that are no longer in use from the area where the dumbwaiter will be installed. Make sure there is no debris, insulation or anything else in the area that may interfere with the dumbwaiter.

Step 2

Locate the two floor joists where the dumbwaiter will be installed and use a marker to mark the their location with an X. Saw a hole in the floor between the two joists.

Step 3

Place the tape measure on one of the floor joists and measure across the hole to the other joist to determine the width of the dumbwaiter case. Measure the plywood board and cut out two pieces that are the same measurement as the floor joists to create the floor and ceiling of the dumbwaiter case. Decide how tall you want the case to be and cut the other four plywood boards to the desired height. Nail the four pieces of plywood together to create the case.

Step 4

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to install the pulley onto the dumbwaiter ceiling shaft. Add a pulley to the top of the dumbwaiter box on each side. Insert the rope through the pulley and add the counterweights to the rope.

Step 5

Build the dumbwaiter shaft frame out of the 2-by-4 plywood. Cut the plywood pieces so that they are each just slightly bigger than the dumbwaiter. Make sure the shaft is large enough to allow the dumbwaiter to move easily up and down, yet tight enough to prevent the dumbwaiter from swinging side to side.

Step 6

Line the shaft with the drywall pieces. Secure the drywall with nails. Cut a hole in the drywall for the dumbwaiter door opening.


Delialah Falcon

Delialah Falcon has been writing professionally for eight years. With extensive experience in all aspects of both technical and creative writing, Falcon specializes in content writing, research, proofreading/editing and health/medical journalism. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English from Dowling College and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health.