Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Handy Pry Bar

Bronze plaque by Victor Demanet

The big 5 foot pry bar, sometimes called the 'monster bar', or as we used to call it, 'the Grisley Bar', is one of the most useful boulder-moving tools I know, bar none.
The bars are a much larger straighter form of the common crowbar or pinch bar or as the Brits call it, the Jimmy bar.  Scott and Brian are using two of these amazing bars here to move a huge stone at our workshop that we ran last year in Brockport, N. Y.  

These bars can be used in conjunction with a fulcrum stone and then pushed down on, in order to lift a heavy stone, or alternatively, just jammed under a large stone and pushed up on to lift it. Sometimes  when you're wrestling with one that's buried in the dirt, it's hard to say which way will work best.  A combination of both moves alternating between , pivoting pushing down while pivoting, and then, lifting up with the bar, works well.

The bar is basically a lever. The principle by which huge objects can be moved simply by positioning a lever in the right place is so simple and yet unbelievably effective.    I am reminded of the famous saying by Archimedes  "Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, (somewhere in space, presumably) and I shall move the world." 

Big stones mean the world to me simply because they are so large and take up a lot of space. By working boulders into the wall wherever we can with bars we can make a lot of progress along the wall. 


  1. It should be noted that there are pry bars and there are digging bars. The pry bar is much heavier, with a much thicker shaft and is used as you stated. A digging bar is much lighter and with a more narrow shaft and is used in digging post holes and trenches where a pick cannot reach. I use both for prying but as I get older I rely more on the digging bar as the pry bar is way too heavy for me to lug around. Care must be taken not to bend the digging bar out of shape when prying. A casual glance of your photo above seems to show a pry bar on the left and a digging bar on the right. Both are invaluable tools as you state.