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What Are Forklift Forks?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 17, 2024
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Forklift forks are large steel devices used to hold pallets and racks as they are lifted off of the floor and put into stacks. Made from solid steel, forklift forks are very heavy and are machined to be thick near the back of the fork and taper off to a thin front edge. This allows the forklift operator to slide the forks under very low objects without having to get off of the forklift and physically place the object on the forks. The forklift forks can be slid on the forklift truck by releasing a lock lever and slightly raising the front of the fork while applying pressure to slide the fork to one direction or another. This enables the forks to slide into a variety of pallets that feature differing fork hole dimensions.

The typical forklift forks are much longer than commonly needed to enable the forks to support an object firmly and completely under the bottom. When carrying an object on the forks, the material should be as far toward the rear of the forks as possible. This ensures good balance and support while lifting the forks into the air. The forklift operator must be conscious of the protruding fork length when placing an item in a high rack or shelf so as not to puncture the wall or other objects with the forks as they are driven into the spot.

Some forklift forks are equipped with a hole near the front edge of one fork. This hole in the forklift forks makes it possible to install a ball hitch in the fork. The forklift can then be used to pull a trailer a short distance to aid in its loading or unloading. The hole also makes it possible to place a rope through the hole and aid in securing a round object such as a length of pipe to the forks to prevent the pipe from rolling off of the forks while in transit.

Many forklift forks are removable to allow different attachments to be used on the forklift. When removing the forklift forks, it is important to do so in an out-of-the-way location where they will not need to be moved. This is due to the enormous weight attributed to the forks, as they are often too heavy to be moved by hand without injuring the worker attempting to move them. When reattaching the forklift forks to the forklift, is is imperative the locks be engaged to prevent the forks from falling off while carrying or lifting an object.

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Discussion Comments
By anon308976 — On Dec 14, 2012

All forklifts are not built alike, similar, but not alike. And the same could be said about forklift forks and seats. Upon close examination, you may find that depending on the manufacturer, forklift forks and seats can be as different as the forklift themselves. And when you’re in the market for such replacement parts, you want to make sure that you get the right parts for your forklifts.

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