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Know your forks

Posted on - 18 Jun, 2020, 07:11 AM
Posted by - Raphael Dsa

Also known as tines or blades, these forks are used to lift and carry loads. They are an integral part of the forklift and ensuring you are using the correct ones and that they are in good condition is essential to both the safety of personnel, but also the forklift and the load. The forks on a forklift are used to make direct contact with a load for transport. They are attached to the forklift carriage and are designed to carry a load from the bottom.

The main dimensions are:

  • Carriage plate height (C) = Forks (tines) are mounted on a forklift carriage.
  • Fork drop (D) = The fork drop is measure from the top of the lower hook to the floor
  • Length of fork (L) – measure from the end of the tip to the shank. Length can be given in mm or inches, common lengths are 1220 mm, 1500mm, 1830mm and 2400mm.
  • Width (W) = width of the fork at its widest point
  • Thickness (T) = thickness of the forks is measure on the shank. To measure if the forks have worn then compare the thickness of the blade to the thickness of the shank.

Pin vs Hook Type Forks

Even standard forklift forks can be separated into two categories: Pin type forks and hook type forks.

Pin type forks fit onto the forklift carriage by use of a pin or shaft, which locks the fork onto the carriage of the forklift. Some pin type forks are telescopic, meaning they can be extended to various lengths and locked into place using the pin.

Hook type forks bend over then lock onto the fork’s carriage bar. Both hooks must slip into the end of the carriage bar in order to make a proper fit.

Special Types:

Following is a list of some of the special types of forklift forks, used for specific applications:

  • Pin Type & Bar Type– the forks have a guide and are attached to a shaft. Found on larger lift trucks and construction machines such as some telehandlers. Pin-Types can come with a lower hook.
  • Drum handling forks – these forks have a section cut out of the side of the forks to enable a drum to be lifted
  • Coil handling forks – the inside edge of the forks is “chamfered” to provide a surface for the coil to sit on.
  • Explosion proof – if the forklift is to be used in explosive environments then the forks are clad in stainless steel to prevent sparking. The stainless-steel coating is typically 2mm thick.
  • Forks for food production industry – forklifts that are used in the food industry are typically clad in stainless steel as they are regularly washed down to maintain cleanliness.


There are 3 commonly used standard classes of forks used on forklift truck.

  1. Class 2 suits 1.0 – 2.5 Tons
  2. Class 3 suits 3.0 – 4.0 Tons
  3. Class 4 suits 4.5 – 7.0 Tons