I have often hurt my back, taken a long time , dug too much and ruined fence posts in the process of removing them.
There are two steel star posts in this picture, one was removed with lots of frustration and anger, and it's pretty unusable. Plus it took about 15-20 minutes to remove because it was right in the ground hard up against a cement slab. The straight one came out in a few minutes unharmed.
I recently had to remove a number of them including smaller and larger metal star posts and a galvanised metal gate post and gate.
This instructable shows you a simple method without breaking your back.
If you always wanted a better car jack now is the time to shout out to your better half "Honey, apparently I need to buy a hydraulic car jack, it's going to save a ton of medical bills. Instructables reckon it's absolutely mandatory. And, I can fix the car next weekend with it too." Or you can delete that last sentence if the first sentences are enough.
Actually you could use any car jack but as I had a cheap small hydraulic car jack and it was quicker than the standard screw driven one, I used that.
You will be so happy with this approach you will run out of posts to lift out of the ground.
Step 1: Clear the Area Around the Post and Get Your Tools Ready
You need to ensure clear solid ground around the post. Where I couldn't find solid ground I put a brick underneath.
I used pliers, thick gauge fence wire and a trusty hydraulic jack. Sometimes a few bricks.
Step 2: Twist a Wire Loop Through the Lowest Holes and Position the Jack
Form a loop with the wire and twist tie it.
It's really important to use thick gauge fence wire. I was able to do this and lift many posts out of the ground with this method.
Alternatively you could invest in a fence wire clamp and use that to keep the fence wire from unravelling, but I just used my hands/fingers most of the time.
It seemed that it was the first efforts of lifting the post that saw the most force against the wire so I often would hold the wire twist in place with pliers whilst I jacked the post.
Play around with it. The deeper and bigger the post the more you may need to invest in a better clamp mechanism than simply twist tieing wire.
Please note for safety purposes keep others away and wear glasses in case the wire breaks apart and goes where it shouldn't. I never had this problem ever but sometimes it did snap with all the twisting.
Now position the claw of the lift under the wire loop.
Step 3: Position the Jack and Raise It
You may have to play around with your first one getting the loop long or short enough, or creating clear, stable ground.
After that it's pretty easy, but remember what I said in the last step about safety and holding the wire as you lift with pliers or some more permanent clamp.
Step 4: Lower Lift and Remove Post!
If you have lifted it enough lower it.
Put your foot near it, straighten your back and try to lift it out. If it doesn't come out easily, put some bricks under the jack and lift it higher.
In some of the pictures you can see I needed 4 bricks to successfully get a much deeper gatepost out of the ground. I left the gate on the post as it weighed nothing with the jack's help and it provided an anchor for the fence wire loop.
Congratulations gentle reader (and gentle fence post remover!) you have just saved heaps of dollars in medical bills.
Now go fix the car!