Pull Wooden Fence Posts Set in Concrete WITH NO DIGGING!

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I wanted to post this to maybe help someone save a little time if they ever need to replace a fence, which has wooden posts that are set in concrete, and doesn't want to have to dig them out by hand.

Here's the story.

My very aging neighbor lady down the street asked me if I would replace about a ten foot section of her old cedar fence and update it to the same style her next door neighbor just put in. Of course I said yes.

Now, truth be told, I am lazy, and work hard at it. I wanted to find a way to lift out old fence posts that are embedded in the ground in concrete without having to resort to digging them out of the ground with a shovel, and thereby breaking too much of a sweat in the process. I wanted to be able to reuse the holes for new posts, too, so pulling them out with a truck was out of the question, as that would elongate the holes.

After scouring the Internet and finding ways of pulling posts that would leave a huge hole that would have to be backfilled and re-dug, or hokey "Here, hold my beer" type of ideas using tools I did not have such as a tractor or truck wheel rim, or chains, or explosives, I determined that there was nothing "out there" in bitland simple enough to suit my needs. So, I came up with the following idea. I like it because you can pull the post out with one hand, so you don't need anyone to hold your beer for you, and then after you are finished pulling posts, you can dismantle the device and use the parts as new posts when you rebuild the new fence, and utilizing the same holes. No digging! No nails. No screws. Can I get an AMEN?

Step 1: Gather Some Simple Materials

For my / your post puller, you will need

  • 2 4" x 4" x 10' treated lumber posts
  • 2 4" x 4" x 1' treated lumber pieces
  • Twenty feet or so of spare paracord, twine, rope, wire, whatever
  • 1 Two foot iron spike or rebar (found in home improvement centers. I used a 3/4" diameter spike)
  • A drill
  • a 3/4" bit (or what suits the diameter of your spike)
  • A concrete cinder block or scrap lumber, or whatever you can find for a fulcrum.

Step 2: Build Your One Handed Post Puller

What you want to do is to lash two of the long 4x4's together, sandwiching the two small pieces together as shown. tie as tight as you can, no huge deal. During use, the force is not being applied to the ligatures (paracord). The cord is just there to hold the smaller pieces of lumber between the longer ones, so they act as spacer blocks.

Then you want to drill a hole large enough for your spike (in my case, 3/4") through the end of one of the long 4x4's. Then do the same to the other side. Measure if you need to, I did not as I am pretty proficient by eye/hand. You want the holes to line up so you can push the spike through as shown with little to no resistance.

You are done with the puller! Tough work, huh? Or eh? (In case you are a Northern brother or sister).

Step 3: Attach Puller to Old Post

Now you need to drill a hole in the existing post you want to pull. How high up depends on your fulcrum material. In my case, that was about 15 inches from the ground.

Slide the puller minus the spike up the old post, lining up the holes, and push the spike through the three 4 x 4's, as shown.

Now you will want to place your fulcrum.

Step 4: Add Your Fulcrum

Place your fulcrum, in my case an old cinder block and stepping stone, as close to the post as possible, WITHOUT covering any of the concrete that the post is set into. Just take the fulcrum to the edge of the concrete, as shown.

Step 5: Pull Yer Post!

Saunter on over to the far end of your post puller, and using one hand to hold your beverage of choice, use the other hand to push down the lever handle. See how easy that was?

Step 6: Tough to Reach Posts

Tough to reach posts are no match for your new post puller, either. You can push the spike through the hole, and use the puller from the side, as shown. Worked great! Lifted it out straight and no damage to the other fence that I have to match when I rebuild her fence.

Step 7: Thanks...

Thanks to this wonderful community. I have received much help from Instructables in my life, and hope that this helps someone else.

Think hard, so you can work less!

P.S. --If you like this, it would be nice if you could vote for me in the First Time Authors' Contest. Thanks!

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147 Discussions

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lwaltereit

Question 7 months ago on Step 7

Anyone have an easy idea for removing the stump of a broken off wooden fence post (not sunk in concrete)?

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mls70lwaltereit

Answer 4 months ago

I would use the same idea as the post in the concrete the same basic way you might half to cut the stump up in pieces or more you also might have a tap root to pull on if you can dig all the way around the stumpl first and make sure the stump is loose I used a 40 pound rebar to jam under the stumpl several different places and then stand on the end of it and jump up and down on the bar to loosen the stump you'll get it out do you have a wedge for spliting the stump into pieces .

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dunebachiear

1 year ago

This is fantastic! I cannot wait to use your method when replacing my backyard fence. Thanks!

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mikebarbaro

2 years ago

You should always set your fence posts in concrete! We have also coated ours in tar prior to installation to give it an extra sense of stability. We have examples on our website as well at http://brkcustomconcrete.com

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clazman

2 years ago

The age old lever in use. I was going to utilize this outstanding way to leverage man's strength to remove some post anchors to only "move the locations.

However, I am going to reuse the anchors in my case for my father-in-law did a very wise thing and sunk a 3 inch steel angle in the concrete anchor. To replace a post simply unbolting it from the angle iron does the trick. Trust me, posts will need to be replaced, although much less, for the post experiences only above ground conditions.

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Notayotclazman

Reply 2 years ago

Smear roofing tar around the posts below-ground before setting them in concrete keeps them from rotting as quickly. (Use it in place of the old creosote that I think is now unavailable due to arsenic.)

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blue LED

2 years ago

Great instructable and Idea. Though simple, it's elegant.

I see that all manner of "improvements" and favored alternate methods have been suggested. But to my way of thinking, simple is the way to go and its cheaper (more $$ for beer) too.

Beats the heck out of my idea of renting a crane and....... never mind ;0)

15-ton-cap-crane-60ft-reach-detroit-diesel .jpg
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vivienevolves

2 years ago

Great and simple solution! Now I'm modifying it in my head to pull wood window wells out of the ground. I'm thinking of two of these, parallel to the house outward from either side, then popping both up at once. Think it might work?

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NorthWindvivienevolves

Reply 2 years ago

Yes, I think it would work...you might need two people though. Or just do a little on lever A then a little with lever B, and so on. Or just put one perpendicular to the wall, and pull from the center. Or, even perpendicular to the wall, and pull from the center with a chain connected to both sides of the well. Let me know what you come up with, and photos are worth a thousand words. Best of success to you!

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jasonjacoby3

2 years ago

Nice work. I'll be doing a version of this shortly. I will have to modify, as my posts are metal.

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bluidmidget

2 years ago

It always amazes me what great ideas people come up with to solve problems. Nice work! My husband used a different method (which worked great for me after he passed away), if you happen to have a hydraulic jack and some heavy chain and a couple of nuts and bolts. Wrap one end of the chain around the post, close to the ground, and the other end around the jack. Secure the chain with a nut and bolt at each end. Raise the jack. You'll probably have to reposition the chain around the post as you're raising the jack. I had seven posts to remove from an old garden. Saved me a lot of back-breaking work.

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cbjack

2 years ago

Love you Archimedes!

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LouiseB21

2 years ago

I love it! I am, myself, an "aging" lady who needs to pull posts! I can't wait to try this. Thank you for sharing.

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NorthWindLouiseB21

Reply 2 years ago

Super! Let us know how it works out for you, OK?

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NorthWindmuadibe

Reply 2 years ago

You are most welcome. Love your name, BTW.

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Wingloader

2 years ago

Yoe are a genius. Spare/junk lumber, steel rod, drill...free post puller