Jack-powered device for pulling out poles

This steel-shod jack makes it possible to pull out fence poles without causing them to bend.

Part-time cattle farmer, Andries Smit of Klerksdorp in the North West province of South Africa, decided last year to revamp the camps for his herd of about 130 cattle at Eleazer, his 800 ha leased farm. This required moving some of the fencing.

After a bit of a struggle, and to save on labour, he came up with the plan to pull up the fencing poles using a jack. “Sometimes it is necessary to remove iron poles that have been hammered into the ground to either move them or re-use them,” says Andries.

He welded together a device that he calls a steel shoe, that is connected to a slide and attached to the pole with a chain. As you crank the jack, the steel shoe moves up the slide on the one side and on the other, tightens a chain around a pole. The vertical power pulls the pole straight up out of the ground without any digging necessary.

Andries is not aware of any similar devices. “I know that farmers will, in some instances, use the tractor’s hydraulic lift for this purpose, but the outcome is normally a bent pole that is difficult to re-use.”

One person can operate Andries’s device and no fuel is necessary for it to be used.


The device consists of a foot plate of 320mm x 320mm (PHOTO 1) onto which a T-shaped iron bar slide has been welded vertically. The slide is about 550mm long. The bearings of the “steel shoe”, described later, move over this. A wide slot is cut into the foot plate with an angle grinder so that a metal pole can fit inside.

Photo 1: The device consists of a foot plate

The core element of the device is the part that Andries calls the steel shoe.This steel shoe (PHOTO 2) is placed on the T-slide. The open side of the shoe is designed in such a way as to allow it to fit over a metal pole.

Two metal rollers allow the shoe to move easily up and down the T-slide. DIYers must take the dimensions of their jack into consideration so that it fits easily between the base of the T-slide and the beginning of the slot in the foot plate. The attached DIAGRAM illustrates the measurements of the foot plate and the steel shoe.

Photo 2: This steel shoe is placed on the T-slide.


A regular bottle jack is placed beneath the shoe (PHOTO 3) and as the jack lifts the shoe, the pole is lifted along with it. The pole is tied halter-fashion on the open side of the shoe with a chain. Andries uses a 5mm chain.

“Once the pole has lifted about 30cm, it is usually loose enough to be removed further by hand. If it is still stuck, then I lower the jack down and repeat the lifting action.”

The 12mm steel strips from which the T-slide is made ensure that neither the steel shoe nor the T-slide will bend or break.

Andries says that his implement cost him next to nothing because he used scrap metal. If you need to purchase the metal and welding rods, it would cost roughly R500 to make.


Diagram illustrating the measurements of the foot plate and the steel shoe.

ENQUIRIES: Andries Smit, cell 082 678 0413.


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