Playground Set -- How to Remove Frozen, Sticky Dowels in Winter

Hi, All!
Here's our problem: We have one of those wooden playground sets with the dowel that holds up the vinyl (?) canopy. Well, we were supposed to take the canopy down before winter, but we didn't. We've been trying, for the last couple of months, to pull the dowel out to lower the canopy, but without luck.
The dowel is stuck. Can't twist it using pliers, can't hammer it loose.
Yep, we realize we should have taken down the canopy before winter arrived and the dowel swelled. 20/20 hindsight.
Well, for the remainder of the winter, we'd like to bring in the canopy. Anyone have any ideas on how we can finally manage to pull the dowel out of its holes and bring the canopy in? Another couple of snowstorms and we're gonna have tto shell out a hundred or so for a new canopy in spring.
In advance, thanks!
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<< The dowel is stuck. Can't twist it using pliers, can't hammer it loose. >>
Did you try WD 40? And maybe a little help from a hair dryer?
Joe
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I'd be worried about the WD40 or anything else you applied swelling the dowel and making it worse.
Hair dryer or heat gun (with caution) and a rubber mallet.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Another thing that occured to me is to wrap the wood the dowel goes into with a rag, and soak it with hot, but not quite boiling water, then whack away with the mallet (or heavy hammer on a wooden block). You may need several buckets of hot water.
You're trying to soak the socket with hot water (promoting expansion of the socket _not_ the dowel) and whack it apart before it re-freezes.
If that doesn't do it, are you sure someone didn't glue it while you weren't looking?
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Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Ah, darn it! I tried the blow dryer (it was relatively warm around here today, low 40's) and the very hot rag, but the dowel is still jammed in there. I'm thinking maybe the stain from the dowel bled into the stain around the inside perimeter of the hole and they formed a new bond?
Again, thanks for any suggestions!
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Were you able to whack the wood the dowel goes into with something? Try something heavier than a hammer. Like a 2lb hand sledge, back of a splitting axe, or even a full 10lb sledge.
Not massive full power swings (especially with the full sledge), but good sharp knocks (with a block of wood betwixt the sledge and the wood holding the dowel so you don't damage anything).
The full treatment:
- run the heat gun on the dowel (you're trying to dry/shrink it) for a while - shield the other wood. Get the dowel good and warm - try half an hour's worth. - hold/strap/duct tape/tack-nail/hotmelt glue/whatever a wooden block on the face of wood the dowel goes into, right next to the dowel. A piece of 3/4" plywood would be about ideal. Or even a chunk of particle board or MDF. - get someone to pull hard and firmly on the dowel, or, cable/chain it to something immovable (like a tree close to the ground, fence post, or even the car). You're trying to put lots of mass onto the dowel so it won't move when the other wood does. - give the block a few good hard knocks right next to the dowel in line with the dowel.
If that doesn't get it apart, nothing will (short of getting out chain come-alongs etc).
Next time, ream out the hole a bit bigger, or make the dowel ends a bit smaller.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
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Cut it flush and drill it out, or take a large bolt and hammer the bolt to push out the dowel
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (JayGere) wrote in message

Bigger hammer? Seriously, if you can get below the socket, use a chunk of dowel slightly smaller than your post as a punch and give it a good whack. If it moves, continue. Dowels are pretty tough end-on, just don't flare it.
Mitch
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At the exhaust shops, when a bolt is stuck, they heat it up with oxy acetylene torch. Somehow, I doubt that will work on wood. The heat transfer coefficient is too low. (and you'll burn the house down).
Sounds like you need hot and dry both -- not sure what to suggest. The hair dryer did come to mind to me.
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Christopher A. Young
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