Removing playhouse/fort from back yard

Hi all,
I moved into my house about 18 months ago, and there's a kids playhouse, fort, or whatever they're called now'days in the back yard right where I want to put my garden. The prior owner had no kids and said that was left by the second prior owner (some 7 years prior), so it's been there a while.
I tried to find a picture of a similar one online, but here's basically what it looks like:
http://www.newenglandgardens.co.uk/wpe86407.gif -- but mine is made of treated 4x4's instead of metal or fiberglass.
Anyway, it seems to be bolted together, but the bolts are so rusted together they won't budge... or they were driven in so deep I can't get any reach on them. I don't plan on reusing this anyplace, but I'd like to salvage the wood for other projects if possible. Any suggestions short of taking a chain saw to it?
The footings are concreted in, so that's going to be a chore to pull out (about 6 grounded posts in all). I already pulled up a concreted tetherball poll which was set around the same time, and it was over 2 feet deep!
Any suggestions on this? If nothing else I'll cut it up with my saw, but I thought I'd ask the crowd and see if anyone has other suggestions on easily removing the bolts. Oh... and the top of the bolts are rounded, no notches (though i guess I can drimmel in a notch for a screwdriver).
Thanks, and take care,
Sam Alex
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Alex,
There's little detail in your picture but based on your description I guess that the bolts that you wish to loosen are carriage bolts and are not meant to be loosened. Can you locate the nuts and remove them? If so then you should be able to disassemble this. I'm guessing that the nuts are countersunk so you'll need a socket wrench. A few whacks with a hammer may be necessary to free the joints.
Dave M.
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On 1 Aug 2004 10:01:10 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Alex) wrote:

Why not cut the wood off right below the bolts and just toss the tips?
Or cut off the heads, or maybe between the pieces of wood, with a sawzall? Or drill out the bolts?
I'm trying to figure out how the bolts were screwed in in the first place -- no slots, rounded heads, and (I guess) no nuts on the other ends. And is wood that's been outside so long that the bolts have rusted really worth all this work to save?
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Your picture was not very clear on the important part. If it used carriage bolts, and they are accessible, I suggest taking their heads off with an angle grinder. Then grasp the nut part with a Vice-Grip, pull it out from that direction.

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For the posts, I suggest using a circular saw to do an initial cut near the ground. Then expose the concrete, rent a 'demolition hammer' for about $20 for 4 hours, or a sledge hammer. Then make a second cut at below grade level on the more-exposed 4x4's, then put dirt over the space and seed it.

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I can only suggest how to pull the Cemented pieces out, as I have recently done similar work removing 'bout 30 or so Steel fence posts.
go to harbor freight and buy a high lift mechanical jack. You know ,..........those you see every huge 4X4 with mounted to the back end with the spare.............has holes in the upright part all up and down it.
Anyway, With the posts being wooden, you can actually use a chain and it will grip the wood post and just use the jack,( may have to have a cheater pipe/bar to extend it for ease) and make a leveraged pulling device. They'll come up like buttah if you use some basic leverage principals. Also , if the chain wont grip well enough, get a long drill bit/paddle bit and run a large steel piece through the posts and use that to give the chain something to hold onto. It may take all 6 tries to perfect the pulling but it will still beat the hell out of the jack-hammer or sledge.................there's a basic rule to use here................the straighter you can get the jack to pull up, the easier to get the concrete out with it. Pulling sideways just increases the resistance and the danger.
http://www.angelfire.com/retro/ssterile/Post_removal.bmp
The best trick in this is to keep the jack as close to the post as possible, and be very careful. If anything starts moving the wrong direction STOP> better safe and aggravated than dead from a silly wooden post.
in the provided picture the chain should do the job without a "pin" but if you need it drill and put in a pin at the lower loop. And don't try this witha rope. CHAIN only, and as heavy a chain as you can get a hold of or buy. 1 1/2" links or so will do fine.
Remove "YOURPANTIES" to reply MUADIB
http://www.angelfire.com/retro/ssterile/MAIN%20PAGE.html
It's is not, it isn't ain't, and it's it's, not its, if you mean it is. If you don't, it's its. Then too, it's hers. It isn't her's. It isn't our's either. It's ours, and likewise yours and theirs. -- Oxford University Press, Edpress News
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You have had a lot of good suggestions. If it works this is the easiest.
Run an ad in the local paper,
FREE PLAYHOUSE/FORT You remove.
Have them sign a disclaimer of liability in case of injury, have a beer and watch them work.
It worked for me.
Best wishes
Colbyt
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If access is available a nut splitter or cold chisel and hammer will make quick work of the nuts. Then drive the bolts out with a long punch. Don Young

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Seems many people don't seem to understand the carriage bolt. It has a rounded head with a squared section just below the head. Hole drilled to shank clearance then either hammered in to seat the square section or drawn in by tightening the nut. Once in place, if you are going to cut the head off you will have to excavate about 1/2" of wood to get below the square section. Access to the nut? If it has been in place that long, the bolt will probably start turning before the net loosens.
Chain saw the sucker - it is amazing how little actual useable wood you can get by deconstructing a building, a playhouse will have a lot a very short pieces useable for very little.
As for pulling the posts, good suggestions already. Soaking the ground at each post will also help.
Harry K
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On 2 Aug 2004 06:17:26 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Harry K) wrote:

IFrom the way the OP described it, I wasn't sure if it was a carriage bolt or if the heads of lag bolts had gotten "rounded" off from rust or from using pliers on them or something. He didn't mention nuts on the other end, making it confusing. But you are right that you would not be able to cut off the head of a carriage bolt very easily. And you are right that the wood is probably not worth the effort to salvage.

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Alex wrote:

use a chain saw on it and cut it up and move it out...
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Take an angle grinder and grind the nuts off (not your nuts, but the ones on the bolts). I have done quite a bit of building demolition, and I do that regularly. I have also ground the heads off those impossible to pull, pole barn spikes to salvage lumber. A sawsall also works on bolts if you can get inbetween the boards, but that is not always possible. When you grind the nuts, grind halfway thru, and smack them off. Get a half dozen wheels, they wear fast. Also, they get red hot, so keep a pail of water handy in case you start the wood on fire. I have never had a fire, but have made lots of smoke.
As for the cemented posts, just saw them off above the cement. Unless you have a piece of heavy equipment to pull out the whole thing, its a waste of time to try to get it in one piece. Then, have fun digging out the cement.
Before you do any of this, get your wife's tubes tied. Right about the time you pull down the last board, wifey will tell you "I'M PREGNANT".
---------------------------------
On 1 Aug 2004 10:01:10 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (Alex) wrote:

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Alex wrote:

<snipped>
A can of charcoal lighter, a brush and a book of matches.....Fire's been a useful means to destroy stuff since shortly after man learned to walk erect...)
Jeff (Just kidding, but still amazed at the simplistic questions that show up here.)
--
Jeff Wisnia (W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)

"As long as there are final exams, there will be prayer in public
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