Nobody else said it, so I will- just keep bashing at the base of the
pole with a sledgehammer. If it is thin-wall pipe (like most of the
rusty clothesline poles I have removed over the years), the pipe will
collapse, or at least lose its grip on the concrete. If I was replacing
a rusted-off pole, I would just bash down on the stub of the pole, and
punch it through the concrete. If you cut the pole off with an angle
grinder or Sazall, that would be how to proceed with breaking up the
lump, or at least getting it flat. The concrete is usually a mushroom
shape, and seldom extends below the bottom of the pipe- you can usually
push it through and down.
Sledgehammers are wonderful things, but be sure to stretch and warm up
first. And if you haven't hefted a 12-pounder since teenage years, best
to find a teenager. Bet him $20 he can't do it.
First, thank you for providing some very good information and clues. Lots
of people write in about such stuff and don't even give a clue.
First, you apparently have a pretty big plug of concrete there. If you want
to try pulling it out, you can use the jack suggestion, or strap a 4x4 on it
for added strength, and hook a chain to it tight and pull on the 4x4 side.
Hook the chain about four foot up to get leverage. If it starts bending, go
to plan b.
Plan b is cutting it off flush to the ground. Any grinder will do it. Or a
cutting torch. Get a hose and blow out the stuff inside the hole, let it
dry, and fill with concrete. You'll still have the concrete plug there, but
not the hole.
Plan c. Backhoe, and you can either dig it out, or rig it up and pull it
out straight up.
I did several of these when I was doing steel work.
Sometimes, they just get to a point where they pop out, and the concrete
isn't as big as once thought. Other times, the concrete is bigger, and it
all depends on what you want to do with the space as to whether you take it
all out or just cut off the pole.
Get a cheap grinder. You'll use it for lots of other stuff, too. Or go to
the pawn shop and get a good used one for about the same price, and it will
By chance if you should go the cutting torch route... you need to be
absolutely positive the post doesn't contain any water. You don't want
molten metal splattered all over you, bystanders, pets or your property.
Good point, that doesn't sound like much fun. I'm thinking the $20
angle grinder method will be the cheapest solution and reasonably easy.
I expect a torch would cost more, and I don't know what else I'd ever
do with it.
Just be sure to have goggles and a dust mask on. There will be a lot of
stuff flying around. Get extra cutting wheels as I think a four inch steel
pipe may require more than one. Don't have any bystanders or cars nearby as
a broken piece of the blade can do serious damage. There will also be a lot
of sparks so don't have anything flammable in the area. Use a grinding disk
and not a cut off wheel for grinding down the base. That four inch pipe
will be heavy when it comes down so you might want to figure a way to brace
it or catch it.
It's really a thin-walled tube and not very tall, rather than, like,
a thick iron pipe. It should be pretty light, and I think the
grinder will go through it like butter. Then I can pound down
whatever's left with a hammer. Then, next spring when the ground thaws,
I'll try breaking up at least enough of the concrete with a
sledgehammer to cover it with some soil.
If it's that thin, you can cut it off 1/4-1/2" from the ground with a hacksaw,
and pound the remained into the hole with a hammer. Or, us a hammer and cold
chisel to cut it enough that you can break it off. That can get you mostly at or
below ground level.
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