I would like to build a deer skinning pole, about 8 ft tall. Here is my simple design:

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My questions are:

  1. How deep should I set the pressure treated 4x4 in the concrete base to be able to safely support approx. 200 lb load ?
  2. Which diameter cylindrical form should I use for the concrete base? Is 12" sufficient or should I go bigger?
  • Is the concrete going to be in the ground? – Tester101 Jul 28 '17 at 22:13
  • yes, of course in the ground – amphibient Jul 29 '17 at 2:07

This is not a great design.

The exact weight of concrete required to keep this from tipping over depends on how far out the load is suspended. If we assume you are hanging the load 24” from the post (18” from the edge of the concrete) you will need about 3X the weight of the load: 600 lbs of concrete. In a 12” diameter cylinder you would need the concrete to be more than 5 feet tall (assuming your concrete weighs 150 lbs/cu-ft). If you went up to a 24” diameter base the situation is a lot better because you have more concrete and more leverage, but I am not sure if the post would really be stable in such a large block of concrete without reinforcement.

There is also the issue of the serious amount of bending you are putting on a 4x4. This is not an axial load.

I would recommend another design. Either put supports on both sides (like a swing set) or stabilize the post with guy-wires into the ground.

  • Yeah -- I figured. I thin I will just actually end up making two goal posts. – amphibient Jul 28 '17 at 19:24
  • It is not so much about the weight of the concrete but the depth the larger diameter will help but going deeper in the ground will work just as well. – Ed Beal Jul 28 '17 at 22:37
  • @amphibient - Neighbor has one of these; looks like a swing set made out of 4x4s, and it's more like 10 or 12 feet high at least. You'll be kneeling in blood, after the pulley and the hook take up a foot or so. – Mazura Jul 29 '17 at 0:03
  • Wouldn't the type of soil play a role? I've seen guys sink a 4x4 in the ground without any concrete (heavy clay), and it's held many deer for many seasons. I agree you'll want the pole taller than 8' – Tester101 Jul 29 '17 at 19:52

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