A farm jack & chain can be used to lift out shrub stumps, it's just not obvious what length & strength of chain makes sense. I purchased a farm jack online and a 14 foot length of 3/8" grade 43 chain at a big box store. Made a tripod ( as seen in several YouTube videos ) with 2x4 & 1/2" bolt.

The chain, however, seems way too big for the job. We had some tree guys in a few weeks ago who took out several shrub stumps with a farm jack arrangement - their chain looked smaller and easier to work with.

Question: I'd like to know what would be a better choice for chain than the monster I've got for hoisting shrub roots, not tree stumps.

( This is a duplicate of a question at gardening.stackexchange.com, where posting here was suggested.)

Photo: enter image description here

  • please link the tripod you built or a picture of it
    – Ack
    Apr 5 '20 at 19:08
  • Photo added to question
    – geoB
    Apr 5 '20 at 21:17
  • what is the load rating of the jack?
    – Ack
    Apr 5 '20 at 21:20
  • Jack is a Hi-Lift HL-485, rated load 4,660 lbs.
    – geoB
    Apr 5 '20 at 21:31

It's not really possible to know what the maximum load is going to be required across every shrub that you will pull out but we can, and should, design for the maximum load that you can apply. Because, very, very bad things happen when you break a chain.

You put the load rating of the jack at 4660 lbs. This means that you can lift that amount safely. That there is, should be, a safety factor on that so it breaks at or above that but not below.

The chain you mention has a rated load of 5400 lb per the Home Depot website. I'm not sure how much I trust it but that is what they claim. There is, should be, a safety factor on that so it breaks at or above that but not below. A smaller chain will, of course, have a smaller load rating.

Currently, you should be in the safe zone. Assuming that you don't hack your jack by slipping a pipe over the end and adding force until it breaks. We don't know when you hit the 4660 mark, nor the 5400 mark, or when the jack will break, or the chain will break, or which will break first.

You can get a smaller chain if you would like. They give the load ratings. Pick a load rating at or above the maximum load that you will ever use it for. Don't know that number? Good big to be safer. Go smaller, be sure you are well out of the way because if it gives, people can lose limbs or die Video 1 Video 2 (the videos are safe to watch, no one is harmed)

  • 1
    Looks like I'll just have to go ahead with what I've got. Thanks for your time and comments.
    – geoB
    Apr 5 '20 at 22:29
  • Very useful information and considerations here, thank you! How would you factor in the Hi-Lift's "Tested Capacity" of 7000 lbs? Nov 27 '21 at 17:06
  • What you would want is for the jack to break before the chain. A better solution is to use rope or tubular webbing as it is much, much, much safer when it breaks. A couple of knots will make go a long way for ease of use: bowline for rope, waterknot for the tubular webbing.
    – Ack
    Dec 15 '21 at 23:41

Chains come in different grades - those available in hardware stores are not the same as those designed for high loads.

Some chains as used for pulling car frames straight after an accident for ecampke are rated in tons and have welded links & they have a plate with the rating on.

Be very careful - a chain can break under load and you don’t want to stop one of the flying bits...

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