I am going to make an outdoor tether ball Pole. It has to be removable as its for a small city backyard. I have two choices.

  1. Get a 10 foot 1.5 inch galvanised steel pipe that is threaded and a 2 foot threaded pipe of the same size. I want to sink the 2 foot pole in the ground with concrete and then use a coupling to screw the two threaded ends together. This makes for easy removal and storable.I can then cap the 2 foot pole in the ground for safety when not in use. My fear is this coupling will be too weak for Tetherball.

  2. Drop a 10'x 1.5 inch galvanised steel pole into a larger piece of PVC with some puddy or wedges to keep stiff.I would cement the pvc in the ground 2 feet deep. This seems sturdy but I loose 2 feet of pole. Also there will be wiggle in the base.

Any thoughts? Also would 1 inch galvanised steel pole be tick enough?


1" pipe is too small. I'd go 2 3/8" or 2 1/2" OD galvanized steel pipe (galvanized so it doesn't rust) if you can find it.

I like the idea of the threaded pipe. The only negative that comes to mind is that it could be a tripping hazard or a hazard if somebody falls on it.

But what if you attach the coupler to the short pipe and set it in concrete so that the threads are in the ground (the top of the coupler is level with the concrete). Fill the coupler with something before pouring the concrete so you keep the threads clean. I'd probably pack some kind of heavy grease into the threads, as well, to protect them from corrosion and to make it easier to get the big pipe in and out (that could be really difficult to do if the threads rust together while the pipe is installed).

Then when you remove the pipe for storage you can pack a little more protective grease in there and cover the hole with a mat, or put some kind of stopper in it to protect it, and you have usable outdoor space without a pipe sticking out of the ground.

EDIT: @Tester101 has a good point of caution about the potential for the threads to wear and/or deform over time, especially as the pipe is removed and put back over and over, and probably has plenty of stories to tell about things that fell apart. On the other hand, this sort of thing isn't totally unprecedented. You can certainly use components like the galvanized flange pictured just below and get pretty good structural strength.

enter image description here

There's also the old standby portable concrete-filled-tire tetherball pole which works okay and can be moved. So two things come to mind about that. One is that it's a third option. The other is that if it actually works without falling over or making the game no fun (and I'm pretty sure it does), then the forces transmitted from the swinging tether ball may not be severe enough to damage a threaded connection like we're discussing.

enter image description here

On the other hand, don't underestimate the ability of a dedicated rough-houser to break things. And if the threaded solution did get broken, then you'd have to dig it up and re-do it.

Finally, you definitely can get at least 2" galvanized pipe from one of your local box stores without getting a second mortgage (not that it's cheap): http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbranded-2-in-x-10-ft-Galvanized-Steel-Pipe-568-1200HC/100565809

You might also check local hardware and plumbing supply stores and other sources online to see if you can get the bigger pipe.

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  • The threaded connection would be nice for convenience, though I fear it might be more trouble than it's worth. As you mention, you'll have to take care to prevent corrosion on the threads. I'd worry that the threaded connection would not be strong enough, and would fail once the ball started flying. My other concern, is that the threads are not designed to be used repeatedly. The threads will deform when you tighten the pipe down, and repeated use could cause too much slop in the joint. – Tester101 Jul 11 '15 at 20:44
  • @Tester 1 Possibly, but that would also be related to the length of the threads. If you're only catching a few threads the joint wouldn't have much integrity. But if you're catching a few to several inches of threads I'd imagine it would e plenty strong. If they wrap the threads liberally with teflon tape or the yellow gas pipe tape it would help keep slop out of the joint while also protecting the threads (a little) from deformation. But you're right, the strongest solution would be to set the long pipe permanently in concrete. – Craig Jul 11 '15 at 20:51
  • Largest pipe I can get is 1.5" at lowes or Home depot. I fear specialty stores are going to charge an arm and leg just for the pipe if I go any larger. The 1.5" is al;ready almost $40. I like the idea of setting the threads in concrete for stability. You make a good point about adding-removing them and wear over time, but what If I got a cap for when not in use to prevent corrosion? Also I want to note I can only tread an inch or MAYBE 1.5 inches of pipe into the coupler. ) – DigitalMC Jul 11 '15 at 21:25
  • On a side note for version #2 if I do have to set the PVC in the concrete and drop the long pole in the PVC what would be the best way to secure the pipe in the hole (since the hole is slightly larger then the pipe). I was thinking sand possibly? – DigitalMC Jul 11 '15 at 21:26
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    One danger with the threaded solution is that Schedule 40 pipe loses almost half of its thickness on threading. This means that you have significantly weakened the pipe right where it will suffer the most stress. Add to that that you have a 10' level which is being smacked around... almost guaranteed to break. Best tetherball poles are sunk into the ground and allowed to float sime. – Joel Keene Jul 12 '15 at 5:25

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