How to Remove 4x4 post from bucket of concrete

ralitaco

Jim
User
Not sure if this is the right place for this so if it is not please let me know where I should post...I did not see a forum called stupid questions.

So my son made several lantern posts by pouring concrete in a bucket with a 4x4 post in them. This worked very well, but now we need to transport them without a pickup truck.
My question is how can I remove the 4x4 post from the concrete without totally destroying either the post or the concrete because he would like to use them again.
I am thinking there may be a long blade for an oscillating tool that would allow me to remove a bit of the concrete just outside of the post. If I could do this on 2 sides, then hopefully a whack or two with a 3# sledge would know it loose.
Any thoughts?

Also, for future reference, how could this be done from the start to make the posts removable?

Thanks in advance for your wisdom and insight,
Jim
 

Graywolf

Richard
Corporate Member
Odds are not in your favor on removing the post from the concrete. However, I wouldn't bet against a motivated individual. That being said, you need to make a sleeve for the post to fit in. You can make it out of plywood and pour the concrete around it. And then you just slide the post in or out. Good luck!
 

Hmerkle

Board of Directors, Vice President
Hank
Corporate Member
Jim,
As Richard said - I think you are "stuck" (ha ha) now to either destroy the wood or the concrete to separate them, but after that - you could easily create a pocket to insert the 4X4 into in the concrete poured in the bucket in the future...
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
A sledge hammer is your only hope at this point. Then do as Richard said and make a sleeve. I would make the sleeve a little loose because the concrete will cause the sides to bend inward toward the post making it very difficult to insert or remove.


Keep the broken bits of concrete to fill in around the sleeve before you pour in the new concrete.
 

TENdriver

TENdriver
User
Jim, In woodworking there’s usually many ways to skin the cat.

If you’re trying to keep your existing buckets and posts, could you cut the post off and fit either a sleeve on the outside or drill into the end grain and insert a metal tenon or possibly use a sleeve and a tenon to join the post back together.

There are also some other ways to cut and rejoin the posts. Some rely on metal brackets, some rely on woodworking joints. Depending on how these posts and buckets get used, what type of loads (lateral) and weight at the top etc.

Perhaps some pictures of them in use or even a drawing could be helpful.


Bottom line, just because you can’t pull the 4 x 4 out of the concrete, doesn’t mean there isn’t a workable solution.
 

ehpoole

Ethan
Corporate Member
A sledge hammer is your only hope at this point. Then do as Richard said and make a sleeve. I would make the sleeve a little loose because the concrete will cause the sides to bend inward toward the post making it very difficult to insert or remove.


Keep the broken bits of concrete to fill in around the sleeve before you pour in the new concrete.
A sledge isn’t the only hope, you could also use a rotary hammer drill and chisel to break through the concrete in a relatively short time. It’s not as fast as a heavy sledge and a good hard swing, but it is a lot less energy intensive for those of us with physical limitations as you can let the power tool do much of the work.

Another option would be cutting through the concrete with a masonry grit disc or a diamond impregnated saw, but you are not going to enjoy the dust and will want to wear a good dust mask (and ideally goggles) and keep things as wet as possible with a steady stream of water (while ensuring any AC powered tool is plugged into a GFCI outlet for safety). Although these would be clean cuts on opposing sides, I still would not count on being able to reuse the concrete afterwards.

Good luck!
 

golfdad

Co-director of Outreach
Dirk
Corporate Member
A chipping hammer and a chiesel bit will make quick work of taking the concrete off. Then clean the post up and redo in a bucket with a sleeve as has been sugested by many others
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
Why were the posts placed in concrete in a bucket to begin with? Were the posts supposed to be removed and the concrete buried in a hole with a new post inserted? Buckets are 1, 2, or 3 gallon?

So my son made several lantern posts by pouring concrete in a bucket with a 4x4 post in them.This worked very well, but now we need to transport them without a pickup truck.
 

ralitaco

Jim
User
Thanks all. I am trying to find photos. My son made them to be lamp posts for Christmas decorations. They are going to be used as Wedding decorations next.

I have thought of cutting them off and inserting dowels to reassemble them.
 

Charles Lent

Charley
Corporate Member
Might be easier and faster to just start over with new buckets, concrete, and 4 X 4, only this time make a sleeve as noted above.

Charley
 

Bear Republic

Steve
Senior User
For the immediate problem might be easier to find someone with a pickup or a sun roof. :cool: Even home depot rents one. Maybe a member down in there can help you out.
There's always a solution.
 

ehpoole

Ethan
Corporate Member
Thanks all. I am trying to find photos. My son made them to be lamp posts for Christmas decorations. They are going to be used as Wedding decorations next.

I have thought of cutting them off and inserting dowels to reassemble them.
In that case, why not consider solving the problem by decorating around the buckets to mask them from view? That way you can keep the buckets (since you appear to desire to reuse them, if I understand correctly) and can still use them for the wedding without permanently altering anything. That also allows the buckets to still serve to hold the posts upright for the event without having to build bases for them.

When it comes to weddings you can pretty well get away with bloody murder decorating anything you wish to hide without attracting undue attention since so many other decorations are already out and about.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
I had a deck with some sag at one post. We got a jack and screwed a 2x to the post and jacked up against it. The post came up out of the concrete with no trouble. Maybe if you tried this it would work for you.

Roy G
 

ralitaco

Jim
User
Thanks everyone. I think I'll just deal with laying them over in my van to transport them. I was thinking a bit longer term for storage and transport. I am definitely leaning towards cutting them and either inserting some dowels or making "L" shaped cuts and running some bolts through.
 

AllanD

Allan
Senior User
At the risk of sounding elitist, I would cut the posts off and if they are then too short, throw them on the burning pile, bury the lumps of concrete and start over. I guess the older I get the more valuable I appraise my time and sweat.
 

Gofor

Mark
Corporate Member
I had a deck with some sag at one post. We got a jack and screwed a 2x to the post and jacked up against it. The post came up out of the concrete with no trouble. Maybe if you tried this it would work for you.

Roy G
This could very likely work. If using a bottle jack, put a board or piece of ply between it and the concrete to even out the pressure on the concrete. If one doesn't provide results with moderate pressure, try one on each side. After getting the post out, smooth any rough spots and put a thin coat of grease on it before re-inserting. You may need to cut a groove in the post base to prevent future vacuum lock.

If making new ones, just wrap the base of the post with a couple layers of plastic film before putting it in the concrete. I basically did this in Florida when making a removable gate post so that I could have an open double gate when I wanted to drive my truck into the back yard, but just a single walk-through for most of the time. After the concrete set, I removed the post, unwrapped the plastic, (I used 5 mil landscape plastic ) and kept the post greased with axle bearing grease. Only difference was that I was using a metal chain-link fence corner post, which being hollow, prevented the vacuum lock (as long as I removed the top cap).

Whether new or if you do get the old posts out, put an orientation mark on the post and base so that the same post goes in the same base in the same orientation. Not all 4 x4 posts are equal, square, or evenly dimensioned.
 
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ralitaco

Jim
User
This could very likely work. If using a bottle jack, put a board or piece of ply between it and the concrete to even out the pressure on the concrete. If one doesn't provide results with moderate pressure, try one on each side. After getting the post out, smooth any rough spots and put a thin coat of grease on it before re-inserting. You may need to cut a groove in the post base to prevent future vacuum lock.
I may give this a try

If making new ones, just wrap the base of the post with a couple layers of plastic film before putting it in the concrete. I basically did this in Florida when making a removable gate post so that I could have an open double gate when I wanted to drive my truck into the back yard, but just a single walk-through for most of the time. After the concrete set, I removed the post, unwrapped the plastic, (I used 5 mil landscape plastic ) and kept the post greased with axle bearing grease. Only difference was that I was using a metal chain-link fence corner post, which being hollow, prevented the vacuum lock (as long as I removed the top cap).
Thanks. I'll file that away for the future

Whether new or if you do get the old posts out, put an orientation mark on the post and base so that the same post goes in the same base in the same orientation. Not all 4 x4 posts are equal, square, or evenly dimensioned.
That is a good suggestion.
 

camlane

New User
cam
Thanks all. I am trying to find photos. My son made them to be lamp posts for Christmas decorations. They are going to be used as Wedding decorations next.

I have thought of cutting them off and inserting dowels to reassemble them.
Rather than using dowels, use 1/2” rebar. Two per post will stop rotation and be cheaper than dowels.
 

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