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Subject:  Pumpkin lifting structure recommendations

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Fungi Fun Guy

Rochester, NY

This will be my 2nd year growing but my first on bigpumpkins.com. I am looking for recommendations on building a structure to lift my pumpkins from - something to last for many years and be able to handle the size and weight of (hopefully) prize winners.
Design: tripod vs. A-frame vs. gantry
Material: 4x4 vs. 4x6 vs. steel pipe vs. other suggestions.
My patch is under open sky so there are no height restrictions. Thanks

2/25/2021 10:46:13 PM


Springfield, VT

The simplest is a tripod and it can be put away in the off season. 4x4 are the lightest but only good to about 1000lbs with a safety factor. Pipe is heavier until you get to larger wood

2/26/2021 8:40:52 AM

andy W

Western NY

Current lumber prices aside, I'd guess 4 x 4 tripod is probably still the cheapest. I lifted my 1971 with mine, and the beams have been used about 20 years now. Easiest is still the tractor, if it can lift them.

2/26/2021 9:40:58 AM

Fungi Fun Guy

Rochester, NY

What do you think the weight limit would be on a tripod made of steel pipe?

2/27/2021 12:21:37 AM


Syracuse, NY

More than the weight of your pumpkin, ha ha - go to the Search Window also and type in pumpkin lifter for ideas on this and so forth in the meantime; see pumpkinpal2, MattD and 5150 at LEAST - the ones that i perused in this all-important topic for fun, and there are plenty more; for the LIFE of me, i couldn't yet find Bill Northrup's diary headings at all and HIS was the first one i was gonna land on - he is IN the MattD diary anyway. I'd always be worried about the mid points of any structure being the weakest, so, provide them with extra struts (5150 @ the truck bed) and you STILL have to move this thing around TO each pumpkin while still in the patch and fit a truck under it - better than anything I'VE ever done, and it would be very exciting come weighoff day (minus one)! later---and good luck---eg

2/27/2021 8:58:46 AM

The Gridiot

10,000 BC Younger Dryas 2

Good question & although I am not qualified to truly answer it... if you want to read my thoughts on it:

I am not an engineer but I know that sometimes 1 piece of wood can be twice as strong as another... even though both are the same size. You would want to choose the very best piece of wood possible. Often there will be one or two pieces of fine & straight grained old growth when you go to the lumber yard. Douglass fir would be better than pine or hemlock or cedar. A really nice structural timber might be twice as strong as one with wider growth rings or wavy grain and knots which is the kind which are often used for landscaping. Especially avoiding defects in the middle, as eg said, because that would be the point of failure.

That being said I made mine out of metal. Pipe needs to be totally rigid to have any compressive strength. My tripod is round pipe inside square pipe which adds redundancy/strength/rigidity. It could probably hold 2k without any safety factor, but it does 500-600 lb pumpkins with a pretty good factor for safety. It probably weighs 200 lbs and (although I cant throw it over my shoulder) I can drag it around and set it up by myself. I used a 3/8 steel cable to hold the 3 legs permanently together but again I am not an engineer so I am just using my personal judgement at my own risk. The only actual advice I can give is to take Murphy's law seriously.

I think for the biggest 2,000+ lb pumpkins growers usually switch to forklifts of various sorts.

2/27/2021 10:04:59 AM


Syracuse, NY

Wow, Gritty, did you just take a Claritin Clear or something?
I'm used to you being very polite about 'i'm not an expert' and 'IMHO' but that was like, wow, VERY informative and i may try ALL of it, lol!!! good job, bro-ski!---eg

2/27/2021 10:16:14 AM


Dillonvale, Ohio

Watch this video, he shows you everything you need to know.

2/27/2021 9:52:05 PM

Fungi Fun Guy

Rochester, NY

Thank you everyone for your input; it is very helpful.

Gritty Kins, I am very interested in learning more about your tripod. I was able to find a picture of it in last year's diary, but it was too dark to get a good look at it. What size pipe did you use? What length? What tripod head? How and where did you secure the 3/8 steel cable to the legs? Your tripod appears to be stronger than the one I've seen used to lift 10-foot tall stone monuments in a cemetery restoration, so I would imagine it could handle larger pumpkins easily.

3/2/2021 1:33:40 AM

The Gridiot

10,000 BC Younger Dryas 2

I am not certain that anyone should try to copy my design. Avoid pinch points and be aware of the properties of metal. It can be weak in surprising ways. I dont want to give specific advice! Maybe I will email you a picture with an unsafe design disclaimer... :)

3/2/2021 7:41:10 AM



3/2/2021 9:51:30 AM



3/2/2021 9:56:58 AM


Vancouver Washington

Hi Fungi, I make and sell tripod tops for lifting pumpkins similar to the ones shown in spudder links. I have sold several to folks on here. If you are still looking for one my email is shandy4757@gmail.com I have some available.

3/25/2021 8:55:29 AM


Bloomington, IN USA

I wrote a how-to article for the Indiana Pumpkin Growers site about creating & using tripods if you are interested.

3/25/2021 1:03:51 PM

Tom K


crappie1 is the best! Great guy to deal with. Has helped me a lot.

3/25/2021 6:17:11 PM


Vancouver Washington

Thanks Tom,very kind of you. Can't beat word of mouth advertising!

3/25/2021 8:16:05 PM


Boscawen, NH

I second what Tom says about the tripod heads that Steve (Crappie1)produces. Quality and craftsmanship are outstanding and as Tom states Steve is great to deal with. Had no problem lifting my 2304 with it this past year.

3/26/2021 9:26:15 AM

don young

I also have steve handy tripod head works great

3/26/2021 1:04:42 PM

Total Posts: 18 Current Server Time: 5/16/2022 4:59:58 PM
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