JUMP: Jack Up Mega Pole

From the Tips and Tricks department

For six years I had pondered an easy and safe way to lift a heavy duty, stand alone telescoping pole. Jackie (my wife) and I had demonstrated telescoping poles along with the Portable Hole at the PlanetChristmas Lights Up Symposium 2003 in Nashville. Our method of lifting a telescoping pole was to grip the heavy pole and pick it up about a foot while another person put a pin in an existing hole. This was a strenuous and somewhat hazardous task. Doing all of this while standing on a ladder certainly didn’t help. As the years went by we kept raising and lowering the poles the same old way. Meanwhile the megatree of lights became popular with several methods of raising the light strings, all of them very good. However, we noticed some of the megatrees were getting blown down in high winds so we were looking for another way to raise a heavy load. The Jack Up Mega Pole (JUMP) was conceived and built in two short, but at times very frustrating, weeks.

Close-up of a Jack Up Mega Pole
Close-up of a Jack Up Mega Pole

Let’s go back six years to PLUS 2003. The setting, the need and the pieces needed to build the JUMP all existed. The only thing missing was the inspiration. Early in 2009 we received an email from Bill Hoffman who was part of putting together the Light Up Ohio mini-PLUS. Bill mentioned that he had been at our demo in 2003 and was quite impressed with the Portable Hole and its potential. He requested information about the “Hole” to put together a PowerPoint presentation for the mini-PLUS. After many conversations we decided to go to the event and present the Portable Hole presentation ourselves. Bill gave us the green light and we decided to educate everyone about the concept of pole-ology with the goal of improving the basic telescoping pole. We urgently began to scour the hardware stores looking for some type of “slip ring-rod” assembly so I could push the telescoping pole up much like doing an overhead press. Jackie found the slip rings in the fence section at a Tractor Supply store. Eureka! It really worked and I was quite pleased with the improvement. There were more conversations with Bill about our presentation and he said “Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to jack the poles up.” What if a real jack could somehow be coupled to the pole with its newly added slip rings to lift the heavy load? Another search found a 3500 pound rated drop leg crank type jack. After a few days of trial and error, a push rod assembly evolved that linked the telescoping pole to the jack. I was delighted! Initial tests showed the pole could be jacked up with hardly any effort at all but it was unstable and a bit hazardous. After staring at everything for a few days I tried turning the jack upside down. That was the key! The mechanism stayed in true vertical alignment and we were able to jack the telescoping pole up with in safety and with confidence. JUMP was introduced at the 2009 Light Up Ohio mini-PLUS. Since JUMP is in its infancy, we expect and hope the concept and idea will be tweaked and improved upon by others.

Find more as well as diagrams and instructions on building the JUMP at http://www.magicchristmasnews.org/


From the July 2009 edition of PlanetChristmas Magazine

by Walter and Jackie Monkhouse

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