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Hangman's Cross

Finished Hangman's Cross
Materials Required
- 1 - 10' 4x4 fence post
- 1 - 6' 4x4 fence post
- 2 - 3/8" x 50' manila rope
- 1 - Bag of concrete
- 1 - 1/2" x 6" carriage bolt
- 2 - 5/8" bearing plate
- 2 - 5/8" cut washer
- 4 - 1/2" cut washer
- 2 - 1/2"x6" eye bolt
- 3 - 1/2" hex nuts
- 4 - 10"x24"x ¾" plywood
- 1 - 4" long 2x4
- 2 - 1/4" x 3" lag bolts
- Wire ties
- 2" wood screws

Optional Materials
- Life-Size Peg Leg Pirate
- Life-size Skeleton Pirate Captain
- Life-size Skeleton Pirate
- Life-size Skeleton Pirate Swashbuckler w/ Hook
- Skeleton In Cage (Large)
- Hanging Rotten Skulls
- Haunted Skull - Pirate Captain
- Haunted Skull - Pirate Skull
- Realistic Crow Wings Up (Large)
- Fishing Net, 4x6 ft.
- Freaky Fabric (Black)
- Solar LED spotlight kit

Tools Required
- Safety goggles
- Circular table saw or circular hand saw
- 1" wood chisel
- Hammer
- Tape measure
- Adjustable wrench
- Power drill w/ 1/2 inch bit and 3/16 inch bit
- Shovel
- Fence post level
- 2 Saw horses

The list of materials and tools required listed above as well as the measurements and some of the pricing provided in the instructions below are provided as examples. They are accurate for the item we built and may not exactly meet your needs. Please, before you go out and buy a bunch of materials and (possibly) tools, read the instructions below and determine what it is you need for your project. A few minutes of planning and preparation will save you a lot of time, frustration, and (possibly) money, too.

And, of course, please feel free to modify any of the instructions below if you know of a better way to accomplish some of the tasks we've described. If you do, please feel free to send them my way at We'd love to hear from you.


This project involves the use of power tools. If you are not comfortable working with power tools, I would recommend you not attempt this project. While the work is fairly non-complex, it does still pose a safety risk if done incorrectly. Please, use caution when attempting to do any kind of work with power tools.

Also, when doing any kind of work like this, please make sure to work safely and to follow all safety precautions on applicable tools materials. Use common sense precautions to protect yourself and others from injury. Always wear your safety goggles, work in a well-ventilated space.

Skeleton Foundry provides these instructions on an informational basis only. IN NO CASE WILL SKELETON FOUNDRY BE LIABLE FOR PERSONAL INJURY, DAMAGE TO PROPERY OR OTHER DAMAGES ARISING FROM YOUR USE OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS. You assume your own risk by doing so.

For this Halloween DIY project, I wanted to create a pirate-themed area to the left of my driveway. I normally don't have anything over there, but I wanted to create something dramatic. I didn't have room to build a gallows, so instead I built a hangman's cross. It's not as big and certainly not as difficult to build, but it makes a statement.

Editor's Note — Since building this, friends and families from the surrounding neighborhoods have begun using this as a spot to take their family Halloween photos which they then post on their blogs and family websites. It's become a great Kodak Moment spot for a lot of people.


1. Please read all the instructions BEFORE you go out and buy anything.
2. Start by marking a line 6" from one end of the 10' 4x4 fence post. This will be the upright post for your hangman's cross.
3. Then, mark another line at 9.5" from the same end.
4. Now, mark a line every 1/4 inch between these two lines.
5. Find the center or your 6' 4x4 fence post and mark a line there. This will be the cross beam for your hangman's cross.
6. Then, mark a line 1.75" from center on both sides.
7. Again, mark a line every 1/4 inch between these two lines.
8. After that is completed, set the depth of your circular saw to 1.75" deep.
9. We need to cut out these two marked up sections, but only half way through. Eventually, the two fence posts are going to form a big "T" and we want them to fit snugly together.
10. Safety Note - If you are using a table saw to cut your fence posts, it would be a great idea to have someone help you maneuver them - especially the 10' post. And, make sure you're both wearing safety goggles.
11. Using a circular saw, cut along each line. Make sure to not go any deeper than 1.75".
12. Cuts.When you're finished, each marked up section should look something like this.
13. Chisel.Using a hammer and chisel, chisel out the cut sections of your fence posts.
14. Center hole.Next, you want to drill a 1/2 inch hole in the center of each of these notched out sections.
15. Once that is complete, mark a line 6" from each end of the 6' fence post. Then, find the center width-wise and drill a 1/2 inch hole there. Eye hole.Remember, the hole in the center of the cross beam will be it's face. You want these new holes near the ends of the cross beam to be from top to bottom, so flip the board 90° to make sure they are in the proper orientation to each other.
16. Now, place the notched section of the 6' fence post into the notched section of the 10' fence post.
Then, it's time to secure them. This is how I assembled the deck bolt and washers:
  • 1 - 1/2"x6" carriage bolt
  • 2 - 5/8" cut washers
  • 1 - 5/8" bearing plate
  • Fence posts
  • 1 - 5/8" bearing plate
  • 2 - 1/2" cut washers
  • 1 - 1/2" hex nut
Center bolt, top.
Center bolt, bottom.
18. Next, insert your 1/2" x 6" eye bolts into their holes (from the bottom of the cross beam) and secure them in place using the 1/2" cut washers and 1/2" hex nut.

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