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Hangman's Cross




Instructions (continued)

19. Now, we're going to build the base for the upright post. Since it wouldn't look right to have a hangman's cross in my front yard all year round, I wanted to create something that would make it easy to install and take down from year to year. I figured that I could build a wooden box and cement that into the ground. Then, I can insert the post into the box and bolt it in place when needed.
 
20. Cross base.Using four 10" x 24" x 3/4" pieces of scrap plywood, I created the in-ground base.
 
21. I screwed the pieces together using 2" wood screws. And, I placed each piece of wood 3 5/8" apart. This will give you about 1/4" extra space inside to accommodate for the wood expanding and contracting. The last thing you want is the wood base grabbing hold of your upright post and not letting go.
 
22. 2x4 support.Before sealing the wooden base completely, I placed a 4" 2x4 near the bottom. I did this prevent the upright post from sitting in a pool of water should it ever rain while it is installed. Again, this was done to help reduce the chance of it swelling.
 
23. Lid for the base.I also created a lid for the in-ground base using some scrap wood. I've got white landscaping rocks where I installed the base and I wanted a way to cover it up and not fill it up with the rocks.
 
24. Now, it's time to dig. You'll need to dig a hole about 24" deep and 15"-18" wide. This was probably the least enjoyable part of the project.
 
25. Once that is complete, place your wooden base into the hole. Make sure you place the end with the 2x4 at the bottom.
 
26. Fence post level.Using a fence post level and a scrap piece of 4x4 (or you can substitute two 2x4s) and some 2x4s, I made sure the base was level and that the upright post would be straight when I installed it. I screwed the 2x4s into the 4x4, then once the 4x4 was level I made sure that the 2x4s were secured at the other ends so that they wouldn't move. I picked up the fence post level at Home Depot for $4.
 
27. Mix up your concrete per the instructions on the bag, then slowly pour it into the hole. Use a garden trowel or small shovel.
 
28. Check Point - Check to ensure the 4x4 is level from time to time as you are filling the hole with concrete. If it is not, stop and adjust the 4x4 to make sure it stays level. Then, continue filling the hole with concrete. Leave some room (about 1.5" to 2") so you can sink a lag bolt through the base into the upright.
 
29. Post in concrete.Again, follow the instructions on the bag for curing the concrete. Also, make sure not to completely cover the wooden base with concrete.
 
30. While the concrete is curing, you can add some rope details to the upright and cross beam. I used one 50' piece of rope for the center knot and two 25' pieces for the ends of the cross beam. Here's what I did, but please feel free to create whatever pattern you think best. There are plenty of examples on the internet.
  Center Knot 2. Cross beam knot. Center Knot 3.
 
31. Once you've created your knots and your concrete has cured, you are ready to install the hangman's cross and decorate it.
 
32. After I inserted the upright into the base, I used wood shims to make sure it was level. I then drilled two 3/16" pilot holes and then used two 1/4" x 3" lag bolts to secure the upright to the wood base.
 
Check out our online store for project materials.
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Life-Size Peg Leg Pirate
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Skeleton In Cage (Large)
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33. Finished Hangman's Cross.I used some jute netting to cover up my white landscaping rocks and to give the area a bit more of a cargo dock/pirate feel.
 
34. Above is a pict. I took midway through decorating. Included in the pict. are the following items, but feel free to mix and match anything from the store you feel is best for your particular needs:
 
35. I also used some wooden crates and boxes I'd received and saved over the years to populate the area bit more.
 
36. Lastly, I used a 3-light solar LED spotlight kit. You can pick them up at any hardware store for about $30. It did a great job of lighting the display since I don't have easy access to electricity on that side of my yard. I used the crates and boxes to hide the spotlights. And, this kit came with a remote solar panel, so I was able to keep that in a spot that got a lot of sunlight during the day.
 
37. Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed this Halloween do-it-yourself project. Please let us know what you think at projects@skeletonfoundry.com.
 

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