Uses for Old Telephone Poles

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Hollyl77, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. Hollyl77

    Hollyl77 Member

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    My husband and I were out in our backyard over the weekend discussing things we need to clean up before we fence our property for livestock. We have about 4 telephone poles, maybe only 10' or 15' long. I've been trying to come up with uses for them, and haven't thought of much. So far the only thing I can think of is that they may be good to use on our driveway as a post to hang a gate on...but we don't necessarily want a gate on our driveway. Anybody have more creative ideas? I've asumed that they've been chemically treated, so we can't cut them up to use in our stove, and I'd hate to have to pay to take them to the dump...
     
  2. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    Take a metal detector to them, pull all the nails and such. Then find someone with a mill and make some nice boards you could use for a corral or stall. Horses wont crib it.
     

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What kind of fence for what kind of livestock are you going to make? Most folks would need about 2x the telephone posts you have - they are just perfect for corner posts, gate posts, etc. 8' post is good for most fences, don't know if you could get by cutting some in half or not.

    They are good for several pole building designs, a few perloins & rafters & nail some tin on & you have a good tough shed.

    Otherwise they are worth $5-10 a piece at a farm sale or so if in good shape.

    You have a real good resource there, and you supplied your own answer! :) Can't imagine paying someone to haul them away. I have an order with my utility to drop off any old poles they don't want. They are in such demand I've got nothing in 2 years yet.....

    --->Paul
     
  4. opus

    opus Well-Known Member

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    Paul,

    Dont think they can do that. I beleive it is illegal, due to the creosote in them. I tried once, that is what I was told. They also told me that if they ended up missing, they wouldnt look for them. :) That was easy!
     
  5. daffodil

    daffodil flower lover

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    My DH and I got some--boy, they were heavy. He rigged up his truck to haul them home. I think he paid only a dollar for each.

    Anyway, he used his to make a storm shelter.

    Also, used them to make a very large raised bed. We put field rocks underneath them; they aren't directly on the ground.
     
  6. johnghagen

    johnghagen Well-Known Member

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    :) use them for a raised bed of strawberries or such in the garden garlic loves a raised bed
     
  7. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    make a nice tree house... 3 feet in ground, that gives ya a platform @12 feet up.

    nice to get away and take a sun-snooze up there.

    or whack bambis...

    or spy on the neighbors.

    or....?
     
  8. bluetick

    bluetick Well-Known Member

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    How about clothes line posts?
     
  9. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Make super good base for building a wood pile on. Cut them so have pieces to stick in the ground and pieces to lay in-between. Like a big U. Keeps wood well up off the ground and prevents the woodpile from falling down on the ends like it always does. Railroad ties work good like this too. Even better is put the telephone pole in the ground vertical and make the in-between old pallets.

    Another good use is making gravel, rock or sand storage areas. Cut up and lay in a box fashion. Can cover the sand to keep the cats, leaves and crap out of it. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Now, we spent a good bit of last summer trying to Find those posts! And here you are hoarding them!

    We used some to replace the posts under the barn lean-to. The rest are going to be the supports to build a lean-to on the back side of the workshop. It'll be about 15 out from the building, and the shop is 60 feet long, so that's a lot of roof weight. The power poles do it quite nicely.

    Always a use for those babies!

    Meg
     
  11. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We used them this Fall for corner posts and gate posts in our pasture fences. Do wear gloves and be careful...creosote is a carcinogen. You don't want to use them in your garden, but in a fence it's fine as long as you handle them properly.

    My Daddy was a telephone company cable splicer for 30 years. He's beat Lymphoma and is now dying of colon and lung cancer. I blame the creosote. Back when he worked with it they didn't know the dangers of creosote.
     
  12. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    That's horrible news Ravenlost...sorry to hear about your Father. :(

    I was wanting some of these poles to build an aviary for my mandarins. The ones we have are too large and too hard to handle, but I'd love to have some 10-15' poles!
     
  13. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

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    I honestly have a friend who's father built and entire cabin out of the things. He worked for the phone company so had easy access to them. The cabin is beautiful, and as I understand it, it only took a couple of decades to lose the creosote smell. :rolleyes:

    Ruth
     
  14. Ravenlost

    Ravenlost Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I wouldn't set foot in that cabin. Breathing creosote fumes can cause cancer!

    "...Creosote enters your body through the lungs as a contaminant of air, through the stomach and intestines after eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, or through the skin. Although there is no data on how fast or how much of the creosote mixture is absorbed, many of the parts of the creosote mixture (for example, PAHs) are rapidly absorbed through the lungs and the stomach and the intestines."

    "...EPA concludes that creosote is a "complete" carcinogen, has teratogenic potential, and adversely affects reproduction. Creosote is rated as a B1 probable human carcinogen based on evidence of the association between occupational creosote contact and subsequent tumor formation. Further, while a specific quantitative risk assessment on carcinogenicity of creosote has not been performed by the agency, a quantitative cancer risk assessment exists for benzo(a)pyrene, one of the components of creosote. Administration of benzo(a)pyrene by inhalation has been shown to result in respiratory tract tumors, and administration by the dermal route results in skin tumor production, similar to creosote. Benzo(a)pyrene has also been shown to be a "complete" carcinogen similar to creosote, and also tests positive for mutagenicity on a variety of assays."


    Here's some links:

    http://www.emla.hu/prtr/chems/tfacts85.html

    http://www.beyondpesticides.org/wood/alerts/Creosote_comments_204.htm

    http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/2004/Creosote-Illness-Death24may04.htm

    http://www.hoeyfarina.com/HFD5/ST152_newsletter.htm
     
  15. DrippingSprings

    DrippingSprings In Remembrance

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    around here they no longer use creosote, what ever it is now looks greeinsh in color and has no smell. also the poles available here are so old that the creosote isnt visible and you cant smell it. i would agree a new one that still has the residue stuck to it would be awful. but i have made several outbuildings with some that have been replaced after storms etc and there is no creosote apparent on them. i know some of these are probably several decades old though.
     
  16. caberjim

    caberjim Stableboy III

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    excellent cabers. Taper down one end. Stand it up on end, pick it into your hands, balance it carefully, run, stop and toss end over end. Repeat endlessly for fun and exercise.
     
  17. Hollyl77

    Hollyl77 Member

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    Wow, those are some great ideas! I'll add that to our outdoor project list and hopefully we can get them cleaned up this spring. We're planning on fencing, and we could use each one for a corner...actually, y'all had so many ideas I'm hoping we could find a source to get more of them! ;)
     
  18. sheeplady

    sheeplady Well-Known Member

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    Years ago, the utility company replaced a lot of poles on our road. We were allowed to take what we wanted free for a few days till they came back to clean up.
    Boy, did we hustle! :D
    They made great corner and line posts for our hi-tensile fences for our sheep pastures. We were able to get someone in to drill the holes for us and set the posts. :) Thats about the best use for them in my opinion. Kate
     
  19. chrisnev

    chrisnev Well-Known Member

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    How about a pergola?? Apergola you ask...it is a large trllis for grapes or berris of any kind or vines..they are beautiful and great in the summer time..if you want some ideas google it and you can see many..Good luck in your endeavours..Chris
     
  20. HarleysMom

    HarleysMom Well-Known Member

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    I bought a bunch of old telephone poles several years ago. I have used a few as corner posts for fences, as corner posts on an open shed, and as decorative pieces. I dragged two posts down a rough dirt road to taper the ends and use them as sorta art work totems. Dragging them down the road sure takes off the outer surface also and might make them safer to be around. Not sure how deep the creasote penetrates.