Home Steer Butchering - DIY Tripod plans?

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by widowbryant, Oct 19, 2011.

  1. widowbryant

    widowbryant Monkey+

    Hello wise folks,

    Well, it's almost time to invite Sir Loin to dinner.

    We plan on butchering him in a few weeks, and have decided that a tripod is probably the best method for us to be close to the house and the hose. But that means we're going to have to build one.

    Anybody done this? I can see photos, but nothing of the whole thing. What I need to know is:

    1. How high? (how long the legs of the tripod) This will be a 15 month old Jersey bull, not a big beefer. But he'll be long, I'm sure.

    2. What wood to make the legs out of. Trees? 4x4's?

    3. How to attach the top of the tripod to each other. Chain? Lag bolts? Other?

    4. Best pulley setup? Chain vs rope? I'll probably be hooking the other end to the bumper of my truck, cause I'm afraid the winch on my 4 wheeler will lift the 4 wheeler off the ground with the weight of the animal. But truly, I have no idea of how much he weighs.

    5. Do I need to "set" the feet or anchor them somehow? Does the tripod move when hoisting? Is it sturdy?

    Thanks so much for your sage advice. I sure do appreciate it!

  2. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

  3. widowbryant

    widowbryant Monkey+

    Ahh yes thank you. I read that one with great interest. I think I have the butchering part down - at least in my head. There's tons of info on the all over the web.

    Now I need the "building the tripod" part. Can't seem to find hardly anything on that. And all the photos only ever show part of it, and never talk about how to build one. Sure would hate to hoist him and have it all come tumbling down for lack of knowledge.

    This'll be an experience, I'm sure. *smiling*

  4. teeter

    teeter Monkey+

    no trees nearby? No big building, etc, you can put a big bar or post protruding out of ? put a rope around his nose, hobble around his rear hocks,and walk him over to his gallows.
  5. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

  6. widowbryant

    widowbryant Monkey+

    Unfortunately, the land I'm on was once prepared for timbering, so all the trees have no limbs till 30 feet up. Only found one place on 15 acres that I could even hang a swing *smiling* and even that was a poor excuse for a branch.

    So a tripod it will be. I'm going to fell some smallish trees tomorrow. Next off to Harbor Freight for a look at some pulleys, or block and tackle. Probably use chain instead of rope, as it seems to be what folks use in the few photos I can find on the net. They must have some sort of chain lock pulley. Got to look into that. I'm trying to figure out how tall the apex of the tripod will have to be to get him off the ground when all stretched out, even missing some of his parts.

    I like the idea of the hobbles and twitch. Albeit he's still somewhat of a baby and perhaps he'll just come along with some grain. I'd like to make this as calm as possible. The biggest issue will be separating him from my Highland cow , who will probably want to come with him if she sees the grain.

    Now to figure out the best way to connect the poles together at the top to they separate into a triangle at the bottom. Angles, angles...
  7. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    we used to just do them on the ground
    you can gut and skin it with the hide keeping it off the dirt
    then cut him into mansized chunks and carry him away

    as for how high? try 15 or more feet to the bottom of your pulley
    just to be safe
    youre lifting a lot of weight so 4x4's may not hold it unless they are good hardwood
    then drill thru all 3 and run a big bar or pipe thru all 3
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I'd agree.....4x4 is too light. At 15 months, you're looking at 1,000 to 1200 lbs most likely live weight.

    Got a neighbor with a decent sized tractor with front loader ? We've done that before.

    Personally, I plan to set up a real place for it before my next one.....pc of I beam along with a trolley and hoist in a covered shed. Also putting a scalding vat in it for my hogs.
  9. widowbryant

    widowbryant Monkey+

    Thanks for all your replies...

    Beast, when you process them on the ground, do you skin before or after gutting?
  10. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    guts go first, right along with the balls
    get those out and away before skinning
  11. widowbryant

    widowbryant Monkey+

    Oh that's funny, but I forgot about his balls. All of the tutorials and videos I've seen are steers. Guess it would be best to get them out of the way right up front. Specially on this bull. Otherwise I couldn't see what I'm doing....

    We just might end up on the ground with him. Finding trees large enough to get him off the ground is proving difficult.

    And how even to lash the top together so it will support weight?


  12. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Becky, go back in the archives, monkeyman posted pix of his gantry arrangement for deer. Might be some useful info there you can use. If you hang that thing clear of the ground, you are also going to need a scaffold to reach the high stuff.
  13. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    if you skin and quarter on the ground
    you can hang the pieces inside to cool or clean
    doin a bull, id take off the hind legs first and hang them
    then the shoulders and hang them
    next strip out the tenderloins and saw off the neck
    whats left after that can be carried off in pieces and stripped
    use what ya strip off the ribs for hamburg, jerky or stew meat
    be sure you strip the tallow and keep it separate from the other fats
    it has way too many other uses and its hell to eat

    btw, if you are skinnin it on the ground
    only skin the part youre removing next
    doing so helps keep it all clean while you work
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