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Expert Q&A: Installing and removing tent stakes

On the Job | December 1, 2015 | By:

Q: How can I use tools to install and remove tent stakes more easily and safely?

A: Tent stakes are an important part of most tent rental businesses, regardless of the type of tent used, from pole tents to engineered structures. Installing and removing tent stakes can be the toughest aspect of the job unless you use some readily available tools to reduce the workload.

The most common but least productive tool for both installing and removing tent stakes is a 10- to 16-pound sledge hammer. With practice and skill, an installer can use the hammer to drive the stakes into any surface, and then use the same hammer to pull the stakes out after the job is done by striking them on all four sides and pulling stakes out by hand after they are loose. This method requires the use of safety glasses, gloves and steel-toed boots to protect the installer’s eyes, hands and toes from metal fragments and missed blows of the hammer.

Installing stakes is much easier and more efficient if you use a gasoline or pneumatic powered driver. These devices come in many shapes and sizes ranging from heavy construction-type jackhammers to lightweight purpose-built gasoline powered stake drivers. All will have special cups or chucks designed specifically to hold the business-end of the driver securely to the stake head. Safe use of these devices also requires eye, hand, hearing and feet protection. The work is much easier on installers because an engine is doing the pounding.

At the end of the job, the stakes must come out of the ground with the least amount of damage to the ground or asphalt and to the stakes themselves. Mechanical stake pullers have been around for many years. Efficient lightweight stake extractor designs allow operators to pull the stakes quickly and safely, without back strain and surface damage. Several hydraulic pullers are on the market to make easy work of the biggest jobs. With either type, keep your fingers out of the working jaws!

An investment in stake drivers and pullers offers a great return in profit by allowing crews to do more jobs with fewer labor hours and far fewer injuries.

[ By Robert Anderson, president of Construction Accessories Inc., Waynesville, Ohio, manufacturer of the JackJaw® line of stake extractors, ]

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