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Thread: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

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    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    I'm adding 2 medium sized (10 foot) mega trees to my show this year. Do you think 2" schd 40 pvc would be strong enough for these? Will I need guy wires?

    Thanks,
    Vic
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    Vic, my philosophy is PVC pipe is for plumbing and steel is for structural. I would use guy wires regardless. Lots of people don't and lots of people's stuff blows over. My megatree is 21' high and 1 1/4" black iron pipe with guy wires. Ten feet is high enough to catch the wind. The lights will weigh a lot too especially if you add more in the future.
    Al

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    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    Al, thanks. I'll give it some more thought. It gets windy up here in Rougemont (Red Mountain). I'm sure you remember the tornado that came through recently. PVC can get real brittle at 20 degrees too. I'm just thinking about the ease of working with PVC. Does Lowes sell 1 1/4 metal pipe in 10 foot lenghts? I could concrete a 1 1/4 coupling in the ground with a 2' nipple on it or a 2' sleeve to just drop the pipe into, then I would need a 12' length. Hmmmmm, thinking, thinking...
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    I'm not sure about Lowe's. You could get a long pipe and cut it in half. I have a pipe threader from for 1" and 1 1/4 inch. If you use BIP or galvanized, you can use a flange at the top for the tiedowns or for a star.

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    Professional Net Lurker Jack Stevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    Vic -

    Al to the contrary, I've used the same 10 foot 2" PVC pipe for my megatree for the last two years. I drive one of those U-shaped fence posts into the middle of my garden area, since it's not a garden at that time, and lift the 10 foot pole over the top of it. Definitely guy it. I didn't the first year, thinking the lights would fill that need, and it blew over shortly after New Year's day - no, didn't put it back up.

    My top-of-pipe topper is made of wood, and probably weighs a good 20 pounds, if not more - two octagonal shapes cut from a 2x12" screwed together with the grain going different directions, held onto the pole with a 2" PVC drain grate. Makes for a quick and fairly simple megatree. Much more than 10', though, I'd agree with Al, use metal.

    I read on (I thnk) DIYC where someone is using 1" schedule 40 for a 20 foot tree; guyed up at mid point and top. I guess it could handle the compression of the weight of the top and lights, but I'd be concerned about shear (sideways) stress. He said he'd been doing it for years, though.

    Also, you may want to consider a "portable hole" - a concrete base, about 3'x3', 6" or 8" deep, that you could stake down and drop your bip into. At the end of the season, you could move your "hole" out of the way. From my perspective, as long as the upright can handle the compression from the weight of top and lights, and the guys can handle the shear attempts caused by wind, almost any product can be used. Take into account off-season storage and make your decision.

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    This subject has been bandied around all of the forums. I have seen photos of several PVC megatrees broken but only 1 steel tree broken and it was William's. I forget William's reason but it had something to do with ice if I remember correctly. If ice forms on the wires the weight increases several fold. Guy wires will not help in that case as the weight is pushing down on the pipe and it will try to break in the center if I remember from statics and dynamics (which I sucked at BTW) and sheer becomes moot. The price of steel vs. PVC is not that different.

    Steel is threaded which means that you can use flanges and stuff. There is a thing called a bunn foot which is a part of a staircase railing and is sold in Lowe's. This wooden bunn foot makes a great place to screw in hooks for the strings. The bunn foot can be easily attached to a pipe flange that screws on the end of the steel pipe. BTW Vic, we will have a TASL welding workshop next year for a shuttle that will ride up a steel pole with cables and pulley and makes erection of the lights easy. I believe we will also build knuckles that allow the pipe to swing into place easily.

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    God Bless America victory402's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    Very good gentlemen...I do believe I will go with pvc for this year and wait for the TASL meet to construct a one of those 20 footers for next year or maybe 2.

    Great advice, thanks,
    Vic
    RED MOUNTAIN LIGHTS

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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    Vic,

    My 20 footer is 1 1/4" steel pipe. I also in the past (not last year) but in 08 built a 10 footer using 3" PVC set over an 8 foot fence U post. No guy wires. Put a toilet flange on top to hook the lights to and to hold the star. Only used red and green M6 LEDs on it that year. Here is a crappy video that shows it about 1:08 into the video


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    www.tennholidays.com

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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    With 3" PVC and a toilet flange you could put a toilet up there and it would hold it. That is unless the weather was icy and your toilet wouldn't flush then crappy things happen to your megatree.

    Do those big, white stars indicate you are a Dallas Cowboy's fan? With Walter it would.

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    New Member turnemd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    This is my 10 ft and 20 ft Mega trees and they are all made out of 1" EMT Galv. 10ft conduit sticks. The 20 ft tree is guy wired from the top and in the middle and has withstood 40-50 mph Oklahoma winds. I did put a 1" oak dowel between the 2 10 ft EMT sticks to help make the joint stronger.


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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    portable hole with transporter-portable-hole-transporter.jpg
    are you sure we checked every bulb?why is that one pixel staying on
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    This space for rent. Al in Raleigh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Will 2" pvc be strong enough for a 10' tree?

    Quote Originally Posted by mpurser View Post
    portable hole with transporter-portable-hole-transporter.jpg
    That ain't my ex-wife's car.
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