How to Build a Gin Pole

by Carlos Mano; Updated September 26, 2017
Gin poles are like having a hook in the sky.

Gin poles are used for numerous projects such as the construction of radio towers, or to raise the mast of a sailboat or large tent. Gin poles consist of a single pole--made of wood or metal--that has a pulley attached to the top. It is usually secured with guy wires.

Select a proper pole. Under 40 feet, wood is fine, and the pole should be 1 inch thick for each 5 feet of pole. If the pole is over 40 feet, it should be metal. A hole--one foot deep for each 20 feet of pole--should be dug for the pole. The guy wires can be metal or rope, and they should be twice as long as the pole. Four guy wires are best, but if space is limited, three will do.

Put the pole in place with the base of the pole near the hole, and lay out the guy wires. Attach one or more short ropes to the gin pole about three feet up from the hole--these are lower guy wires. Attach the upper guy wires to the top of the pole. Attach the pulley near the top of the pole. For wooden gin poles, you can use rope to attach the pulley. For metal gin poles, nuts and bolts should be used.

Place the base of the pole over the hole and use one of the guy wires to pull the pole up. Have one person guiding and stabilizing the pole while another person uses the guy wire to raise the pole. Upper guy wires will attach to the ground at a distance about 1.7 times the length of the gin pole, and should be secured with stakes. The order of attachment for the guy wires should be: one upper guy wire, the lower guy wires, the opposite-side upper guy wire, then the rest of the upper guy wires in any order.


  • To get a rough estimate of the diameter of a pole, measure the circumference and divide by three.

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