How To Make a Hoisting Gambrel for Deer

For animal hunters who also process their own meat, a portable hoisting gambrel is an essential tool. It can be tied to a sturdy tree and lift dead animals for skinning. There are several models of pre-fabricated hoisting gambrels that can be bought in shops selling hunting equipment. But with some tools and materials found in your work shed you can fashion a hoisting gambrel for deer. Here are the steps in how to make a hoisting gambrel for deer.

  • Use wood that is quite strong to hold several pounds of dead weight of a deer. Oak, white or green ash will be quite ideal. It should be about thirty six inches long, five inches wide and about one and one half inch thick. It will be preferable if the wood you are going to use is already dry to eliminate shrinkage and warping,
  • Find some scrap plywood that is large enough to be the drawing board when shaping the gambrel. You will need this to find the center of the gambrel. Measure eighteen inches from the left edge of the drawing board. This will indicate the center or middle line of the gambrel. Place the edge of the wood for the gambrel on the bottom side of the drawing board and make sure that their edges are aligned. Clamp the ends of the wood to the drawing board. You will be creating something that resembles a simple yoke.
  • You will basically create a hanger with tapered ends and slanted points on both ends. There will be two concave dips from each end and a convex middle where a hole will be drilled to attach the hoist. In simple terms it will look like a smooth valley then a hill that dips to another valley on the other end. If you do not want to use a drawing board, you can draw the design on paper or cardboard. Take the length and width of the wood for the gambrel and measure that on paper. Fold the paper in half and draw one half of the design. Cut your pattern and place it over the flat surface of the wood and trace the outline. From the middle of the wood, measure three inches from the bottom edge and mark this spot. This will be were the center hole for the hoist will be drilled.
  • Use a jigsaw or a band saw to cut the shape of the wood, following the outline you have drawn. File the edges with a wood rasp to prevent splinters on the sides.
  • Drill the center hole with a one-inch diameter spade type drill bit. Drill only halfway of the hole from the top side. Turn the wood over, take the measurement and drill through the other half. This method will prevent the edge of the wood around the hole from splintering.
  • Use a sander to make both surfaces of the gambrel smooth. Sand also the edges to ensure that there are no splinters and rough edges. Wipe the gambrel with a clean and dry cloth. Apply two coats of varnish to preserve the wood. Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second and final coat. Attach the hoist to the hole you have drilled earlier and the gambrel is ready for use.

If you are going to use fresh wood for the gambrel you have to allow it to dry and age completely before using it. If you do not have oak or white ash, you can buy it from the lumber yard. Make sure that all the edges are smooth because rough edges can cause cracks to develop later. You can strengthen the hole by making it slightly bigger and insert a piece of pipe through it.


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