Make a Forked-Limb Bootjack

Make a homemade forked-limb bootjack, a hardwood wedge that makes removing muddy or tight-fitting footwear easy without having to sit down.

| July/August 1982

Building a forked-limb bootjack makes history of tussling with tight-fitting footwear. 

Make a Forked-Limb Bootjack

It used to be that almost any farm house or stable was considered ill-equipped unless it had a bootjack . . . a little hardwood wedge that allows a person to slip off muddy or tight-fitting footwear without having to sit down and wrestle with it.

Nowadays you seldom see the handy devices except in riding apparel shops or on the pages of old-timey catalogs. However, if you'll be tromping through clay-caked pastures—or shoveling out some stalls —this summer, it's a good idea to cobble up one of the practical bootpriers and station it conveniently outside your back door.

First, find a stout green hardwood branch with a fork that's just a little bigger than one you'd use to make a slingshot. Try the notch out for size by fitting it around the heel of your boot . . . the "V" should grab the back of the footgear snugly.

After you've located a promising limb, saw the two prongs of the "wishbone" to a length of about seven inches each. Then make a diagonal cut across the other end of the stick, at a point nine or so inches from the crotch. Next, find a scrap block of 2 by 2 hardwood (a short, sturdy piece of another branch would work, too) to use as a brace . . . which will be attached underneath the Y-shaped bough.

Fasten the "step" to the tail of the limb slightly below the fork, using a screw or a nail (it's best to make a pilot hole to avoid splitting the wood) . . . or simply lash the components securely together. The riser should elevate the device just enough so that when the bootjack is placed on the floor, you can get a boot heel into it easily.

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