Build a PVC fruit picker
One of the great pleasures of the late-summer and fall seasons is the availability of fresh fruit, such as pears, plums, apples, persimmons and crabapples. If you’re like me, you like to let things mature on the tree and pick them at their peak of ripeness. Since I’m a klutz, and ladders and I have a bad track record, when picking fruit I’ve been primarily limited to whatever I could grab within arm’s reach. That’s where a homemade fruit picker comes in handy. You can have delicious fruit without shaky ladders or chairs, and while spending much less time in emergency rooms and casts.
Enjoy the fruits of your acrophobia
With the added 6 feet of reach, there is little fruit that will escape your greedy, and now lengthy, picking arms. The PVC picker also is handy for gently pulling down branches for inspecting and handpicking fruit. The razor cutter allows you to pinpoint the fruit you want, while minimally disturbing or damaging unripe fruit on the same branch. Longer handles can be easily made for taller fruit trees; however, storing and transporting the picker becomes an issue. — P.J. Perea
- 2-foot section of 3-inch PVC pipe
- 3-inch PVC pressure test cap
- 5-foot section of ½-inch metal conduit
- two ¼-by-1-inch flat-head machine screws and nuts
- razor blades
- duct tape
- heat gun or propane torch
- drill and 5⁄16-inch bit
Here’s how to make a fruit picker for about $10.
- Trace a triangular pattern for the fruit picker on the PVC pipe. Reserve 12 inches of pipe to hold the fruit and the other 12 inches of pipe to create the picker probes.
- Cut off half of the PVC pipe to make it easier to cut the triangular probe.
- Cut the probe and make a 6-inch slit to create the probe fingers.
- Heat the pipe carefully just above the bottom of the slit. Don’t scorch or set fire to the PVC; it will damage the pipe and release toxic fumes. Use a piece of scrap wood or pliers to carefully bend the probe forward and separate the probe fingers.
- Allow the PVC to cool.
- Bend a razor blade carefully and affix it to the probe fingers with duct tape, so the blade is cutting at a slight downward angle. The razor blade also can be permanently mounted to the probe with small screws or hot glue.
- Hammer a 4-inch section of metal conduit until flattened to create the handle.
- Drill two mounting holes into the handle.
- Transfer hole measurements to the bottom of the PVC picker, opposite the probe.
- Drill holes and affix the handle to the picker body with ¼-inch screws and nuts.
- Attach a 3-inch PVC pressure test cap on bottom of fruit picker.
- Create a hinge for the cap with duct tape.
- Place a plastic grocery bag, washcloth or piece of sponge inside of the fruit picker to cushion the fruit as it falls into the body.
- Release the fruit by opening test cap or dumping it out of the top. Enjoy!