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  #1  
Old 03-31-2011, 07:30 PM
JimmyFlair JimmyFlair is offline
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Building a skyscraper - how do you remove the last crane?

I've been watching this building go up from my office window for the last year or so:
http://www.calgaryherald.com/Cranes+...068/story.html
and it's had three cranes on the top until last week. I've been curious as to how they get the cranes off the building once they're done.
I assume that the cranes on the building lower the components of the disassembled ones, but what about the last one?
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  #2  
Old 03-31-2011, 07:32 PM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is online now
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You leave it in the basement as the building's boiler and hire the crane operator as a janitor.
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2011, 07:50 PM
Zsofia Zsofia is offline
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I heart you.
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:57 PM
ZenBeam ZenBeam is offline
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That only works with steam shovels. The crane becomes a TV/radio tower.
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  #5  
Old 03-31-2011, 07:59 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is online now
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You disassemble it and helicopter it off the roof in pieces.
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  #6  
Old 03-31-2011, 08:04 PM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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I can't tell what kind of crane it is from the picture, but for most tower cranes, you don't take it down from top to bottom. There's a special part with jacks in it that lets you insert and take out pieces of the crane. So, if the crane were a tower of blocks all of the same shape stacked on top of each other, you take the crane down by taking blocks out closer to the bottom, shortening it that way, and not from the top down. The last little bits usually come down using a crane on some sort of vehicle.

Now, if there are several cranes, they sometimes use one of them to erect and take down the others, but the last one usually goes the way I've just said.

Last edited by RadicalPi; 03-31-2011 at 08:05 PM..
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  #7  
Old 03-31-2011, 08:12 PM
Bijou Drains Bijou Drains is offline
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They normally use a portable crane to help set up a tower crane. I guess they could use it to take one down too.
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  #8  
Old 03-31-2011, 08:47 PM
JimmyFlair JimmyFlair is offline
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I've been watching that building to see how it might be done. Last week there were 3 cranes, then a thick fog covered the city for days. The fog cleared - TWO cranes left! I have to believe that the construction company is messing with people like me who give this WAY too much thought.
RadicalPi, I'm trying to envision how this might work. Is the base of the tower kind of jacked up, and sections taken out?
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:03 PM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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Ah, others that remember Mike Mulligan.
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  #10  
Old 03-31-2011, 09:04 PM
stockton stockton is offline
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Here's a nice overview I just found:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/tra...ower-crane.htm
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  #11  
Old 03-31-2011, 10:59 PM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimmyFlair View Post
RadicalPi, I'm trying to envision how this might work. Is the base of the tower kind of jacked up, and sections taken out?
I'm notoriously bad at these sorts of verbal explanations, but I will do my best. Going back to my blocks stacked on top of each other metaphor, imagine that the block at the bottom is bigger than the others, but that it is also cut out so that a block can fit inside the bigger block, and also, there is a cut out in the bigger block so that you can stick a block in from the side. At the bottom of this bigger block, outside where the block would go, are hydraulic jacks. So, first, you take the stack of blocks with the last block inside the big block. Then you jack up the whole thing. Then, through, the side you insert the next block. Then you lower the jack, and repeat.

Now, turn this whole thing upside down, except for the arm of the crane, which remains on the top, and use the crane to lift each block to where the jacks are, and that's how it's done. Doing it this way keeps you from having too much weight to jack up, and allow you to attack the crane to building itself, but sometimes, they do it from the bottom, I'm pretty sure. Let me know if this doesn't make sense.

To take down the crane, do all this in reverse. Remove a block, lower the hydraulic jacks, and repeat.

Last edited by RadicalPi; 03-31-2011 at 11:02 PM..
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  #12  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:33 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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I don't think this applies to the crane in that picture, but I once watched a building being erected, not too big, less than 10 stories, and the tower for the crane was located in the center where the elevator shafts were. I heard it said by several people that the tower actually became the structure for the elevator shaft, but I have no way to confirm that. I did see them remove the horizontal part of the crane, disassemble it into a few large pieces that were lowered to the ground using a small crane (basically a winch on a short beam attached to the roof somehow). There was no sign of the tower being removed, but it could have been disassembled internally out of view.
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  #13  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:44 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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The tower cranes that everyone is referring to I don't think come into play here. They can dismantle themselves, sure, but they would still be on the roof. I always figured they either brought in a bigger crane and lifted it off, or they broke it down into small enough pieces that they could bring it down the temporary elevator that they have built into the side of the building. If neither of those options work, they could use a helicopter.
Don't forget, you see that one crane, but there's going to be other heavy equipment up there as well that they have to deal with. Cement mixers, compressors, generators etc...

Last edited by Joey P; 03-31-2011 at 11:45 PM..
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  #14  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:50 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RadicalPi View Post
I'm notoriously bad at these sorts of verbal explanations, but I will do my best. Going back to my blocks stacked on top of each other metaphor, imagine that the block at the bottom is bigger than the others, but that it is also cut out so that a block can fit inside the bigger block, and also, there is a cut out in the bigger block so that you can stick a block in from the side. At the bottom of this bigger block, outside where the block would go, are hydraulic jacks. So, first, you take the stack of blocks with the last block inside the big block. Then you jack up the whole thing. Then, through, the side you insert the next block. Then you lower the jack, and repeat.

Now, turn this whole thing upside down, except for the arm of the crane, which remains on the top, and use the crane to lift each block to where the jacks are, and that's how it's done. Doing it this way keeps you from having too much weight to jack up, and allow you to attack the crane to building itself, but sometimes, they do it from the bottom, I'm pretty sure. Let me know if this doesn't make sense.

To take down the crane, do all this in reverse. Remove a block, lower the hydraulic jacks, and repeat.
Here's a 30 sec video that get's the point across pretty clearly. It leaves details out, but it will help make the jump from "How, wait, what?" to "Ohhhhh, got it"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ilob...eature=related

If you want to learn more, just keep your eyes open for Modern Marvels or a similar show on Cranes or Sky Scrapers or something like that, they usually have a section on how tower cranes build themselves.

Last edited by Joey P; 03-31-2011 at 11:51 PM..
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  #15  
Old 03-31-2011, 11:51 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Somewhat-related note - we live on the north end of town, and you can see that frigging tower from EVERYWHERE. Man, that thing is big.

I'll ask my husband if he wants to come in here - he watches cranes go up and down on his job on occasion (he works with a construction management company).
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  #16  
Old 04-01-2011, 03:45 AM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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Part of me wants to say "Unscrew the bolts holding it onto the roof and give it a good shove."
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  #17  
Old 04-01-2011, 10:52 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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How do they disassemble the cross-arm? Do you take out one section, then a chunk of counterweight? and re-jig those guy wires?

I can see where it would be real simple to hook up a temporary small crane arm on the roof that just lowered the big crane pieces over the side...
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  #18  
Old 04-01-2011, 11:01 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
How do they disassemble the cross-arm? Do you take out one section, then a chunk of counterweight? and re-jig those guy wires?.
I can dismantle itself all the way down to the ground and from there you should be able to do it with ground equipment (small skid mounted cranes etc). As for balancing, don't forget, once everything is assembled, mounted and the counterweights are in, it's stable enough to pick up a load and move it all the way in and out without tipping, so I assume you could dismantle it (and take out the counterweights as you go) without too much trouble.
ETA, or you can cheat and when you get low enough to the ground use a regular crane to pull the top off.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoCmm...eature=related

Last edited by Joey P; 04-01-2011 at 11:03 PM..
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  #19  
Old 04-02-2011, 01:21 AM
Dread Pirate Jimbo Dread Pirate Jimbo is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Somewhat-related note - we live on the north end of town, and you can see that frigging tower from EVERYWHERE. Man, that thing is big.

I'll ask my husband if he wants to come in here - he watches cranes go up and down on his job on occasion (he works with a construction management company).
Cat Whisperer's hubby in to make some comments from the perspective of someone who has worked on several projects involving tower crane erection and dismantle...

Quote:
Originally Posted by stockton View Post
Here's a nice overview I just found:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/tra...ower-crane.htm
The piece on tower erection is a reasonably accurate description of "centre climbing" the mast. As also noted by RadicalPi, basically, you separate the mast and insert a new section to grow it taller and then pull those sections out as you take the crane down. This is fairly common and routine for erection and disassembly of a crane that has been placed outside the footprint of the structure it is building. If, however, the crane is placed inside the footprint of the building, this isn't possible during the teardown, since the upper sections of the crane will no longer fit into the building as the crane gets lowered. So another solution is needed.

But let me start at the start. Pretty much without exception, the crane is initially assembled using a mobile crane which stacks the mast and jib to as high as the project initially requires it to be. Mobile cranes can reach quite a staggeringly high distance in some cases, so you can build quite a tall tower crane right from the ground. If there is never a need to extend the height of the tower crane, of course this will also be the way the crane comes back down once it is no longer needed. Here's a pic from one of my former jobs, back in 2007, of a mobile crane putting up a mast for one of the tower cranes that was used on the project. The video in Joey P's post above also shows the dismantle process beautifully.

In cases where it is decided to build the crane inside the footprint of the building, the typical way to raise the crane is by jacking it up. Once the building's height has caught up to the minimum operating height of the crane, a heavy duty jacking system mechanically raises the whole kit 'n' kaboodle a few stories, then resets it at that that new height. This is what has been done with the cranes on The Bow tower in the OP. In the case of The Bow, when it comes time to take down a tower, the tallest crane will be used to dismantle and lower the jib pieces and then extract the pieces of the mast bit by bit from the building itself. When only the final tower crane is left, there are two options to take it apart: either use a helicopter to pick the pieces and bring them down as suggested by dolphinboy, which is very risky but sometimes makes sense, or build a temporary davit arm on the roof of the building tall enough to pick the jib and then the mast pieces. As the davit arm is typically assembled with the help of the tower crane it just helped take down, another smaller davit arm must then be put up to take the first one down, and so on until all the construction parts are gone.

Putting up or taking down a tower crane is a surprisingly quick operation, typically requiring anywhere from a half day to two days, so they do seem to appear out of thin air and disappear just as quickly. But I have to say, I never get bored watching the process happen -- it's really cool!
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Last edited by Dread Pirate Jimbo; 04-02-2011 at 01:26 AM..
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  #20  
Old 04-02-2011, 08:04 PM
Fiendish Astronaut Fiendish Astronaut is online now
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How will they get this one down? I don't think the explanations above cover it (not in my mind anyway):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aguichard/5319980202/
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  #21  
Old 04-02-2011, 08:35 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post
How will they get this one down? I don't think the explanations above cover it (not in my mind anyway):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aguichard/5319980202/
I can see two options with that. One way is to lift it off with a helicopter, based on the budget that building has, that's probably how they'll do it. The other option is to dismantle it and lower it down through the center, possibly abandoning the last parts of it on the roof.
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  #22  
Old 04-02-2011, 08:37 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
I don't think this applies to the crane in that picture, but I once watched a building being erected, not too big, less than 10 stories, and the tower for the crane was located in the center where the elevator shafts were. I heard it said by several people that the tower actually became the structure for the elevator shaft, but I have no way to confirm that. I did see them remove the horizontal part of the crane, disassemble it into a few large pieces that were lowered to the ground using a small crane (basically a winch on a short beam attached to the roof somehow). There was no sign of the tower being removed, but it could have been disassembled internally out of view.
On some buildings I've seen, that small crane you mentioned ("winch on a short beam attached to the roof somehow") is used for supporting the platform used by the window washers, and is stored permanently on the roof.
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  #23  
Old 04-02-2011, 09:15 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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The same could be asked...how does the first crane go up? These things are modular, but what lifts the modular pieces into place to begin with? I assume a helicopter is the only answer.

Last edited by Jinx; 04-02-2011 at 09:15 PM..
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  #24  
Old 04-02-2011, 10:49 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Jimbo View Post
Cat Whisperer's hubby in to make some comments from the perspective of someone who has worked on several projects involving tower crane erection and dismantle...



The piece on tower erection is a reasonably accurate description of "centre climbing" the mast. As also noted by RadicalPi, basically, you separate the mast and insert a new section to grow it taller and then pull those sections out as you take the crane down. This is fairly common and routine for erection and disassembly of a crane that has been placed outside the footprint of the structure it is building. If, however, the crane is placed inside the footprint of the building, this isn't possible during the teardown, since the upper sections of the crane will no longer fit into the building as the crane gets lowered. So another solution is needed.

But let me start at the start. Pretty much without exception, the crane is initially assembled using a mobile crane which stacks the mast and jib to as high as the project initially requires it to be. Mobile cranes can reach quite a staggeringly high distance in some cases, so you can build quite a tall tower crane right from the ground. If there is never a need to extend the height of the tower crane, of course this will also be the way the crane comes back down once it is no longer needed. Here's a pic from one of my former jobs, back in 2007, of a mobile crane putting up a mast for one of the tower cranes that was used on the project. The video in Joey P's post above also shows the dismantle process beautifully.

In cases where it is decided to build the crane inside the footprint of the building, the typical way to raise the crane is by jacking it up. Once the building's height has caught up to the minimum operating height of the crane, a heavy duty jacking system mechanically raises the whole kit 'n' kaboodle a few stories, then resets it at that that new height. This is what has been done with the cranes on The Bow tower in the OP. In the case of The Bow, when it comes time to take down a tower, the tallest crane will be used to dismantle and lower the jib pieces and then extract the pieces of the mast bit by bit from the building itself. When only the final tower crane is left, there are two options to take it apart: either use a helicopter to pick the pieces and bring them down as suggested by dolphinboy, which is very risky but sometimes makes sense, or build a temporary davit arm on the roof of the building tall enough to pick the jib and then the mast pieces. As the davit arm is typically assembled with the help of the tower crane it just helped take down, another smaller davit arm must then be put up to take the first one down, and so on until all the construction parts are gone.

Putting up or taking down a tower crane is a surprisingly quick operation, typically requiring anywhere from a half day to two days, so they do seem to appear out of thin air and disappear just as quickly. But I have to say, I never get bored watching the process happen -- it's really cool!
So - kicking it off the side is the last choice?
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Old 04-02-2011, 11:54 PM
Dread Pirate Jimbo Dread Pirate Jimbo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiendish Astronaut View Post
How will they get this one down? I don't think the explanations above cover it (not in my mind anyway):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aguichard/5319980202/
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
I can see two options with that. One way is to lift it off with a helicopter, based on the budget that building has, that's probably how they'll do it. The other option is to dismantle it and lower it down through the center, possibly abandoning the last parts of it on the roof.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey Finn View Post
On some buildings I've seen, that small crane you mentioned ("winch on a short beam attached to the roof somehow") is used for supporting the platform used by the window washers, and is stored permanently on the roof.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
The same could be asked...how does the first crane go up? These things are modular, but what lifts the modular pieces into place to begin with? I assume a helicopter is the only answer.
To answer all your questions at once, that crane, which is a "luffing crane," is exactly like the ones in the OP and will be taken apart using a big-ass temporary davit arm system put up on the roof of the tower. A davit arm is that "winch on a short beam" that is usually found on building roofs to raise and lower swingstages for the window cleaners. The luffer has a jib that can be raised and lowered to bring the load closer or farther away from the structure, which is slower than a typical tower crane, but much more versatile. When they take it apart, the jib will be lowered to horizontal and dismantled section-by-section by workers using the davit arm to grab and lower the pieces, after which the mast will be taken apart the same way. No parts will be left in the building -- these cranes are worth a fortune and just leaving pieces behind is simply not an option.

The helicopter option is used infrequently, for a number of reasons. First, hooking up the parts and releasing them takes a lot of time and hovering the chopper in a completely stationary position for that long costs a ton in fuel. Second, if anything goes wrong -- the load becomes unstable, a sudden wind comes up, the pilot really has to pee -- the required operating procedure for the pilot is to cut the load free and save the helicopter. And dropping a couple thousand pounds of steel onto a downtown street or neighboring building from a dozen or more stories up results in a TON of follow-up paperwork, which is very inconvenient.

Finally, as I noted above, to initially erect one of these cranes, it is typically done right at ground level, using a mobile crane, to get the tower its initial hundred feet or so of height, after which it is raised, using one of the methods I noted earlier, as they build the structure up around it.
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  #26  
Old 04-02-2011, 11:56 PM
Dread Pirate Jimbo Dread Pirate Jimbo is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
So - kicking it off the side is the last choice?
Yeah, that method requires a call to OSHA to report it and a bunch of paperwork that no one wants to do. Major hassle!
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  #27  
Old 04-02-2011, 11:57 PM
RadicalPi RadicalPi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dread Pirate Jimbo View Post
Cat Whisperer's hubby in to make some comments from the perspective of someone who has worked on several projects involving tower crane erection and dismantle...

The piece on tower erection is a reasonably accurate description of "centre climbing" the mast. As also noted by RadicalPi, basically, you separate the mast and insert a new section to grow it taller and t
Putting up or taking down a tower crane is a surprisingly quick operation, typically requiring anywhere from a half day to two days, so they do seem to appear out of thin air and disappear just as quickly. But I have to say, I never get bored watching the process happen -- it's really cool!
Thanks for the details!
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  #28  
Old 04-13-2013, 01:18 AM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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Ah, others that remember Mike Mulligan.
We're nothing if not neat and square.
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  #29  
Old 04-13-2013, 01:21 AM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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Originally Posted by cranecrews View Post
we removed our one at work today, i made a step by step how we removed the tower crane along with 33 photos, if you like it please leave a message. I will be putting one up next on how we install a tower crane (a bit of the same really just in oppisite order :/) as well as how we service the tower crane.
enjoy

http://www.cranecrews.com/1/post/201...wer-crane.html
Cool, thanks for sharing that.

I found a better animation for the self-erecting type.
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  #30  
Old 04-13-2013, 06:26 AM
Bullitt Bullitt is offline
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Guys, what's with the zombie thread resurr-erections? Military chinstraps... now cranes.

Last edited by Bullitt; 04-13-2013 at 06:27 AM..
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  #31  
Old 04-13-2013, 09:07 AM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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zombies or no

i thought cranes could fly.
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Old 04-13-2013, 02:20 PM
The Second Stone The Second Stone is offline
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zombies or no

i thought cranes could fly.
Cranes can fly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crane_%28bird%29
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  #33  
Old 04-13-2013, 03:31 PM
Bullitt Bullitt is offline
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Well, okay, maybe... but Ichabod Crane cannot fly.
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Old 04-13-2013, 03:51 PM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Guys, what's with the zombie thread resurr-erections? Military chinstraps... now cranes.
This a good zombie. Expert shows up with good, if not better cites and explanations.

I have an ATMB coming up on this thread....


ETA: maybe Frasier can.

Last edited by Leo Bloom; 04-13-2013 at 03:53 PM..
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Old 04-13-2013, 08:44 PM
Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove is offline
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Ah, others that remember Mike Mulligan.

A once proud man, he spends the rest of his days in darkness, living in a cellar, doing menial work, surrounded by his guilt and Mary-Anne's twisted, deformed remains.
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  #36  
Old 04-30-2013, 06:16 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is online now
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This thread was bumped by a spammer whose post has been deleted. The first 27 posts were made in 2011.
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