How to Build a Scaffold

Written by jay p. whickson
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When you build scaffolding following the directions below, use it on level ground so it will be stable. Scaffolding for uneven ground needs adjustable legs to compensate for uneven turf. The beauty of the scaffolding you build below is that you can remove the bolts at the top and bottom corners and loosen the one in the centre so the scaffold scissors for easy storage.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • 4- by 8-foot 3/4-inch plywood board
  • 2- by 8-inch by 8-foot boards
  • 2- by 4-inch 6-foot boards
  • Drill
  • 3/8 butterfly or spade bit
  • Circular saw
  • Hand saw
  • 6-inch 3/8 stove bolts
  • 4-inch 3/8 stove bolts

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  1. 1

    Cut two 6-foot by 30-inch pieces of 3/4-inch plywood. Consider 6 feet the height and 30 inches the width. Measure in from the right edge 3 1/2 inches on the 30-inch side and mark the spot. Do the same at the opposite end. Connect the two marks with a line that spans the 6-foot side. Do the same on the left end of the 30-inch side. Measure up from the bottom on the 6-foot side 3 inches. Mark it and do the same on the other side. Draw a line to connect the two points. This should create an interior rectangle with the bottom edge as one side; it should be 3 inches high on both sides and 23 inches across. Cut it out using a circular saw. Finish the inside corners with a hand saw. Do this at the other end and on the other piece of plywood.

  2. 2

    Measure up 18 inches from the top line of the area you just cut. Draw a straight line across the width at that point. Draw another line across the width 6 inches up from that spot. Measure up another 18 inches. Draw a line across. Finally, measure up 6 inches and draw another line. The top line should be 18 inches from the newly cut-out area at the top. You should have formed two rectangles measuring 6 by 23 inches, with 18 inches in between them. Cut out the rectangles.

  3. 3

    Clamp a 2- by 4-foot board to each 6-foot side of the plywood. Turn the two so the plywood is on top. Connect the two with 1 1/2-inch galvanised screws every 6 inches starting 1 inch from the top.

  4. 4

    Mark a spot 5 5/8 inches from the top and in 3/4 inches to the middle of the narrow side of the 2- by 4-foot board connected to the plywood. Drill a hole through the board using a 3/8 spade bit, sometimes called a "butterfly bit." Do the same to the opposite end. Continue on the next 2- by 4-foot board until you have them all drilled 5 5/8 inches from each end.

  5. 5

    Cut two 2- by 4-foot boards to a length of 9 feet 4 inches. Mark 2 7/8 inches from the end of the board. Measure across the 4-inch width and find the centre, at 1 3/4 inch from the side. Locate the point where the two intersect. Drill a hole at that spot through the board with the 3/8 spade bit. Also drill the other end in the same fashion 2 7/8 inches from the end and 1 3/4 inches from the side. Do the same with three other boards. These boards are cross braces to stabilise the scaffold and hold it together.

  6. 6

    Stand up the end pieces so the cut-out section is on top and bottom, and is 6 feet high. Line up the hole on one end of a cross brace to the top hole on the board hooked to the plywood. Connect the two by driving a 6-inch 3/8 stove bolt through the two and tighten with a washer and nut. Connect the bottom of the cross brace to the hole in the bottom of the other plywood board on the same side so it forms half an X. Then connect a cross brace to the top of that side with the stove bolt, and hook the other end of the cross brace to the bottom side of the first board. You should have an "X" made with the attached boards between the two pieces of plywood.

  7. 7

    Attach two cross braces as you did on the opposite side of the scaffolding. Find the centre point where the cross braces overlap in the middle of the "X," drill through both with a 3/8 spade bit, and put a 4-inch 3/8 stove bolt through the centre. When you use it, lay 2 2- by 8-inch by 8-foot boards side by side on the appropriate level. Slide them into the slots in the plywood when you use the scaffold.

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