How to Build Wood Scaffolds

Written by adam raphael
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How to Build Wood Scaffolds
Make a wooden scaffold to use during construction (New Home image by Ryan LeBaron from Fotolia.com)

Scaffolding is a supporting construction made from wood or metal, mostly steel. It is basically an elevated multi- or single-level working platform that can support a needed amount of weight (people, material, machines). Scaffolds are temporary structures that can provide support and help while building, painting or doing any kind of construction work. Whether you are making a large wood scaffold for construction work or a smaller one for a paint job, the principles of building a wooden scaffold are the same.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter's level
  • Wood pads
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Power drill
  • Screws
  • 2x8, 2x10 or 2x12 wood planks
  • 2x4 wood boards
  • 1x6 wood boards
  • Ply wood or OSB panels

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Prepare the location for your scaffold structure. Remember that the surface has to be clean, dry and level, no matter if it's inside or in the outdoors. Having a wall to put the scaffold against is the best and safest option as this will support the scaffold.

  2. 2

    Make a plan or a quick sketch for the wood scaffold so you know where and how to start building. Measure the area you want to cover with the scaffold and plan all the dimensions accordingly. The parts of the scaffold on the inside are close to or attached to the wall, and the parts on the outside are free and further from the wall.

  3. 3

    Place a wooden plank on the ground and check if it's completely level using a level. This will be one of the sills for the scaffold. This plank will be positioned at the bottom of the inside of the scaffold frame. If it is not level, place wood pads under it to make it level. Make sure that the sill is secure and firm on the pads.

  4. 4

    Position the inside posts of the scaffold against the wall. Tie the post to the wall with wood cleats and attach the sill to the posts at the bottom with nails. Use 2x8, 2x10 or 2x12 for the posts. Place the posts every 10 feet of the scaffold length. Start with two posts at one end and then plan the layout and disposition of the rest of the posts. Use a circular saw to cut the wood posts and boards to fit the measurements of your scaffold.

  5. 5

    Nail the 1x6 board to the top of the posts. Position the board 3 to 4 inches from the top edge of the posts and then hammer in nails to attach the board to the posts.

  6. 6

    Place the bottom sill of the outside part of the scaffold on the bottom of the scaffold posts. Make sure that the two sills are totally parallel. Nail the sill onto the post with a hammer.

  7. 7

    Connect the outside and inside posts with 2x4 boards attached to the sides of the posts. Use screws to attach the board so you can easily disassemble the scaffold later. The boards should be installed at the same height, since they will be holding the platform. Use a level to check the horizontal boards.

  8. 8

    Install the 2x6 wood boards over the boards that connect the posts. The boards should be positioned horizontally. These will hold the walking platform.

  9. 9

    Place the plywood or OSB panels above the 2x6 boards and secure them with screws. Let the panels go over the edges at least 15 inches on all sides.

  10. 10

    Mount diagonal braces to add stability to your scaffold structure. Use 2x4 or 2x6 wood boards and nail them to the posts in a diagonal position.

Tips and warnings

  • Check your local rules and regulations for building a scaffold on a job site.
  • Follow all the safety guidelines for constructing a wood scaffold and make sure that the materials are approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • Be very careful when working on high places, especially on a temporary structure such as wood scaffold.

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