• In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to make a pair of wooden stilts.

    1 Cut two lengths of wooden handrail to at least 6 feet tall each.
    2 Make a full-size paper template of the stilt sides and tops.
    3 Trace the templates onto ¾-inch-thick poplar hardwood; mark two sides and one top for each stilt.
    4 Use a circular saw to cut out the poplar sides and steps.
    5 Fasten two sides together with carpenter's glue and 1¼-inch (3d) finishing nails. Repeat for the remaining two sides.
    6 Pre-drill pilot holes into the sides, and then screw the parts together with 1¼-inch drywall screws.
    7 Pre-drill pilot holes in the tops and attach them to the sides using glue and 2-inch deck screws.
    8 Drill -inch-diameter holes through each side for two carriage bolts.
    9 Mark a centerline down the length of each pole, then mark bolt-holes every 4 inches along the centerline.
    10 Drill a -inch-diameter hole every 4 inches along both poles.
    11 Use a random-orbit sander to sand all edges and ends on the sides and tops.
    12 Hand-sand both poles with 120-grit sandpaper.
    13 Attach one step to each pole with a carriage bolt, fender washer, lock washer, and wing nut.
    14 Slip a rubber crutch tip onto the bottom end of each pole to provide traction.
    • About 1 hour to make one pair of stilts
    • $15 to $20 per pair of stilts
    • Difficulty: Easy
      only basic carpentry skills required, including using a circular saw and drill
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      Video Directory

      Selected Topic/Section

      Tools List

      • circular saw
        Circular saw, for cutting wood parts to size
      • drill
        Drill, used to bore holes and drive screws
      • Drill bit
        Assorted twist-drill bits, used to bore screw-pilot holes and through bolt-holes
      • hammer
        Hammer, for driving nails
      • random orbit sander
        Random-orbit sander with 120-grit abrasive disk, used to sand wood parts smooth

      Shopping List

      1. Wood handrail, used as the vertical stilt poles

      2. 1x8 poplar hardwood, for making steps for stilts

      3. Carpenter's glue, used to adhere together wood parts

      4. 1¼-inch finishing nails, for fastening together wood parts

      5. 1¼- and 2-inch screws, for fastening together wood parts6. ¼-inch-diameter x 3½-inch-long Carriage bolts, washers and wing nuts, for fastening steps to poles

      7. 120-grit sandpaper, used to sand smooth poles

      8. Rubber crutch tips, installed on bottom ends of stilts for increased traction