Boy Scout Cross-over Bridge

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Project by lysdexic posted 02-20-2012 02:33 AM 22294 views 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Boy Scout Cross-over Bridge
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My son crossed over from cub scouts to boy scouts a week ago. At the previous yearly cross over ceremonies the “bridge” used was basically a pallet with hand rails. It was very uninspiring. I volunteered, well over a year ago to build something a little more symbolic. Of course I waited until the last couple weeks to get it done. In fact, I ran out of time before I left town and the Den leader put the stain on. The hand “rails” were added when the possibility of the parents walking across came up.

The goal of this project was not to build fine furniture nor fine tune hand tool techniques. It was to build something fast, rough and cheap for 10 year old boys to walk across once a year. Otherwise, it will be stored in a storage trailer.

Design: In the spirit of the scouts I wanted the bridge to be a little adventurous. Thus, I designed a suspension bridge. The suspended aspect consists of 12 treads that represent the 12 points of the scout law. I wanted to learn how to rout the words into the treads but ran out of time.

The tension on the set of steps is offset by the 2×6 spans which are in compression. I used really long eye bolts so that they can be threaded easily without tension. The entire construct can be assembled/disassemble by one person.

Materials: 2×12s, 2×6s, 2×4s from scrap and from Lowe’s. The treads are 5/4×6” from Lowe’s.

Galoot Index: 2.5
Dimensioning = 0
Sub-assemblies = 0.5
Joinery= the only real joinery was in the legs which were sawed by hand
Final surfacing= 0.5 I used hand planes to trim. Smoothing was for the really rough areas limited to a jack plane.
Accents= 1.5 The steps were chamfered with a #5. The long 2×6 was chamfered with a spokeshave.

Thanks for looking

Getting started on the riser.

Sawing the legs so they are attached at an angle. Visually I think the angled legs are more stable. It would have much easier to attach them square. Also they looked too skinny so a glued a panel of scrap pine to the front of the leg. This covered the 2×4 laminations and increased their thickness.

This pic shows the heart of the project. The riser has a dado the the front face rabbet fits into. The leg is angled and half-lapped. A corner block for rigidity. THe eye bolt to tension the bridge and the 2×6 stretchers to keep the steps apart.

A joist hanger for the 2×6 stretchers

This show the basic skeleton and shows one tread to see how it will go together.

The treads were 5/4 pine and cut to length. I drilled a hole so that I could access the nuts of the cable clamps.

The edges were chamfered for safety.

Bracket was made to attach the cable clamps to the bottom of the tread. Unfortunately, the clamps raised the tread about 1/2” above the cable so I glued spacers for stabilty.

The final assembly and my supervisor

The steps were chamfered for safety using a block plane or jack plane. The stretchers looks “bulky” as plain 2×6’s so I took a little off the bottom with bandsaw then further chamfered to bottom and top with a Stanley 151 spokeshave.

The Big night…......

Thanks for looking!

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

23 comments so far

View yrob's profile


340 posts in 4536 days

#1 posted 02-20-2012 02:36 AM

Pretty cool project. The suspension bridge is a great idea.

-- Yves

View a1Jim's profile


118143 posts in 4461 days

#2 posted 02-20-2012 02:39 AM

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 3724 days

#3 posted 02-20-2012 02:50 AM

Most impressive, this should last these youngsters a long time. It looks as you toke great care and had some help building this bridge. He will remember it forever.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 4348 days

#4 posted 02-20-2012 02:56 AM

Great job DAD! Not only will this project last but so will the memories.

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16942 posts in 3502 days

#5 posted 02-20-2012 02:58 AM

Wow, a lot of great thought put into this project and well executed to boot. Love the suspension idea, never would have come up with that. Material fit and finish looks good, and the smiles say alot, too. Not sure what the cat’a thinking; always a tough read there. Either way, Kudos, Scott, well done!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View Brandon's profile


4380 posts in 3835 days

#6 posted 02-20-2012 03:34 AM

Way to go, Scott!

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View dubsaloon's profile


622 posts in 3677 days

#7 posted 02-20-2012 03:52 AM

Nice project! I hope you have lots crossover and make it as Eagle scouts.

-- The works of evil people are not the problem. It is the "Good" people standing by and watching not speaking up. Dubsaloon

View Brit's profile


8181 posts in 3726 days

#8 posted 02-20-2012 09:14 AM

What a great job you made of that Scott. Far superior to a pallet. Well done!

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View patron's profile


13710 posts in 4225 days

#9 posted 02-20-2012 09:49 AM

sweet and simple

a real treasure
for this solemn (and fun) moment

nice lines

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Don W's profile

Don W

19726 posts in 3451 days

#10 posted 02-20-2012 11:44 AM

very nice. What a way to bridge the gap.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View T. D. Reid's profile

T. D. Reid

275 posts in 3228 days

#11 posted 02-20-2012 12:18 PM

Great Job and Congratulations to your son on crossing over to boys scouts. It’s a big accomplishment for a young man. Cheers!

-- Head to the shop its calling you – Todd

View KevinH's profile


119 posts in 4691 days

#12 posted 02-20-2012 02:47 PM

Well done. My son and I were active in scouts from Tiger Cubs through age-out when he turned 18. Lots of great memories and shared experiences on the way to Eagle, even through the teenage years. The equipment and ceremonial props see a lot of wear and tear. Your project is likely to last for many years. Involving your son in it is the right way to do it.

-- Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance. --Kevin in Happy Valley

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3772 days

#13 posted 02-20-2012 03:08 PM

Here’s a suggestion to get the twelve laws incorporated into the project and help some scout pick up a badge in the process. Pyrography. Have one of them burn the letters into the span treads. Even better, one scout per tread. That gives twelve of them a shot at a badge.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Bertha's profile


13588 posts in 3577 days

#14 posted 02-20-2012 04:05 PM

This is my favorite project since I started LJ. I’m welling up. Truly exceptional and I can’t think of a better cause.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View lysdexic's profile


5348 posts in 3507 days

#15 posted 02-20-2012 05:28 PM

Nice suggestion Tiny. I will probably run with that one.

Al, people complain that they can never tell when I am serious or not. Well, I have that complaint about you. This is one of those times.

Thank you all so much for your kind words

-- "It's only wood. Use it." - Smitty || Instagram - nobodhi_here

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