Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Death-Rig

I've been intending to write something about the whole scaffolding situation at my in-laws house since I got done with the first round of work in July. My quote at the time was:

That's Larry tempting death by standing on a stepstool on top of 16 foot 2x12 planks, suspended across only partially secured 2-story scaffolding. (The scaffolding mess deserves a whole post of it's own)

Month's later, I finally get around to that 'post of it's own'. We're definitely working at Internet Speed here at soeck.blogspot.com.

Anyways, it is hard to get a good feel for how suspect the whole scaffolding was. This scaffolding picture probably gives the best look.

There are a number of things to notice here, all that compounded into my dubbing the scaffolding the Death-Rig.

First, see that concrete block in the middle of the bottom of the picture? The one that is approximately waist high? The whole scaffolding was built on top of piles of blocks, in order to level things out (as much as possible), and get the two ends to line up. Now, when I say level, Its not level like your desk is level. Its more like 'a pencil would roll off it, but not real fast' level.

Now, notice how the scaffolding in the upper left of the picture is bent way forward? That is because none of the scaffolding matched. Originally we had 5 sets of scaffolding, 3 borrowed from one person (we'll call them set A), and 2 from another person (we'll call them set B). The two sets didn't have the cross-brace pegs at the same place, so set A was wider when setup then set B. To make matters worse, two of the pieces in set B turned out to not be useable, one because it had nuts rusted onto 3 of the cross-brace pegs, and was missing the 4th cross-brace peg, and the other piece because it had a connector rusted into the top unevenly (meaning nothing else would sit straight on it). Thus we were left mixing and matching sets A and B together in anyway possible. The end result is what you see in the picture, where the second set of scaffolding on the left couldn't be fully connected because the cross-braces didn't fit. That end swayed if you breathed on it wrong.

On top of that rather perilous setup, we used two warped 2x12 planks, 16 feet long. If you just stood still, all was good. If you started moving back and forth (or someone else on the planks did), everything wanted to roll to one side or the other.

Then we had to use the pictured step-stool, which didn't have the level legs (what step-stool does). So it wanted to wobble back and forth too.

When you stack a wobbly step-stool on top of warped planks, held up by loose scaffolding, stacked on top of 3 feet of concrete blocks, you get a Death-Rig (tm).

[ An interesting side note: When Larry and I picked up the 2x12 16-foot planks in July from Linzy's Uncle, we moved them in Larry's short-box pickup truck (with a topper on it). Basically Larry sat in back on one end of the 16-foot planks, while the remaining 10 feet hung out the back. This sounds like a good idea, until you hit the first bump. It's not physically possible to drive slow-enough on back-country roads to prevent 10 feet of plank from bouncing up and down. I think he only hit his head on the roof of the topper once.... ]

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