Competition Weightlifting Platform

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Project by Jeff Tobert posted 12-01-2013 05:59 PM 13492 views 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was the most massive project I have undertaken to date. It was a break away from furniture making into other areas of woodworking. I was asked to construct a 4 metre by 4 metre competition Olympic weightlifting platform for the Alberta Weightlifting Association. The association was looking for a less expensive platform (they can cost upwards of $20 000) that was more portable (the ones that are used in the Olympics are typically 3 sections at full length) so that it could be transported in a regular half ton truck. It was to be made of rock hard maple and be 3 inches thick. I have never ordered that amount of lumber before! As you can see in picture #2 it was about a lift and a half of 8/4 stock. The platform is constructed of 17 smaller slab sections where each section is constructed into a 3 inch thick butcher block bench top slab with the boards standing on edge. In order to bring the sections together into the full platform, holes were drilled into each board before they were glued up. The slabs are held together with threaded rod running through the platform into the opposite side of the center section. Picture #4 shows the slabs with the rod holes running through them. According to the rules of weightlifting, there had to be a 4 inch border around the entire platform, so I did that by carefully masking and scoring a line in the wood then staining the border on and then top coating the entire platform.

Here are some more pictures. Please feel free to comment and critique as usual

Set up and fit testing

-- All in or give in.

14 comments so far

View CL810's profile


3843 posts in 3132 days

#1 posted 12-01-2013 06:46 PM

Interesting build. And your website was worth the visit – nice work.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Jeff Tobert's profile

Jeff Tobert

64 posts in 3006 days

#2 posted 12-01-2013 08:53 PM


-- All in or give in.

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2625 days

#3 posted 12-01-2013 09:45 PM

Another Alberta boy. This project looks like one massive undertaking. Very likely you can compete on the stage after the build, with all the wood you worked through I’d think you could press 500 lbs easily now. Next project a basket ball court floor?

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View Jeff Tobert's profile

Jeff Tobert

64 posts in 3006 days

#4 posted 12-01-2013 11:37 PM

It was a lot of heavy lifting! I think I want through like 12, 55 gallon drums worth of wood shavings coming off of my planer and jointer.

-- All in or give in.

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1593 posts in 3395 days

#5 posted 12-02-2013 06:01 AM

Wow awesome job, I never knew they were made of wood. I know weight lifters drop there weights. I guess the wood is strong enough to with stand the weight of hundreds of pounds. Thanks for posting.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View Jeff Tobert's profile

Jeff Tobert

64 posts in 3006 days

#6 posted 12-03-2013 04:17 AM

Yup, they drop the weights. The plates are rubber and the weights bounce, but the wood is stable and strong enough to absorb and withstand it.

-- All in or give in.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 2079 days

#7 posted 12-03-2013 02:56 PM

That is one of the coolest, wackiest, and most unique projects I have ever seen on here. A very interesting build. Congratulations on your persistence and hard work. I just made 15 cutting boards for christmas and got tired of my jointer, I can’t imagine how you felt! Well done and I hope you were able to bring in a solid profit (I shudder to think of the bill when you purchased all of that maple). Keep it up!

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

346 posts in 2755 days

#8 posted 12-05-2013 02:44 PM

Wow! Super cool!

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View kennymoto's profile


1 post in 1765 days

#9 posted 12-18-2013 04:16 AM

Hey Jeff! May I bother you to ask what type of wood finish you used? I have a mini one that I just built but I’m unsure of what to finish the wood with. I live in southern California and its going to be in my garage . I’ve heard anything from putting nothing on it , a 2-in-1 Polyurethane/Stain, sealer at the least or a penetrating oil varnish at best, preferably Waterlox? What might a professional like you suggest? Thanks!

View Jeff Tobert's profile

Jeff Tobert

64 posts in 3006 days

#10 posted 12-18-2013 01:57 PM

The finish was a HUGE deal to the association! The feel of the platform under the feet is a major deal for a weightlifter. I left the slabs sanded to 120 grit out of my drum sander and this gave the wood a nice ‘tooth’ to it. It was grippy without being too grippy. When they came to test it out they loved the feel of the unfinished wood. Any film finish (Poly, laquer shellac etc) would definately detract from it, but they did want some moisture resistance. In the end we wound up using an exterior deck stain/protectant. It soaked into the wood nicely and should provide some moisture resistance while maintaining the feel of the platform

-- All in or give in.

View DocSavage45's profile


8699 posts in 2986 days

#11 posted 05-18-2014 04:48 PM


I just saw this.. It ain’t fine furniture, “but it sure is fine!” Impressive task, well done.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Constantine's profile


1 post in 1330 days

#12 posted 02-25-2015 04:40 PM

That is awesome project Jeff!

View eliko's profile


1 post in 474 days

#13 posted 06-30-2017 10:57 AM

Hi! Stumbled upon this great site, when searching for a DIY lifting plattform. I am about to start a project, building me a lifting plattform, at our cabin, and would do it by using in Norway, what we called 48×98 slabs.( cm )

You say:
The slabs are held together with threaded rod running through the platform into the opposite side of the center section.

So how are all those attached? Are they inside a frame or? I was thinking trying to do the same, and then my plattform is to be 3×2,5 meter. If i made slabs of 1 meter width, length 2,5. how do i hold those 3 slabs together as one?

In advance, thank for any answer/ideas!


North Norway

View Jeff Tobert's profile

Jeff Tobert

64 posts in 3006 days

#14 posted 04-10-2018 08:43 PM

Hey Sorry for the late reply, but the threaded rods go into embedded nuts at the end of the hole.

-- All in or give in.

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