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Forum topic by SawDust132 posted 01-05-2015 01:02 AM 791 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1238 days

01-05-2015 01:02 AM

Hello! I am building a conductor stand for a pot orchestra for my Eagle Scout project. I am nearing the design phase and I wanted to ask a community of experts. I have attached some pictures and I will outline some of the major details. If you could leave a comment, I would appreciate it! Whether it be telling me that all looks good, giving me an alternative way to do something, or anything else, I will appreciate feedback!

I’m 17 and don’t have tons of woodworking skill. I can use a nail gun and drill pretty confidently. I’ve taken a lot of engineering classes so I’ve got the math side covered. I would say for being 17 I have more experience than most kids my age however nowhere near a professional industry knowledge. I will also be working with 2 individuals who have each been in the wood industry for 30+ years. My ask for questions and comments is more geared towards structural stability, is this a logical design etc etc, however I wanted to add a brief blip about myself. Tools aren’t an issue, I would have access to probably 8 drills and about the same number of saws.

The Basics:
65×42 inch deck
58 inches from the ground to the deck
40 inch railing
Using 2×6 for the deck framing
Using mending plates on the diagonal supports
Using carriage bolts to secure the deck frame to the legs
The legs are 2 2×6s in an L shape

That’s about all I can think of off the top of my head.

Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion!


4 replies so far

View 95greeny's profile


3 posts in 1284 days

#1 posted 01-05-2015 04:08 AM

Hello Sawdust,
Good project to tackle, and it looks very stout. Is it a permanent structure?. My only thought is the stairs look steep. From the drawings with no dimensions the risers look a bit tall for the treads. You need to consider people using the stand and how easy it is to climb. Make sure the hand rail is at the correct height also.

Good luck

-- Joseph

View runswithscissors's profile


2751 posts in 2024 days

#2 posted 01-05-2015 04:26 AM

You only need 2 drills—one for each hand. 2×6s in an EL configuration is more than amply stout, overkill, really. Unless some real behemoths will be standing up there.

I would say that virtually everything there can be done with a circular saw (handheld). A powered miter saw would work very well, except that long pieces become problematic unless you have helpers to take care of the long offcuts. I would use deck screws to hold everything together. You can use bolts at some of the critical corner joints, for added strength.

I suggest Simpson ties, of various configurations, rather than mending plates (the Simpson version of the mending plate is more robust).

With the crosswise planking of the deck, there is no need for the underneath cross braces (look like joists in your drawing). The 42” span is nothing for two-bys, though with a single “joist” running lengthwise, you’d deal with any weaving or flex of the decking. But not necessary, in my opinion.

Admittedly, I like making everything just barely strong enough to do the job. Keeps things interesting.

I assume a pot orchestra will be consuming a lot of weed (legal in Washington, now, but not for 17 yr olds). You might want to make the railings plenty strong, if the conductor will be joining in this pot fest, or if he (or she) is the behemoth.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3070 days

#3 posted 01-05-2015 05:57 AM

It really just looks like a small deck or playground, so you can look at deck and playground plans to get an idea what is necessary. Generally you don’t want the rise of a step to be greater than 7”. You can find stair calculators online. If it is a permanent structure, your city may require you to build it to code. Even if it isn’t required, you may want to look at the codes anyway because they specify a lot of useful information such as rise and run of steps, height of handrail, footings buried below the frost line, etc.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View SawDust132's profile


2 posts in 1238 days

#4 posted 01-06-2015 02:35 AM

Well, I don’t know the exact legal term for “permanent structure” but I’ll give it my best. This is not being set in the ground, it will be a structure that sits on a floor. Furthermore, it will be moved on occasion in order to make room for some other stage rigging equipment. This is a stand alone structure which is actually designed to be able to be taken apart and transported if need be. The jist: I personally wouldn’t classify it as a permanent structure, but I’m not the government.

If it really isn’t a permanent structure, do things like railing spacing still apply? I know that some OSHA stuff applies to anything period, but since most construction code is for permanent structure, I was wondering. Please trust that my first priority is safety, however it would be super nice not to b

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