Weekend Project: DIY Stilts

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Weekend Project: DIY Stilts

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Build your very own pair of peg stilts that will let you see the world from new heights. From Craft, Volume 08. Thanks to Molly Graber and Chris Merrick.

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Rise to new heights with these custom built peg stilts.Thanks go to Molly Graber & Chris Merrick for the original article in CRAFT, Volume 08.
To download The DIY Stilts MP4 click here or subscribe in iTunes.

Check out the complete DIY Stilts article in CRAFT, Volume 08 “DIY Stilts”
and you can see that in our Digital Edition.

15 thoughts on “Weekend Project: DIY Stilts

  1. k-twizel says:

    Caveat: I have never worn stilts other than the 4″ cups with the stings that were popular when I was young…

    That being said… the design looks great but I was looking at the placement of the ‘shoe’ and it looked a bit far to the rear on the support plate (looking at the video).

    Also, since it all looks pretty modular, keep the top section and remove the bottom ‘stilt’ to make a shorter stilt (maybe 4″ for starters :) ) and work up to something taller…

    just my $.02

  2. yachris says:

    Kip’s a reasonable guy here.

    I was *extremely* lucky to have a maker dad when I was a kid, and he made me a pair of stilts. These were the ‘old’ kind, which just had a foot-rest you stood on, and came all the way up behind your shoulders.

    He made two foot-rests, in fact, on opposite sides of each stilt; the first one was six inches above the ground, the second about two feet above the ground (if memory serves… this was about 35 years ago!)

    The nice thing? I wasn’t strapped in in any way, so I could hop off in case of a loss of balance.

    The ones Kip made look something like the ones professional wall-board hangers wear to wall-board ceilings. Notably, they have foot-shaped pieces at the *bottom* of the stilt, presumably to give you more balance than just standing on the end of a 2 x 2.

    1. feh says:

      the stilts you speak of are called “drywall stilts” (as I’ve seen them, anyway) and they not only have a foot-shaped pad at the bottom, but any motions you make with your feet are replicated at the pad that touches the floor. you can stand tippy toe for example, and the pads you step on and the pads that touch the floor both reflect your tippy toe stance. conversely, if you step on something, you can feel it. you can run on those stilts. they’re awesome.

  3. DBautell says:

    Several things:

    One stilt? C’mon. That’s asking for trouble. Of course it’s unstable.

    Stilts should protect your kneecaps with some sort of padding. _When_ you fall, you want to land on your knees first. Falling over backward would shatter your tailbone. Trying to catch yourself with your hands will shatter your wrists and your face. So you land on your knees, and therefor want some padding there.

    Start small. Three feet up is a long, long way up for a first time.

    The stilts I built in wood shop (having already put in my time with the circus) had the upper support in front of the knees, with padding, and straps around behind. The best way I found to get on them at home was to sit on top of a car. I talked about lumber selection beforehand with the shop teacher, and if I remember correctly, we came up with yellow pine because it was strong and light enough, and he ordered a plank for me.

    Traction is nice. Don’t walk unfinished stilts on marble floors. You can affix a bit of bicycle tire to the bottom ends. If you don’t, at least wrap some tape around the bottom, because walking on concrete will cause the wood to split in an un-fun manner.
    Also, watch it in the turf. Soft soil and critter caves can really screw up your stroll.

    Your supports must be tight. Your supports must be tight. Your supports must be tight. Ever get that lecture about tying your skates properly so you don’t break your ankle? Well, clearly stilts have more leverage than a rollerblade could ever dream of. A loose binding means extra torque on the other one. Losing a binding means you fall down, and you have no say in how you land.

    Finally, once you stand up, keep moving your feet. You can’t “stand still” on peg legs, but walking around is easy. Really, really easy.

    Do it. Good times.

    1. lampwort says:

      Some very good points there, but there is one glaring error in the film. The position of the foot when strapped to the stilt.
      Before securing the footplate and shoe to the stilt you need to experiment with balance. For a start the ankle bone should be just behind the upright. Then you need to put the stilts on with assistance and feel for the balance. As little as half an inch difference in the for/aft positioning of the shoe can be the difference of comfortable stilting, or always wanting to fall either forwards or backwards. The ideal position is to be able to stand upright (with support assistance) on both stilts and feel comfortable.
      Only then should you fasten the shoe/footplate to the stilt

  4. Larry says:

    I, unlike Kip, was not born with a sense of self preservation. Therefore it was not a stretch to find me with a pair of crutches when I was about 12 years old.

    After my previous injury was healed I needed to figure out what to make with those crutches. Why not a pair of stilts?

    I took the crutches and unscrewed the single 2″ by 2″ wood piece that acts as the bottom of the crutch. Turned the what was the top part of the crutch upside down, used the armpit end as the foot of the stilt and put my feet on what used to be the handles.

    I then took a neck tie and tied what used to be the middle of the crutch to my shins.

    Surprisingly, these worked very well. I got to be so good with them that I could even walk up and down steps. Eventually one broke, luckily it did not result in the need for another pair.

  5. pegstilts says:

    LEARN to JUGGLE, ride a UNICYCLE, walk on STILTS, etc

    Come to the Portland Juggling Festival!

    Sept 24-26th, 2010 at Reed College in Portland, OR

    FREE Stilt Walking Workshop taught by Kricket from PegStilts.com on Saturday!

    More info at: http://www.pegstilts.com/classes.html

    Not near Portland? Buy stilts and learn with your friends, hire Kricket to come to you or schedule a lesson!



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