Homemade Wooden Bridges From Trees

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While there are many types of bridges, it can be immensely satisfying to build your own right at home with the resources you have available. One of the earliest types of bridges, the friction bridge, requires nothing more than a few pieces of wood. You should take care that the bridge will be able to withstand the pushing and pulling forces of whoever walks across it. Choosing the right wood that is dense enough to support a heavy weight is critical to safety.

Things You'll Need

  • Wooden logs
  • Saw
  • Rope (optional)

Selecting the Proper Trees

  • Choose trees that are uniform. Uniform trees will be approximately the same width and length.

  • Inspect the trees for any irregularities or large protrusions such as branches and knots. You may want to remove these prior to constructing the bridge.

  • Cut a minimum of three long pieces of wood. They should be of equal width and length. Ideally, you should cut as many trees as you need to ensure a wide enough bridge for your purposes. The total diameters of each piece added together will determine the width of the bridge.

  • Cut four short pieces of wood of approximately equal length. The minimum length needs to be a foot longer than the total width of the bridge. The short pieces must also support the weight of both the long pieces and whoever crosses the bridge.

  • Cut four leg pieces. While you should initially cut these pieces the same length, you may need to shorten some of them when constructing the bridge if you find that the ground is uneven.

Construct the Bridge

  • Hold the long pieces of the bridge together so that they are horizontal. If you are placing your bridge across a river or other obstacle, have someone help you hold the long pieces in place. Alternatively, you can prop up both sides with two objects of equal height.

  • Place two short pieces near one of the edges of the bridge, one a few inches below the edge of the long pieces and one two or three feet from the edge on top of the long pieces. Placement may vary depending on bridge width and length.

  • Place two leg pieces between the short pieces you set in step 2. The leg pieces should go under the short piece near the edge and above the short piece closer to the center of the bridge.

  • Repeat steps 2 and 3 on the other side of the bridge.

  • Tie together any loose parts to secure the bridge. If you used equal lengths of wood with rough bark, you should not need to worry about the bridge slipping apart. The closer your leg pieces are parallel to the ground, the less you will need to worry about additional support.

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  • Photo Credit bridge to the jungle image by petar Ishmeriev from Fotolia.com
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