The Stilt Tower

This is an impressive project when built. It is less complicated than some other projects but relies on the lashings being 100%. The four guys are essential and the pickets must be well in.


  • 2 x 5.5m (16ft) spars
  • 2 x 2.5m (8ft) spars
  • 5 x 2.0m (6ft) light spars
  • 4 x 1.5m (5ft) light spars
  • 4 x 1.2m (4ft) light spars
  • 16 x 2.0m (6ft) staves
  • 4 stout pickets
  • 19 lashing lengths
  • 34 lengths of light line
  • Rope ladder
  • 2 x 15m ropes for guys


Construct the main frame of the platform using the 5 x 2.0m light spars. Four form a square with the fifth in the centre. The layer of three spars support the staves which form the base of the platform.

Construct two pairs of sheer legs the height of the crutch being equal to half the width of the platform frame.

Stand the platform up on one edge so that the three spars are parallel to the ground. It is important that the frame is vertical.

Pass the smaller end of the 6m spars through the frame above the centre cross member, supporting the butt ends on the sheer legs. Make sure that the butt ends are the same distance from the base of the platform or your tower will not stand straight. The legs should project approx. 1.1m (3ft 6ins) above the platform frame.

Lash the legs to the side members of the frame. These lashings are crucial to the strength of the structure

Lash the 2 x 2.5m spars between the legs as cross bracing. The ends are secured with square lashings and, once in place, the two braces are lashed where they cross using a diagonal lashing.

The 1.2m spars form the uprights for the handrail. Using light lines, lash one in each corner of the upper layer of the platform frame, making sure that they extend at least 1m above the frame.

Lash 4 x 2m staves around the top of the handrail upright and the top of the support legs, again using light lines. They should be on the inside of the uprights so that they bear against them.

The remaining staves form the base of the platform – lash them with the light lines at either end, on top of the upper layer of the frame – they will rest on the centre spar but do not need fixing there. The staves should be as close together as possible and, as there are lots of them, you could use the Japanese lashing.

Attach the two 15m ropes to the top of the legs by using a clove hitch in the middle of the ropes, to act as guys.

Prepare a rope ladder long enough to reach from the platform to the ground and tie to the platform.

Remove the sheer legs and tip the tower so that the butts of the legs rest on the ground.

In line with each leg, dig a hole 300 – 450 mm deep into which the legs can slide.

Raise the tower by pulling the guys, allowing the legs to go into the holes.

Drive in pickets so that the guys go out at 450 to the tower. The guys need to be tight and you could use either a tent peg runner or a harvester’s hitch to tighten them.

Peg the bottom of the rope ladder down to make it easier to climb.

To download the complete plan and design document please Click Here

Note: Since the design of the project the principles of Health and Safety have changed dramatically.
Caution should be exercised to assess the risks associated with this build and especially regarding possible falls from height, so additional handrails or belays and harnesses may be required, depending on the height of the platform.

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls