When we first conceived of the idea of adding a drawbridge to our Medieval themed haunted forest, we envisioned a simple wooden bridge with some spooky chains. But as I'm sure many of you know, "simple" ideas rarely stay that way when left in the minds of people who have the desire to create. Before we knew it, we had a fully working drawbridge complete with sound and burning torches. And we did it all with borrowed and recycled materials. However, we left the cost at medium, because depending on how much scrap material you have available, the cost could be anywhere from free (as it was for us) to very expensive.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
Our first mission was to find something to use as the drawbridge itself. We had one weekend to finish this project, so we didn't want to build anything we could scavenge or borrow. We found an old sliding door from a derelict barn that worked perfectly (although we did have to add some reinforcement on one edge because of rotten wood). You will need to cut two holes in one side of the door (whichever side will be the top with the drawbridge closed), one on each edge big enough for a large chain to pass through-2"-3" diameter should do it. (We used a small chainsaw to make the cutout, but a hole saw or reciprocating saw would work well also.) If you don't have access to an old barn, we will include a step at the end on replicating the door using dimensional lumber. As for the frame, we happened to have some leftover material from a bridge building project. We used pressure treated 8" x 8", 3" x 12", and 6" x 6" timbers. This is where this project could get very pricey. Try to find as much scrap lumber as possible. It doesn't have to be these exact dimensions, but if you want the stability and ominous feeling ours possessed, then it should be close. The chains we used were heavy 3/8" binding and tow chains. If you don't have any heavy chains yourself, maybe you know someone who owns some heavy machinery who would loan their chains out. Some other options might be pawn shops, second hand stores, and metal recyclers. The metal screens we used on the sides of the drawbridge were bought (for another project) at a metal recycler.