Step 6: Building the deck

Picture of Building the deck
Once the bridge was in the air, the garden variety work of deck building got under way. 2x8x16 lumber for decking, 2x4x16 for the hand rails, 5/4x6x16 decking for the facing boards on the handrail system.

The handrail system is an integral part of a suspension bridge - the two handrails form the trusses that provide most of the rigidity to the bridge. Without the trusses, the bridge is an elevated snake. With them, it is incredibly stable.

To make the handrails into trusses, we placed cut-to-length 2x4s from the top of one handrail support to the bottom of the next, working our way from both ends to the middle. The bridge is all but unusable without adequate trusses - witness the failure of the Tacoma Narrows bridge, due entirely to insufficient stiffness.


Entirely unexpected was the genuine beauty of the bridge. Through what can only be sheer luck, the finished bridge is simply magnificent.

That is some project. I'm sure there are several special words used to get it all together.
g.petinati4 years ago
This is awesome!

I'm an architect and I can say that this bridge really brought something special to the property.

nfarrow4 years ago
Really cool. Do you have anymore images of the bridge?
Jakebutnottheone (author)  nfarrow4 years ago
One more, which I have added to this step as the last pic in the series.
RAF24 years ago

Very nice!

That is a lot of work, but the feeling of getting the job (well) done is priceless.

Jakebutnottheone (author)  RAF24 years ago
So priceless that two months later I am still kind of stunned!
ktkeith4 years ago
Fantastic project! Congratulations!

Just to be clear, though: there is no tension-adjusting mechanism on the vertical stays? You calculated the length of each stay assembly at each joist, built them to that length, and installed them that way without any further fine-tuning possible, is that right?

It obviously worked great, but what would happen if one of the assemblies was slightly off-length? And how do you deal with creep (stretch) in the suspension cables and vertical stays?

deetip20034 years ago
I am so beyond impressed. Would love to have one but participating in building one would surfice..lol. Great Job Jake.
BigAl674 years ago
I had felt pretty good about carving that walnut into a neckerchief slide, but after seeing what you've done, well that is just too impressive. I saw something similar done in Cambodia years ago but they had dozens of people working on it. Very nice Cheers!
Jakebutnottheone (author)  BigAl674 years ago
You've caught me reading online this morning! LOL!

I have been thinking about all the projects on this site, and all the things people do to make things, and I think that, large or small, it is the making, the creating, that is important.

I had an opportunity, and need even, the requisite skills and enough help and money to make it happen. There are many projects here for which I entirely lack the skills to make happen, and to attempt those projects would be beyond me.

It also helps, in a long project like this, that I am at my best with a deadline and when I obsess, both of which were true.
Dennis.x.i4 years ago
Nicely done, I love this project. But the suspension cable isn't secured to the pillars on real suspension bridges they hang over them and are secured to the ground behind the pillars to allow them to move so that the pillars aren't being pulled front to back(if I'm not mistaking). Although it probable doesn't make a difference on a bridge of this size , I thought I'd share it. :)
forgive me my English I'm from Belgium.
Rmal4 years ago
really cool!