Log Pallet Bridge
I used power tools and devised a simple but solid construction of a log pallet combination bridge. I had all the correct PPE and had First Aid Kits and communication should an accident occur. I strongly advise you to work in a minimum team of 2.
I worked alone, however my family knew where I was.
I was confident and knew my own skill level and experience to build the log pallet bridge.
Please be safe when working with tools and power tools and be mindful when working with and around trees and logs.
I shall not instruct you on how to use power tools, my advice is to get someone that is experienced in the use of power tools to assist you.
My brother in-law has a forest and recently a few years ago he had half of it cut.
The forest is on a hill with burns ( small streams) which run through it. Through logging for fire wood I made and established a path as high as I could reasonable go upwards towards the uncut forest.
There was one natural obstacle which was a narrow but deep burn. It was enveloped in prickly sharp gorse bushes and when wet the grassy sides were slippy.
I chose a spot for bridging which would afford a suitable flat even area as possible to bridge across, and also to offer a spectacular view looking North of the Highlands.
Important Points To Note
- I had his permission to build a bridge on his land
- I had gained local knowledge of the terrain and looked for ready to use healthy dead wood for building.
- I did extensive research into wooden / log bridge construction which is fairly easy to do using a web search engine.
I was happy and confident with the tools and power tools I would be using to construct the bridge.
Tools & PPE
When using the chainsaw and brush cutter;
Chain Saw Boots
De-barker blade and handle
Galvanised Nails ( Various sizes )
Pot of Cresote
Chicken Wire Mesh
4Wooden Pallet Tops
4 Wooden Logs ( of suitable length)
Spray Paint (Yellow / White )
*Nice if you have them, broken concrete parts of a wall or boulders
First Aid Bag
Mobile Phone Radio
Sweets / Candy
Duration To Construct
If I were to count up the time I took to build the bridge, and if you had the perfect weather, including the time taking to walk the materials and tools up the path, and to cut the logs, and preparation of the site, I would say 8 - 10 days.
I carried the construction out over a period of a few weeks.
For me the preparation and construction of it wasn't a race for me, I took immense enjoyment of the challenge to build it and satisfaction of seeing it completed.
Step 1: Preparation of Bridging Site and Routes
For the bridging site I used a brush cutter to clear the gorse bushes and grass. I also cut the grass of the short route of the path and track to the area and back of where I would be moving the cut logs between the bridging site and cutting area of the logs.
I cleared the area around the fallen logs for cutting.
I did this for safety and ease of cutting and moving the logs, also it gave me a clear area for building at the bridging site.
Step 2: Marking Out the Bridge Area
The first thing I did was bring up the pallet tops, yellow spray painted wooden stakes and rope to mark out the exact bridge area.
I used a hammer to bang the wooden stakes into the ground.
I then started to dig the foundations on either side of the burn.
Step 3: Digging of the Foundations
I started to dig out the foundation of the bridging areas on either side of the burn.
I used a spirit level to assist me in getting the dug ground flush and straight as possible. The downward side of the dug foundation would be lower than the upper side of the foundation, as the wooden beams of the bridge would be held against the side to prevent the logs moving.
The stones and boulders I dug up I kept and put into a pile close but not too close to the dug foundations, I would re-use them for drainage.
Step 4: Chainsawing / Logging
I then went to cut the logs from the deadwood I would use for the bridge beams. I had already checked the logs were not rotten.
I cut the logs with assistance of the tape measure, I made sure the length I measured would overlap both sides of the burn when I measured the gap with the distance taking from between the back walls of the dug foundations.
I also cut 4 restraining logs.
I then shifted the logs over to the bridging site using the log tongs. I stacked the logs near the foundation on one side but leaving enough room for working. I also spray painted on the logs warning against climbing on them.
Step 5: Founfdation Drainage and Restrainer Logs
My friend had by chance demolished his concrete garden wall so I gladly took the broken parts to act as the bed of the foundation of the bridge. I placed them evenly and placed 2 of the restrainer logs on them on either side of the burn. I then filled in the gaps and the ground of the foundations with stones and boulders. This helped with drainage and assisted in making the restrainer logs be more stable and solid from moving.
Step 6: Cresoting the Pallet Tops
Before moving on further I decided to paint the tops and wooden sponsons ( I installed them to enable theconstruction of bannisters in the future).
As they would be drying I could carry on with the other phase of the bridge ( debarking and laying of the log beams).
Step 7: Debarking and Laying of the Log Beams
I used my debarking blade and log tongs to manipulate the logs for debarking and as I debarked the logs I placed them over the burn resting on the wooden restrainer logs on the foundation I had placed earlier.
The first log I put was on the downward side of the foundations, assessing and making sure the first log would not roll downward. Thus the importance of digging the foundations deep enough with the installation of stones and the restrainer logs to prevent the slippage of the bridge.
This process was repeated as many times as necessary to complete the bridge.
I did not then walk across the logged bridge as this would be dangerous as the logs could be slippy.
Step 8: Laying the Wooden Pallet Tops and Sponsons
I laid the logs as stable and as flush as possible with the other logs.
Though there was unevenness along the logs.
I therefore provisionally laid down the sponsons and pallet tops to see how they would fit onto the logs and slot in.
I improvised with wooden wedges to fill the gaps and take up any slack. The pallet tops were done one by one, I filled the gaps between the pallet / sponsons and the logs where it was required. Then I moved on to the next stretch of logs for flooring.
It took 4 pallet tops as I had measured this before hand when marking out the bridging area. The pallets are 120 by 100 in width and diameter. Depending on your burn you may need more or less.
I used galvanised nails to hammer in the pallets and sponsons.
Once complete I cresoted the bridge again, painting over the sponsons, the pallet wood and the wooden wedges.
Step 9: Chicken Wire Mesh for Grip
I recycled the section of chicken wire mesh which had been taking off from a dismantled dog kennel. I tacked this down onto the wooden pallet floor.
This was done on a wet day so I was on my hands and knees as I rolled out the chicken wire as I went forward. I had knee pads on.
I also had wire cutters to trim the chicken wire mesh.
Step 10: The Bridge and I
The bridge is about 480 cm long and 100cm wide.
The wooden pallets and wooden sponsons rest on healthy pine logs.
I wore the correct PPE when I was constructing the bridge and not what I am wearing in the photo.
Thank you for reading and looking at my Log Pallet Bridge Construction.
If you have any queries, questions or comments please let me know, if anyone has already built a log bridge and has any suggestions for bannisters / railings I would be delighted to hear.
I hope this has helped anyone considering thinking about or about to build a wooden log bridge to assist them in their endeavour.
I built this bridge a few months ago at the end of summer in Scotland, the next page is photos I took of it in this winter. I took a few photos of the snowy bridge.
Step 11: Snow Covered Bridge
I found I had good grip with the chicken wire mesh and the way I constructed it, allowed the snow and ice to melt for the water to drop straight in to the burn below.
Step 12: 4 Months After the Snow
I went up to check on the bridge after 4 months after the last time. The bridge is still as strong and sturdy as before. It should hopefully last a few years.