What Are the Different Types of Scaffolding Supplies?

Dan Cavallari

Building a scaffolding structure requires a fair amount of scaffolding supplies, including the materials used to make the structure as well as tools to do the erecting. Scaffolding pipes are the foundation for any structure, and they come in three varieties: standards, ledgers, and transoms. Couplers are used to connect these pieces together, and other scaffolding supplies such as platforms, stairways, ladders, and casters are used to complete the overall structure. Hoists can be used to lift materials to the higher levels of the structure, especially during construction of the scaffold itself.

Scaffolding levels should be equipped with planks.
Scaffolding levels should be equipped with planks.

Standards are the vertical pipes of the structure. Many standards can be stacked upon each other and joined together using couplers, which are key scaffolding supplies that hold all pipes together. Ledgers are horizontal crosspieces that connect between standards, and transoms are smaller pipes oriented perpendicularly to the ledgers. Platforms, or wooden planks, are usually laid across several transoms so the workers have a space on which to stand or walk. Some couplers are specially designed to swivel so any of the pipes being connected can be oriented at any angle in relation to each other.

Scaffolding workers must not be fearful of heights.
Scaffolding workers must not be fearful of heights.

Some specialized tools are necessary to build the structure, and these are some of the most important scaffolding supplies. Podgers, for example, are tools used to line up the bolt holes between two pipes. These long, thin metal levers are inserted into the bolt holes and leveraged to lift the upper pipe until it lines up with the lower one. Once in place, the podger can be removed and a bolt can be inserted and tightened down using a wrench. Sometimes the other end of the podger will feature a hammer so the user can push the bolt through the holes quickly. In other cases, the other end of the podger can be fitted with a ratchet wrench for tightening down bolts.

Accessories useful on a scaffold include hoists, casters, tool buckets, stairs, and ladders. These scaffolding supplies are usually rented or purchased along with the other, more basic scaffolding supplies necessary to complete the scaffold. Hoists lift materials, with or without a motorized pulley. Casters can be mounted to the bottom of smaller scaffolding structures to allow workers to move the entire scaffold quickly and easily. The casters can be locked in place once the scaffold is in position. Tool buckets are often tied or otherwise secured to the pipes of the scaffold so they will not fall; they can be used for a variety of purposes, including holding tools or other materials.

Numerous accidents can occur if the scaffolding structure is not completely stabilized.
Numerous accidents can occur if the scaffolding structure is not completely stabilized.

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Discussion Comments

Lise Raev

This is a great post; very informative. I also share Roy's confusion, though. I could use some help on what a scaffold wrench is.

Roy Slater

Could you explain more about what a scaffold wrench is? I'm not sure how it is different from any other wrench. A little help would be great.

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