Stand Construction: Design 1

This stand design was created with the specific intent of providing multiple bootblack stands for use at street fairs (SF Pride, Dore Alley, and Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco).

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2 back legs
1 front left leg
1 front right leg

back leg
Image 1: Back leg
(diagonal rear view)

Deck at junction with Front Leg
Image 2: Deck at front leg
(connection to back leg is similar)

Image 3: Left front leg

Image 4: Right front leg
(reverse angle)

The back legs each consist of a 2' tall four-by-four on which the platform rests. On two adjacent sides of the four-by-four is a double thickness of two-by-fours, which serve to hold the frame of the deck at the back corners (Image 1).

The back legs are identical and interchangeable to one another. The shorter two two-by-fours are 1'-8½" long, which is 3½" shorter than the four-by-four and the outer two-by-fours. This will allow the frame members of the deck (see below) to rest on the inner two-by-fours while the deck itself rests on the four-by-four (Image 2).

The front legs are similar to the back legs, except they have an additional pair of two-by-fours attached to one side to hold the step (Images 3 & 4). These inner of these two-by-fours is 8½" long while the outer is 1'-0" long. Again, this allows the frame members of the step to rest on the end of the inner two-by-four while the deck rests on the end of the outer two-by four. Note that the left and right front legs are mirror images of one another (here and in the photos, "left" and "right" refer to when one is standing in front of the stand, facing it). When the legs are positioned correctly with the cradle for the step in front, the other cradle for the side of the main platform will be out the outside of the leg (in Image 2, the front of the stand is to the right side of the photo)

In order for the step and deck frames to fit easily into the cradle formed by the two-by-fours, it is necessary to widen each cradle slightly. If this is not done, the width of the cradle will be exactly the width of the frame members and the fit will be extremely tight, particularly after the stands are painted. The added space is created by placing a small piece of metal called a mending plate in between the inner and outer two-by-fours in each pair (a total of ten locations; two on each leg at the main platform cradles and one additional location on each front leg at the step cradle). The mending plate is attached by wood screws to the inner two-by-four approximately 1" below the top of the shorter two-by-four. The outer two-by-four is then attached normally, taking care not to drive the screw into the mending plate. Mending plates are commonly found in the hardware section of most hardware stores. A ½" by 1" plate should provide sufficient clearance.

Image 5: Platform (underside)

The main platform consists of a 3'-0" x 3'-0" plywood or particle board deck (1/2" plywood or Multi Density Fiberboard (MDF) should be sufficient. MDF is less expensive, but has a tendency to wear along the edges more quickly than plywood.) The deck frame consists of two-by-fours in a square configuration with a two-by-four cross brace along the center axis (Image 5). The frame members are joined using 2½" or 3" wood screws and the deck is attached to the frame with 1½" wood screws.

Image 6: Platform (front view)

Two non-structural features are attached to the top of the deck (Image 6). A safety rail consisting of lengths of two-by-two is attached along the back and side edges of the top of the platform. Addtionally, a chair stop rail consisting of one length of one-by-two is positioned across the deck at about 24" from the front edge. This stop rail is positioned to hold a chair on the stand at a comfortable distance for the majority of users. Customers with particularly long or short legs may need to reposition the chair for maximum comfort, but about most clients are comfortable at that chair position.

Image 7: Step (front view)

Image 8: Step (underside)

Image 9: Step (side view)

Image 10: Step (at connection to front leg)

The step is a 1'-0" x 3'-0" platform that connects to the front of the stand. It provides a step for customers to climb up and down from the stand and a mounting point for two foot rests (see below). The step is constructed with the same two-by-four framing type as the main platform (Image 8). The front legs of the step are permanently attached 1'-0" long four-by-fours. The rear of the step is held in the short cradle assemblies on the fronts of the front legs (Image 10). A set of four brackets are mounted to the front of the step platform and to a 3'-0" two-by-four mounted to the front of the four-by-four legs at the ground level. These brackets hold the footrests for the stand.

Image 11: Footrests in mounting brackets

The footrests are two two-by-fours of equal length that are oriented vertically and held in place by brackets mounted to the front of the step. The length of the footrests is based on the preference of the bootblack who will be using the stand. Many bootblacks who prefer to stand while working find the greatest comfort and convenience with footrests that are between 2'-6" and 3'-0" long. Bootblacks who prefer to sit usually find the greatest comfort and conveneince with footrests that are between 2'-0" and 2'-6" long. It should be noted that when mounting the brackets, care should be taken to not over tighten the screws that connect the bracket to the step. If the brackets are mounted too tightly, the clearance for the footrests will be very tight and it may prove difficult to insert and remove the footrests to allow patrons to mount and dismount the stand. If the brackets prove to be too tight, the screws can be backed off slightly to increase the clearance. However, the brackets should not be loose against the step.

Image 12: Assembled stand without footrests
(front view)

Image 13: Assembled stand with 3' footrests
(side view)

Assembly of a completed stand proceeds as follows. Stand the four legs in a square about three feet apart, with the four-by-four of each leg positioned on the inside of the square and the two-by-four cradles oriented on the outside edges of the square. Place the platform on top of the legs. Generally, the legs will be sufficiently stable that the platform can rest on top of the legs while the legs are aligned with the corners of the platform. Once the side members of the platform have slid into the cradles, it may be necessary to shift the legs slightly to square them up. For example, in Image 13, the back leg closest to the camer is noticeable tilted. This should not pose any stability problems, but squaring the legs will reduce the tendency of the stands to shift unexpectedly when weight is put on them. Once the legs are aligned, lower the step into the cradles on the front legs. It may be easier to tilt the step to fit one cradle and then fit the other. Once the step is in place, it is often helpful to put one's hands flat on the main platform and shake the stand slightly to make sure all of the parts are in a stable position. Also, placing a foot on the step and pressing down will also ensure that the step in securely positioned. At this point, place the chair on the main platform and insert the footrests into the brackets. The stand is now ready for use.