Whether you are working on a commercial job site, renovating your home, or engaging in some type of construction where scaffolding is involved, you will need the right tools and equipment. So, what tools do I need for a scaffold job? I have put together a list of the top ten scaffolding tools that you to perform such a task.
10 Essential Scaffolding Tools & Equipment
What follows are the most essential and quality scaffold tools and safety equipment.
1. Good Pair of Boots & Gloves
One of the more overlooked aspects of working on scaffolding is the ability to stay upright. One of the most common types of accidents on the job site is falling. Whether due to carelessness or a failure in the scaffolding itself, in many cases the fall may have been prevented with better footing and a surer grip.
This is where a good pair of boots and gloves come into play. They are essential to the job when you must climb scaffolding to reach the desired height. A good pair of boots, particularly steel-toed versions will protect the toes of your feet from falling objects. This is one of the most common types of injuries. Plus, their rubber soles provide for sure footing.
The gloves are essential as well since they protect your hands from cuts and abrasion that may be caused by jagged edges on the scaffolding itself. Plus, they can help you hold tools and items better as you perform your work.
2. Scaffold Wrench
This is another essential item when putting scaffolding together. The scaffold wrench will not only tighten the fasteners but loosen them if needed as well. This is particularly handy when the scaffolding itself needs to be adjusted or replaced when on the job site.
Having a scaffold wrench handy is not only useful for scaffolding, but for any bolts or nuts that are used on the site. This means having a two-in-one wrench, so you can carry fewer tools. The fewer tools you have to carry on your belt, the safer you are when working on scaffolding.
You can also use an impact wrench for scaffolding especially for disassembling the structure. Learn more about the different types of scaffold ratchet and wrenches here.
The podger is one of those tools whose meaning may escape you at first, especially if you have never put scaffolding together before. One of the biggest issues with the construction of scaffolding is aligning the parts correctly so you can insert the bolt to secure them. When you are on an elevated surface trying to align two different sections, it can be quite taxing.
A podger is a wrench similar to a spud wrench that has a tapered cone towards the end of the handle. The podger allows you to easily align the holes first by pushing it through, then you can insert the bolt much easier.
Many scaffolding ratchets and wrenches have a podger on one end to make it much easier to use. Simply align the parts with the podger, pull it from the holes, insert the bolt, add the nut, and flip the tool around so you can tighten it with the wrench or ratchet.
4. Adjustable Wrench or Crescent Wrench
Although it can be argued that standard wrenches work better at gripping nuts and bolts, carrying an adjustable or crescent wrench means having one tool on your belt and not several.
This can be quite handy when working on scaffolding. Especially when you need to hold the nut when tightening the bolt with your scaffold wrench or scaffold ratchet. It does make the job considerably easier and faster, so you can get on with your other work. Plus, the adjustable wrench can be used to tighten or loosen other fasteners when working on the job.
5. Tape Measure
The tape measure is one of those items that few people will miss until it comes time for its use. Then, there is usually a mad scramble down the scaffolding to retrieve the tape measure from the toolbox or truck.
When you need precise measurements, the tape measure is invaluable. It’s also easy to carry as many have belt clips that allow it to be secured to a belt or pocket opening. Plus, many tape measures have both standard and metric, so you can use the one best suited for your needs.
I would suggest getting the one with a magnetic grip, which you can easily place on any steel surface without worrying it falling down.
Above shown Kamelon MagGrip Pro 25-feet Tape Measure is one of the best that I have used.
Ten to twelve feet is good for most uses, although depending on the specific job you may want a longer one. You might want to have a six-foot, ten-foot, and twenty-five-foot tape measures in your toolbox and then select the one best suited for the job to put on your belt.
6. Magnetic Levels
From putting up scaffolding to ensuring that your project is properly leveled, a level is an essential and quite versatile tool. Like tape measures, levels come in different sizes as well. This means that you can select the larger one that can be placed on walls, floors, or other spaces for an accurate reading. While smaller levels are best suited for shorter spaces, such as the tops of picture frames and the like.
Larger levels may be difficult to carry when constructing scaffolding, but they can be placed upon each successive level as they are completed. The importance of having your scaffold level cannot be overstated. Leaning just a small amount to one side or end may create enough instability to cause an accident.
Be sure that the footing to the scaffold is secure and re-check the levels after they have been put up. This will show if the scaffold is stable.
7. Claw Hammer or a Scaffold Hammer
The traditional claw hammer is quite valuable and arguably the most recognizable of tools. In addition to the scaffold wrench, ratchet, or podger, the claw or scaffold hammer is an equally valuable tool when assembling or taking apart scaffolding.
The hammer is used to drive large sets of steel into their proper position. This is because using your hands can be quite difficult. The hammer allows you to use more force in putting the pieces into place while protecting your hands from any harm.
The differences between a traditional claw hammer and a scaffold hammer are small, but the most noticeable is that the “claw” part of the scaffold hammer extends almost straight back from the hammer end. Unlike a claw hammer which curls downward towards the handle. The claw area is important when removing nails and bolts as it provides a sure grip on the fastener.
It may be argued that the straight claw on the scaffold hammer is superior, but you should use the one that is best suited for your needs.
8. Pipe Cutter
Although scaffolding material generally comes ready to assemble, you will have to make some cuts in the pipes to get the right size. This is because the area in which you are working is arguably unique. This means that to have the scaffolding fit properly, you will need to have a good pipe cutter handy.
A proper pipe cutter is similar in appearance to a C-clamp. The first step is to measure out the area where you are setting the scaffolding up, which is where your tape measure comes in handy. The cut the pipes to the proper length using the pipe cutter.
Simply put the pipe in the “C” part of the pipe cutter, tighten, and turn until the pipe is cut. It is generally best to cut all the pipes needed at once to maintain uniformity. Once the first pipe is cut properly, it can be used to mark the remaining pipes for the cutting process.
9. Scaffolding Tool Belt & Holders (Frogs)
What’s the point of being on the job site if you do not have a tool belt around your waist? You can find tool belts of different sizes that can carry a variety of tool combinations. Depending on the task at hand, you may want a smaller tool belt strictly for building scaffolding, then your main tool belt when doing the task. But that choice is up to you.
A scaffolding tool belt is designed to be well-balanced, lightweight, and to carry the tools necessary for the construction of the scaffold. They can also be used as the main tool belt considering that most of the tools used are quite versatile.
The holders or frogs as they sometimes called allow you to add or subtract from the number of tools that may be held on the belt itself. Many scaffold tool belt kits will come with extra frogs, so you can choose which tools go on your belt and which stay in the toolbox.
10. Tool Safety Lanyards
An inexpensive, but essential element to your scaffolding gear are tool safety lanyards. These are basically small ropes or bungee cords designed to hold the tool in place when climbing or descending the scaffolding.
For pure safety reasons, tool-safety lanyards are essential. A tool that falls from your tool belt to the floor does little harm. But a tool that falls further than that will become more dangerous to those below when you are standing on a scaffold.
In addition to safety, having the lanyard attached means easy retrieval of the tool itself. So, for both safety and practical reasons, having tool safety lanyards for each tool on your belt is essential.
And when working on scaffolding, do not forget your hard hat just in case a tool or object does manage to fall from the scaffolding.