Making Wooden Peg Stilts – new modification

Posted by jerry on April 15th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, Woodwork

Many of you will be familiar with my peg stilts instructions. And the more my daughter and I use them, the more the design is being refined.


One of the weaker points of the design has always been the straps used to attach them to the legs. As velcro wears, it has become more and more necessary to augment the straps with ‘gaffa’ tape – you know, the stuff bands use, cloth adhesive tape.

Well that is about to change. The latest modification to the design will be revealed here first, then added to the existing stilt design.

The woodwork is just the same. Only the straps are different. And the knee pads. One of the issues with the existing knee pads is that the PVC pipe segment is of too narrow a radius if your legs have well developed musculature – so they can dig in uncomfortably. And the one thing you want is comfort in order to increase the safety of the stilts.

I was in Bunnings today and found some industrial knee-pads. Until now, we have used knee pads in addition to the stilt leg-cups. But I had an idea – why not attach the knee pads directly to the stilts and beef up the straps with non-slip tie-downs buckles.

I had previously solved the foot straps with these and now the time had come to do the same with the upper legs.

Here is the heel strap arrangement
heel straps

and the toe strap
stilts toe strap
stilts toe strap

I laid out the upper straps with the buckle forward of the knee pads, located the knee pad in position and drilled and screwed the knee pad in place through the straps

stilts knee pad
knee pad

So the upper straps now work this way
stilts upper straps
stilts upper straps

So the stilts are complete – and more secure than before. One of the joys of being chief engineer is that I get to test the toys to ensure they are safe 😉 And I gave them a fair workout for 20 minutes before declaring them safe for my daughter to test. The straps do not slip – and the straps are quickly adjusted for any slack – even while on board the stilts.

For Australian readers, the knee pads are called ‘Protector Multi Purpose Knee Pads – available from Bunnings Warehouse for about AUS$10.50

And the straps are Lion brand ‘Super Cam Buckle’ available in 500mm, 1 metre and 3 metre lengths. The straps are rated to 1000kg, and the metal buckles have spring-loaded teeth that bite harder the more you try to pull them apart – they do not slip. But the spring buckle allows quick release when you want to remove them.

And with the integral industrial knee pads they are more comfortable than before. Enjoy them – safely!



Comment by Cecilia

Love the design!

Do you think that shin-guards would work similarly? I’m asking because you got me thinking about the stilts I’m fixing…

They fit our main stilter, who is 5’0″. But she’d also like to lend them to the other performers, who range from short stocky types to a fairly lanky 5’11”.

So, if I use your modifications, but with shin-guards instead, do you think that’d make them work acceptably for a wider range of shin-heights? Any way I can make them adjustable? I’d love any insights or suggestions.

Posted on December 7, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Comment by jerry

Thanks for the comment 🙂

Yes, shin guards would work similarly, and they could be made adjustable by having their attachment holes made into slots, as long as the bolts or screws used to attach them used a washer between the bolt head and the shin-guard material. Alternatively drill a series of holes in the top upright so the shin guard can be repositioned – but I would definitely use bolts rather than screws to attach them as after a couple of changes the screws will loosen.

But I would strongly recommend that knee pads also be used so that in the event of a fall, the knee cap doesn’t get damaged or displaced – either would be very painful and take a long time to heal.

Posted on December 8, 2008 at 6:52 am

Comment by Cecilia

Awesome — thanks very much! I can hardly wait to try them out.

And yep, we’ll still be wearing our knee pads, too. 🙂

Posted on December 14, 2008 at 9:35 am

Pingback by Mindsigh » Blog Archive » Wooden circus stilts - 1.8m

[…] This is basically making new legs for old stilts. You can read how I made the original pair here. […]

Posted on December 16, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Comment by Charles

Hi Jerry,
I manage 60ha of apple orchards in South Africa.(See Google Earth 28 11’35″S 28 57’07″E). We are in a hail prevalent area, so all the Orchards are covered with protective nets. These have to be opened in winter, as snow tears them; and closed again for the summer season. a lot of this work is done at a height of 2,2m with step ladders. I think stilts could be much more effecient. Do you have any advice for me?
Charles Smith

Posted on February 17, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Comment by jerry

A lot will depend on the terrain, but if it’s fairly flat you would probably do well to get a pair of ‘drywall’ stilts – otherwise known as articulated stilts. They have a proper ‘foot’ which makes it much easier to balance – basically you might walk around at altitude much the way you walk around on the ground.


Posted on February 17, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Comment by Charles

Thanks for your prompt reply. I will investigate your suggestion.

Posted on February 17, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Comment by Larissa

These is by far the best design I have ever seen for wooden peg stilts. I am so glad I procrastinated in making my own until I saw your page. Thank you. I will let you know how they turn out~* Great description and detailing. Thanks!

Posted on July 27, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Comment by Jerry

Hi Larissa
Thank you – I look forward to seeing the finished ones 🙂

Drop me an email if you have any hassles


Posted on July 28, 2009 at 8:03 am

Comment by Brandon


Great design but I have a couple of questions. I’m an experienced stilt walker via Articulated Stilts and “Jumping” varieties of stilts. I’ve also used metal peg stilts but the shock of them was too much on my knees and ankles.

1st – What’s the approximate weight these can bear? I’m relatively tall (around 6’4) so carry some weight at around 205 lbs and have concerns of critical failure with a wooden peg.

2nd – Recommendations for a source of adequate wood for the pegs? Will I be able to pick something up at a Lowes or Home Depot or should I look at a lumber yard or such?

Posted on December 10, 2009 at 7:54 am

Comment by jerry

Hi Owen
205 lbs is about 93kg – so yes the stilts should be fine – make sure you make the attachment post tall enough for your knees. You might want to use slightly larger bolts as the 1/4″ ones might bend, but the timber should be fine. I’m about 80kg and they can certainly take that easily – but do make sure you get straight grained timber. I use pine as it is slightly flexible and won’t split easily.

They are designed for walking, rather than acrobatics – so if you want to use them for rough stuff I would strongly recommend good aluminium stilts.

As for point number 2 – yes any of the big name stores – like Home Depot – should carry the right stuff. If you have access to straight grained oregon pine, so much the better. It is not specialised timber, just regular pine or ‘deal’.

Good luck with them, and let me know how they go – I’d love to get feedback (good or bad) so I can continually improve the design.


Posted on December 10, 2009 at 4:57 pm

Comment by Toolpro

Incredible outline however I have several inquiries. I’m an accomplished stilt walker by means of Articulated Stilts and “Hopping” assortments of stilts. I’ve likewise utilized metal peg stilts however the stun of them was a lot on my knees and lower leg

Posted on July 7, 2016 at 9:31 pm

Comment by jerry

Hi Toolpro
I’ve spoken with a number of professional stilt walkers and they all note the same issue with stress on the knees particularly. I’m not sure there is an easy answer to it either. There may be designs that have built-in shock absorbers, but then this would reduce the amount of ‘Spring available for dancing/hopping/acrobatics on stilts.
Cheers – Jerry

Posted on July 7, 2016 at 10:24 pm

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