It's not just for small jobs,” says carpenter Mack Thomas of Cambridge, Mass. “We use them all the time for re-siding, working on porches, and building additions.” Thomas is referring to a simple scaffold system he recently purchased from Amazon.com made by Fargo, N.D., manufacturer ReechCraft (888.600.6160; www.reechcraft.com). The Bronco System scaffolding system consists of two tubular-aluminum tripods that support a plank and loads up to 600 pounds. “In the last few months we've used it for setting roof rafters, all the roof trim, and all the siding we couldn't reach from the ground on an addition,” Thomas explains. “Right now we have it loaned out to a crew that's repointing brick, but we're anxious to get it back for a job we have lined up to tear the Formstone off a home and repair the clapboard underneath.” Compared to pumpjacks or panel staging, the Bronco System is relatively effortless to set up. Because the platform height is less than 6 feet, no fall protection or extra railing is required. All three legs on the tripods are adjustable, with push-button detents. Two legs have adjustment holes every 1½ inches, and the third leg has holes every 3 inches, so the horses easily accommodate uneven ground up to a 30-inch difference in elevation across 4 feet.
For high-wire work, Thomas and his partner, Fred Henry, use the Alum-A-Pole with the Pro-Bench (570.969.2299; www.alumapole.com). “It's the opposite of simple,” Henry says, “and the price tag gave us pause. But we have not regretted it in the slightest. I wouldn't want to be on anything else working at the roof line of a brownstone. But for a lot of our work, it's overkill.”