Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Adjustable Hydraulic Stilts

Jack 'Em Up
  [vote for,

Every kid has probably played with a pair of home-made wooden stilts. And every tradesman knows the value of a good pair of drywall stilts when performing ceiling and wall repairs. The problem with both of these products is that typically you have to adjust the working height of the stilt before stepping into it. With the exception of stilts that actually have multiple perches built onto the upright poles, you preset the desired height of your perch, hoist yourself up, and hopefully navigate your surroundings with the skilled aplomb of a professional circus performer.

For those of us who might need the equivalent of stilt "training wheels", or for anyone who might need a product that could service a variety of heights literally "on the fly", then Adjustable Hydraulic Stilts are the answer.

Hydraulic Stilts look similar to the wooden stilts you used as a kid, except that uprights are comprised of a telescoping pressurizable aluminum tube. It might help to think of each stilt as similar to a hydraulic bottle jack. When you place your foot on the perch the weight of your body hydraullically jacks you upwards. Controls for the jacking mechanism are in the pole tube itself: Twisting the pole to the right and stepping repeatedly on the perch will cause it to elevate; twisting the pole to the center position will lock the perch into a fixed working height; twisting the pole to the left will allow air to escape and the pole will gradually deflate to ground level. There is nothing electronic about it. It is all human powered and uses existing technology.

The benefit to the product is that it is infinitely adjustable to any working height without having to unstrap and manually readjust the perch pegs. It's perfect for using in the garden when trimming high hedges and low tree branches. It's also useful when cleaning high windows in stairwells because it doesn't require the space or set-up of scaffolds and ladders on various levels.

Adjustable Hydraulic Stilts don't do anything that you couldn't do better and more securely with a scissors lift, but would be relatively low-tech, affordable to average homeowners, and be both operable and storable within a human-sized footprint.

jurist, Jul 26 2012

Drywall Stilts http://buildingsupp...rywall-stilts-15-23
Effective, but limited. [jurist, Jul 26 2012]

Retro Wood Skill Stilts http://www.dazadi.c...-Stilts-(Pair).html
[jurist, Jul 26 2012]

Hydraulic Bottle Jack http://www.cosconli....php?productid=3609
This is an unusual design for a bottle jack in that it is slimmer, taller, and does not have a pedestal foot, but it might be just right for this product. [jurist, Jul 26 2012]


       Heh! Thanks for the compliment, I think.
jurist, Jul 26 2012

       Good idea(+), but too heavy. Better to go with a more reliable and lighter mechanical adjustment.
MisterQED, Jul 27 2012

       This product is practically a guarantee for ensuant hilarity. [+]
Alterother, Jul 27 2012

       [QED]: The bottle jacks you are probably familiar with are designed to stabilize structures or lift vehicles and are usually seen in 1 ton, 2 ton, 5 ton, and 10 ton capacities. Naturally, to support these sorts of weights the jacks are sturdily made of reliably rugged (and consequently heavy) materials.   

       Hydraulic stilts, on the other hand, aren't intended to carry a load any heavier than the average human male, and can be built to the same sort of specs incorporated in existing drywall stilts and aluminum ladders.   

       As you might infer from the 'Hydraulic Bottle Jack" link that I attached, I was thinking of a longish tubular pressure cylinder that might have a standard shoe-sized and shoe-shaped pedestal. In practice, I don't think that the actual cylinder would have to be much larger or weigh much more than a racer's bicycle pump.
jurist, Jul 28 2012

       [Alterother]: Yes, there may be a learning curve that requires a certain degree of mastery before you take a pail of paint up a flight of stairs.
jurist, Jul 28 2012


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