4-Level Wooden Bleachers Plans

Teaching Horseback Lessons, by Sally Cochran - Airplanes and RocketsTeaching Horseback Riding Lessons

Sally Cochran
(my daughter)

Wooden Bleachers Installed at Equine Kingdom Riding Academy - Airplanes and Rockets

This is a photo of the completed wooden bleachers (2 sections, joined). A high-resolution PDF wooden bleachers plans file is available at no charge (see below), compliments of Equine Kingdom Riding Academy and the Airplanes and Rockets website. If you find these plans useful (they took many hours to draw), please send a note of thanks to Equine Kingdom.

Wooden Bleachers Plans by Kirt Blattenberger - Airplanes and Rockets

Click here for high-resolution Wooden Bleachers Plans PDF file.

Note: I *do not* have a detailed list of materials available. 

Wooen Bleachers built by Boy Scout Troop 117 in Jasper, Alabama in 2014 - Airplanes and Rockets

Larry J.'s son's Boy Scout Troop 117 in Jasper, AL, built four sets of these 12'-long wooden bleachers using their own modified version of my plans (see below). They will be used in a equine therapy program. The project helped to earn an Eagle Scout badge. Boy Scouts are an increasingly rare source of good works and high moral standards. Congratulations! 

See update.

My daughter, Sally, owns(ed) and operate(d) the Equine Kingdom Riding Academy on their farm in Greensboro, North Carolina. In two years she transformed a run-down property with a couple dilapidated buildings into a thriving horse riding school. Lots of hard work, re-use of existing materials, buying used parts on Craig's List, and bartering has kept expenses to where they were able to pay cash for everything except the house and property itself. Sally has been interested in horses since she was about 8 years old and she has a degree in Business Administration and a degree in Logistics. Rather than do the normal thing and work for large corporations, she have opted to start and build their own business.

Since Melanie and I live way up north in Erie, Pennsylvania, we try to do a major project when we visit. This time, the project was building bleachers that can be used during the in-house riding events that are held every few months. My degree is in engineering (electrical), but I've been a lifelong designer and builder of models as well as residential structures, so I took on the task of designing plans. I could not find anything close to what I was looking for on the Web - at least anything within my price range - so I fired up Visio and made my own. The two main criteria were they needed to be sturdy so they would last forever, and they had to be safe for all ages to use. Galvanized nuts, bolts, and washers hold all the frame components together, and deck screws hold the planks. Pressure treated lumber was used throughout. Safety rails are spaced closely enough they they should (no guarantee) prevent small children from crawling through. A 10-foot length was chosen to be a convent size for modularity. They can be arranged end-to-end and bolted together. We chose to eliminate the hand rails at the junction to make one bleacher 20 feet long. Pressure treated landscaping ties serve as a footer to prevent any of the structural members from contacting the ground - essential for longevity.

Added August 19, 2023:

These plans are the latest version. I was going to write up a hardware parts list, but never got around to it. Both sections of the bleachers shown in the photo (built in fall of 2011) are still in service and are in excellent condition. Pressure treated lumber was used for everything, and all the nuts, bolts, and washers are galvanized. Screws for the planks are outdoor deck grade. Pressure treated landscaping timbers are sitting on the ground between the soil and bleachers. My daughter sold the property a couple years ago, so I don’t have access to it to take any other photos.

My son-in-law and I built both sections of bleachers in one weekend. Since many of the parts are duplicates, we cut out and drilled the first of each type, then used them as templates for the rest. If you have half a dozen people available to cut and drill, that will speed the process considerably. We also built up the first seat/step frame, then built the others on top of it to assure all were identical (using screws temporarily so the bolts didn’t get in the way). Get the first one as perfect as possible.

Prior to erecting the entire assemblies, the ground area was leveled and the landscaping timbers laid into position. We used long deck screws to hold them together to prevent shifting during assembly. The completed bleachers will be as level as the foundation. Adjustments can be made, if needed, with shims cut from the pressure treated wood. Note that if the ground is wet/moist, the landscaping timbers will quickly begin to bow upward as the wetter bottom expands, so get the bleacher frame on top of them ASAP. A couple of ours bowed enough in 3-4 hours that we needed to flip them over before setting the frames on them. That was unexpected.

Before attaching the braces on the frames, be sure to measure diagonally between the upper left/lower right, and upper right/lower left extremities to assure equal distance to get everything square. Do that for all the places you install braces.

My daughter had the bleachers filled to capacity many times during horse shows and never had a problem.

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Posted March 5, 2012