portable A-frame

Naomi & Rick Coleman peds at tpg.com.au
Thu Aug 16 07:38:05 EDT 2001

Hi Peta,

Russ's design is a good one. Here is an adaptation that we use in third
world countries where spirit levels (and even surfaces!!) are hard to

Once you have made the A shape (and we use nails not butterfly bolts as
these are readily available and cheap, but not as portable) you bang a nail
in half way at the top point of the A.

Then attach a string which has a rock or heavy object on the other end, and
hang down (like a plumb line)

To calibrate the A frame (ie to make sure it measure a contour accurately,)
you place the A frame on any fairly even surface and mark the spot on the
horizontal bar of the A where the string hangs down. Then carefully turn the
A frame to the opposite side, using exactly the same marks on the ground to
put the A onto, and again mark the spot where the string hangs down on the
horizontal bar.

You now have two marks, one on each side of the bar. The point exactly in
the middle is the one to clearly label. Now when you use the A frame, you
know that it is level when the string hangs down at this mark.

This may sound complex but actually it is so much easier than conventional
systems because you dont have to build a precisely measured, perfectly
straight frame, you can use old scraps of timber and be totally unskilled at
building and still have an accurate measure.

I can email a photo of us using such a frame on the slopes of Ecuador if
anyone is interested.

Good luck,

Naomi Coleman
Southern Cross Permaculture Institute
Victoria, Australia
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peta Hudson" <petahud at ihug.co.nz>
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, 14 August 2001 20:01
Subject: portable A-frame

> Hi to everyone out there, I'm starting out on the road of teaching Pc
> here in Dunedin (South Island of NZ) & have just joined this listserve.
> I'm wondering if anyone can tell me how to make a lightweight, portable
> A-frame for measuring contours? I seem to remember seeing one that
> looked as though it even folded up. Cheers Peta
> ---
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