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  • Credit: Werner

Pump-jack scaffolding is ideal for sidewall work because you can erect the length you need with minimal hassle and adjust the infinitely variable plank height on the fly so you’re always working at a comfortable height.

For years, we’ve used steel pump jacks with poles made of doubled 2x4s. This economical combination gets the job done, but the jacks inevitably dent the poles. While cranking the jacks down, we often have to hit them with a hammer to bypass the dents, which can trigger short but scary free-falls.

When we recently used Werner’s aluminum pump-jack system (wernerco.com) to side and trim a house, though, we could relax. The aluminum jacks ride on structural aluminum poles instead of doubled 2x4s, gripping a rubber strip on the outer edge of the poles. No more scary rides down the poles. In fact, compared with using our old pump jacks, using these is like taking an elevator. We used 6-foot poles, which can travel in a pickup bed, but they also come in lengths of 12, 18, and 24 feet. The poles can stack to a maximum working height of 50 feet.

Werner’s PJ-100 pump jacks cost $166 each, and the poles cost $85 to $408, depending on the length. Pole braces cost $65 to $72 each. Accessories include work-bench supports, end-rail kits, safety nets, and nesting stages. According to Werner, all of the components are interchangeable with Alum-A-Pole’s pump-jack scaffolding components.