How to Make Medieval Stocks (Pillory)

How to Make Medieval Stocks (Pillory)

When I started researching this project, I didn’t know that the actual thing most of us call The Stocks or a Stockade is actually a Pillory. Stocks are related, but a little different, usually locking one’s feet in place. But I’m pretty sure most people are more familiar with the general term stocks for all these types of torture devices.

DIY Medieval Stocks

To make my medieval stocks, you will need some 2x4s, 2x6s, and 1x4s. I used a mix of scrap boards from my shop and a few store-bought boards. One of the fun things about this project is that you don’t have to search for beautiful, unblemished boards. Rough looking boards will add to the antique appearance.

To make the two bases and uprights, sandwich a 2×4 between two 1x4s and screw them together. This leaves a large slot on one end.

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Using long screws, attach a 2×4 to the bottom of each upright.

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To give the base some more weight, screw another 2×4 flush with the other one.

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I cut 45 degree miters  on the ends of four short 2x4s to make braces for the uprights.

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Toenail these into place by drilling holes at an angle to the brace and square into the vertical uprights. Drive screws in place.

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Screw in a 2×4 cross piece between each upright.

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Making the head and hands stock

I used 2x6s for the part that holds your head and hands in place. To cut the holes, I lined up two boards, drew circles, and cut them out with a jigsaw. I made my hand holes oversized; you’ll need much smaller diameter holes if you actually want to restrain someone!

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I eased over the sharp edges using my router. Sandpaper will work just as well.

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Assembling the stocks

I dropped the lower half or the restraint into the slots on the uprights, drilled holes and drove a dowel through the boards to hold them in place.

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The upper board is a little shorter and one corner on the hinge side needs to be rounded to allow for swing clearance when it is opened.

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To make the hinge, I drilled holes like in the lower piece, but I used a larger diameter bit for the hole on the 2×6 so it can swing easily.

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Finally, I stained the stocks with a dark stain and added a chain to the locking pin so it won’t get lost.

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