So, I’ve been planning these shop lighting renovations, and putting a fabric ceiling up among my trusses as a stop-gap to me getting the proper lights, and insulated rigid roofing that I want. I realized that the aluminum ladder that I’ve got has definitely seen better days, and perhaps a major war… and I saw another ladder recently that gave me some inspiration.
DISCLAIMER: LIKE ALL MY PROJECTS, I DO NOT CLAIM THAT THEY ARE FOOLPROOF, NOR DO I TAKE ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OUTCOMES, SINCE YOU ARE THE ONE CREATING THEM. THIS LADDER, LIKE ALL MY WORK, IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AND THE UTMOST CARE MUST BE TAKEN WHILE USING IT.
While on a leisurely drive with Sarah and the dogs, bound for beautiful Conche and it’s seaside boardwalk, we blew a tire on the dirt-road (that entire, relatively, horizontal path across the top of the map is dirt/gravel highway). So, a half-hour turn-around and the dummy tire mounded, we headed to Englee, just 10km (6mi) south of Bide Arm to the garage. It wasn’t a nail, it turns out, but a 3 inch (10cm) rip in the sidewall of the tire. It was an entire, unopened can of awesome.
While searching the overhead wracks for tires, the owner of the mechanic’s shop, Wade Ried, had a very rigid, sturdy-looking ladder. It was made of simple, rough-cut lumber, and served his purposes perfectly. I was inspired. So, anyway, onto my drawing…
In my typical thread of trying to keep wastage to an absolute minimum and reduce the number of cuts to the lowest possible, I have this plan to share with y’all: My 8′ opening/extending ladder.
This doesn’t really require any detailed breakdowns… it can be easily extended from it’s current 8′ (~2438mm) to 12′ (~3657mm), without any real issues insofar as alternations to the design. For the 8′ (~2438mm) version, you’ll simply need 6 boards 8′ (~2438mm) for each side, probably construction-grade interior studs (2×4’s or 38x89mm). Use two boards at full-length for each of the exterior sides, and then cut two of the full-length boards to sixteen 10.5″ (~267mm) pieces, for use as rung spacers. Each rung can be as wide as you like, but I stuck with a 2′ (~610mm) wide ladder for simplicity, so each rung is 1’9″ (~533mm) long, though full 2′ wide would have the same number of cuts and less wastage… it’s up to you. You’ll need 8 rungs, thus 2 full-length boards. You now have the cut-diagram for ONE side of this TWO side ladder. Hinge the top and add some chain to each side (Safer than just one side) and you’ve now got an 8′ (~2438mm) adjustable-stride ladder made for about $50.00 plus chain spread adjusters and heavy hinges, and ought to take more abuse than you can give it. Since it’s made of wood, it’s easily modified, adjusted, etc. Add some hooks (maybe a french cleat?) and you can add shelves, supports, boxes, whatever you like; and so much easier than for a metal, store-bought ladder.
For the 12′ (~3657mm) model, it’s $350.00 aluminum equivalent seen stage right, it’s just a matter of scale. 6 boards per side (12 in total for the unit) with the exact same “cut diagram”. For $75.00 you’ve now got a rugged, reliable, modifiable solution to your tall-reaching goals and aspirations. The pic to the left is an 8′ ladder available from the local Home Hardware for $174.99 Canadian Dollars, before 13% harmonized sales taxes.
Congratulations, you’ve just build a $200.00 ladder for $50.00 and an afternoon in the shop. $350.00 for the 12′ ladder, for the low-low price of $75. You can’t go wrong!