Do-It-Yourself Projects: How to Build a Homemade Ladder

Do-it-yourself projects: Build a homemade ladder, the sturdiest, most versatile high-altitude work platform in the shop.

| August/September 1996

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    The first ladder, complete and ready to use.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Making final rough cut.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Homemade ladder DIY project 3
    Making rabbet cuts with a chisel and hand saw.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Homemade ladder DIY project 4
    Making final rabbet cuts with a chisel and hand saw.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Drilling holes for the leveler sections.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Installing levelers with bolts and wing nuts.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
  • Homemade ladder DIY project 5
    Step inserted into the rabbet cut.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Joining the two ladder halves with a 1 inch thick, 15 inch by 7 inch board.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    The levelers in action.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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  • Homemade ladder DIY project 3
  • Homemade ladder DIY project 4
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  • Homemade ladder DIY project 5
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Do-it-yourself projects are made easy with detailed instructions on how to build a homemade ladder. 

Do-It-Yourself Projects

I don't know how it is in the rest of the country, but in our part of North Carolina the only thing flat I can find is my bank account. Wherever I need to work outside and whenever I need to do any work at an altitude, I spend as much time trying to find a safe way to set up a ladder as I spend in actual work.

What I needed, I reasoned, was a "universal" ladder, one that would permit me to work on hillsides, on uneven terrain, and from both sides of the ladder. In fact, it was the latter ladder consideration that perhaps challenged me most.

When using the traditional ladder, you climb one side and you work from that one side. If you need someone to help you, the second person must set up his own ladder or balance on whatever props he can set up. Or if you need to change sides of the ladder, you must climb down, turn the ladder, and try to set it up so that you can reach both work areas.



Tired of the frustrations, I created the Universal Ladder, or the Uni-Ladder. This piece of equipment is so constructed that two people can work on the ladder at the same time—one on each side. Or if you need to work separately, you can simply take the stepladder apart and you have two straight ladders that can be leaned against a wall or tree trunk or whatever other surface you need to scale.

Perhaps best of all, if one side of the ladder must stand in a small ditch or depression, you can simply lengthen one leg, or two, three, or even all four legs. And if you need to climb a little higher, you can even make an extension ladder out of the Uni-Ladder.

DWC
9/8/2011 10:50:06 AM

What an outstanding DIY project. And right out of grandpa's workshop. These are the kind of projects that truely make a "Handy" person feel handy. And kudos to Mr. Williams for the easy to follow directions and pictures. As for Matt_24's comment; Yeah, you can buy one of the all around "greeat ladders". And maybe you can find them cheaper at a garage sale or online. But you're not going to find one for under 10 bucks, nor or you getting the "I built it" pure joy and satisfaction that comes with such an accomplishment. This is one project I am putting on my list and plan on accomplishing real soon.


JAMES REYNOLDS
9/7/2011 11:12:31 AM

Building your own stuff, be it a ladder, a bookcase, hutch, whatever, will always prevail over anything store bought. The reason why is because there is a satisfaction that comes with being able to say "I made that..." . This satisfaction is something that can never be seen or felt by anyone but you.


Matt_24
9/7/2011 10:09:51 AM

This looks like a good sturdy ladder, very versatile. Gorilla and other companies make great ladders that are light weight and probably more versatile than this one. I know they can be pricey but if you hunt around you can find them at garage sales or craigs list and find one like I did for less than half of retail price.







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