Permanently Installed Hinged Ladder - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-09-2011, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Permanently Installed Hinged Ladder

I've got a friend who wants a more readily accessible roof from the deck, but can't afford to loose any of the deck space to a staircase. My idea is a permanently installed ladder that hinges out and attaches to a block(the bottom step) with some sort of quick disconnect. Much less production than a ladder ladder to put up, and with a short handrail and wider steps it will be more inviting for the average guests to climb up and see the view(for instance, we always watch the 4th of July fireworks from his roof, but a bunch of drunk people on a 10 ft ladder...)

Concept:



I've already built the upper metal "pool ladder" style handrails and incorporated 2 gate hinges into the mounting plate for the ladder to be added latter(now).

The problem I'm running into now is finalizing the ladder design. Not too heavy, but also needs to be really stable. Looking at the steps on the deck, I'd like to match this style(obviously at a different angle, stringers more like 70 degrees when folded out), but not sure if I'd need to add more to stiffen it up since the stringers will be ~10 ft long and won't be solidly built in like the staircase.




I believe the steps and decking are teak. I'm looking for any suggestions on what type of wood to use and if I need to add triangulation or maybe just a thin solid backing to stiffen it up.

My main worry is making it too cumbersome. How would you build something like this? 1x6 or 1x8 sides and runners? or 2xSomething on the sides? 1xSomething for the sides and a reinforcing piece that also acts as the mount for a short handrail? I'll figure out the bottom step details latter, need to finalize main idea now and gather materials for the weekend.

Thanks for any input.

Last edited by wajoe; 08-30-2012 at 04:59 PM. Reason: deleted missing photo link
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-09-2011, 08:24 PM
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Ideas - not wood.....

I think you might want to change your design to use metal in the form of a cut down aluminum ladder and add a handle (ideally) on both sides of the ladder. It will be strong enough, will not rust or rot and will be compact which certainly will be an advantage given the limited space. I would also make sure your black pipe handles are anchored with stainless steel bolts and is well painted otherwise you will be looking a significant safety hazard in a couple of years.

Sorry for the non-wood answer but your space and strength needs seem to be crying out for reuse of a piece of aluminum ladder.

Chris
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-10-2011, 02:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions. This guy really wants to keep the wood look though, and a cut down ladder definitely doesn't suit him. More like a "vertical stair case" is the idea behind it. Less rise per step than a ladder too. Alternating treads was another idea I've thought about doing due to the steep angle, but then time and tools are limiting. It allows for more stair like use at a ladder like angle. I thought about a metal frame with some teak runners, but that's more work and most my tools are moved(this project is kind of a thank you for the crash pad while I'm moving thing).

Some alternating tread examples from the interweb:






Thanks for your concerns about the upper hand rails that are already up. The wall mount is 3/16ths plate painted with self etching primmer before top coat and installed with liberal use of silicon to seal it and the lag screws. The roof anchors are completely tarred in, and plates welded to the pipes are bolted to them with 4 5/16ths bolts each side, with caulking and then paint over all of it. I'm not worried about moisture any time soon.

As for wood, a sales guy was saying "Mahogany - Philippine" was a good exterior wood to consider at a good price. Given the lack of finalized plans, a really rough estimate of $250-$300 for the wood if I went that route. "Mahogany - Genuine" also on the reasonable price list, ~ double the cost. Full teak would put the ladder well into the 4 digit range but my friend doesn't seem to mind I REALLY want to build it right if he ends up shelling that much out just on some wood
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-10-2011, 07:12 AM
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We usually use "junior channel"......w/steel angle welded for tread cleats.Bolt on treads.And would make sure you put handrails on both sides....it'll limit a drunk's wobble factor tremendously.And tell your friend to call it a service set of stairs or ladder...for insurance purposes.BW

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post #5 of 13 Old 09-10-2011, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Ah, yeah, that description sounds a lot like what I had in mind for the metal frame with wood runners idea. Maybe still plausible if I can borrow some equipment and he wants to go that route. Kicking myself for not leaving some of my angle stock here or buying a 20 ft stick before the supply yard closed for the weekend. Hardware store wants $4 a pop for the short version of the stair cleats I pictured earlier, and I'd still have to trim them down a bit. Well, what's another $100 for stair cleats if he goes for the teak anyway
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-10-2011, 02:07 PM Thread Starter
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Slapped together a basic sketchup model. This is at 70 or 20 degrees when folded out, depending on how you look at it. I could maybe go as much as 30/60 for a better angle if I work out the step spacing and have spacers on top of the bottom step/box(stringers couldn't be quite long enough and still fold all the way up without hitting the deck).

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-10-2011, 07:50 PM
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Wink

The ladder sure looks like this is going to weigh "a lot"... Just makes me wonder if it will met the goals of being easy to put in place. Not a thing for a child to handle......

Will the bottom "block" that the ladder will rest on be attached to the ladder? I am thinking it could be attached to the ladder and swivel into "service". Of course that would also make the ladder heavier but it would be more secure. My guess is that the hinges would have to be made of stainless or some version of plastic or they would rust into place

I hate to ask but does this installation need to be inspected by the building department? I am sure they would have an opinion on what is "appropriate".....

Chris
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-14-2011, 04:27 PM
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Would you consider a spiral staircase? It would definitely have a footprint, but may be acceptable. Perhaps they make a staircase where you provide the treads. That would allow you to use mahogany or teak to match the deck.
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-23-2011, 07:58 PM
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Try a google search for library ladders.??
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-30-2012, 12:13 PM
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I would be more inclined to use a ladder with rungs rather than stairs for something that steep. It will be impossible to walk down such a stairway so at least there would be the rungs to get a hand hold on.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #11 of 13 Old 08-30-2012, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
I would be more inclined to use a ladder with rungs rather than stairs for something that steep. It will be impossible to walk down such a stairway so at least there would be the rungs to get a hand hold on.
In my former business building I had a "ladder" like that going to a storage loft. It was not moveable and was made of all 2x material. Definitely something you would not want to swing in and out. Rungs were not necessary.

HOWEVER, for safety reasons it is MOST necessage to have a handrail on at least one side. It is just too steep to use without the handrail. Without thishandrail I would refuse to do the building job. In the future you could find yourself liable for a safety defect.

George
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-30-2012, 02:11 PM
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It's simple.

First the top step should be about 2-1/2 times as wide as the other steps.
Second cut the appropriate sized ladder in half.
Third put hinges on the side of the ladder that faces the wall and on the top step. The top step is hinged to the wall of the structure.

When the ladder is not in use, the bottom part is folded up and the ladder is allowed to just hang against the structure.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
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post #13 of 13 Old 08-30-2012, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Almost a year old resuscitation there, 8100.

Ended up doing it "right." Built some jigs to make the steps half-blind sliding tapered dovetails. Sleek and strong as hell, no diagonal bracing needed to eliminate racking. Way too swamped to fool around with pictures and forums now, but I'll try to post some details eventually. It's been a bit of an adventure learning everything.

Last edited by wajoe; 08-30-2012 at 05:01 PM.
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