Woodworking Talk banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Wishing he had a title...
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Going to have storage over my office in the new shop. I have realized that this space is going to be used a lot till we get the new house built. thinking about this it seems like a ships ladder would be much better than a folding ladder and a lot safer and more convenient too.

Just curious if anyone has built one. Seems to be plenty of design info available.
 

·
Super Moderator
Retired Craftsman
Joined
·
4,748 Posts
what is your idea of a "ship ladder" ?
Pinterest has many examples for a Loft Ladder.
and with your Nautical Craftsmanship skills, I bet you can make a killer one !!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,244 Posts
I much prefer the "loft" ladder to a "ships" ladder.

Typically the loft ladder is not straight up as opposed to the ships ladder.

Many years ago when I added on to my business building I included a large loft and used a loft ladder. The images that John referenced are very typical. Think as a loft ladder as being near same as stairs, just with being much steeper. And I think also safer.

George
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
29,627 Posts
Going to have storage over my office in the new shop. I have realized that this space is going to be used a lot till we get the new house built. thinking about this it seems like a ships ladder would be much better than a folding ladder and a lot safer and more convenient too.

Just curious if anyone has built one. Seems to be plenty of design info available.
I'm certain you did mean "ship's ladder"?
I've never climbed one with the staggered steps, but I wonder how safe it would be compared to a "library" ladder?
Can you slide the ship's ladder on a horizontal rail like the library ladder?
What about lifting heavy loads or getting them down?
All things I would consider before going to all the trouble of making one.
I made a library ladder, and it was not difficult, just a bunch of 3/4" dados on the RAS with opposing 12 degree angle settings on the hand rails for the steps.
 

·
Wishing he had a title...
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think there is semantics going on here. Something SIMILAR to this though but wood.
Ship Ladders

Just need a space saving, safe way to the loft. WITH HANDHOLDS.
I have seen a couple of good ideas searching around but still just tossing this idea around.
 

·
Super Moderator
Retired Craftsman
Joined
·
4,748 Posts
well, after serving on 5 ships in the Navy, I have seen and used my share of Ship Ladders.
they were basically all the same and if I remember correctly, "about" the same angle.
so if you have some kind of "official looking" diagram that tells you the angle, I would work around that.
 

·
Wishing he had a title...
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Because space is going to be a premium it would be really good if I could slide the stairs out of the way. Then, I ran into this idea. I could put it on the back wall. It would fold down over my sink and up to get out of the way.

I think I have enough rough cut oak that was given to me to make a set.

Crappy video but you get the idea.
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
29,627 Posts
I think there is semantics going on here. Something SIMILAR to this though but wood.
Ship Ladders

Just need a space saving, safe way to the loft. WITH HANDHOLDS.
I have seen a couple of good ideas searching around but still just tossing this idea around.
When I read "ship's ladder" this is what came to mind:
Wood Ladder Building Rectangle Paint


The staggered steps are unique in that they make the same height climb in less space than an ordinary ladder to save space on a ship.
I wouldn't recommend it for getting to a loft where heavier things are stored as it may require both hands on the rails and the balance point would be different.
Other examples show built in hand holds, attractive no doubt and more safe:
Brown Window Building Rectangle Wood
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17 Posts
I've built a few for work and one for home going into the loft over the shop.
All were construction lumber with L shaped joist hangers for the steps.
The ones for work we routered in cutouts to create a handrail, like "woodnthings" shows in his second image. Then I dropped one during handling in the yard, and the webs between the handrail pockets cracked. So I had to remake the stringer and swap it out. Then I put a flushhead timberlock down the webs on all the ladders to reinforce it.
The ladder for home, I didn't do any handrails, but used just 2x4 treads so they're easy to grab the back side. My young kids can go up and down just fine. 70 degree angle or thereabouts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,357 Posts
AND a total lack of handrail on either side, yikes :oops:
i drink too much to handle that type stair/ladder

 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
29,627 Posts
How are you making the rabbets, by hand or router?
There will be rabbetts, right?
Looks real nice and the hand rails look comfortable and safe.
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
29,627 Posts
Excellent question there! Will have to decide that on Monday when I return to work. :unsure:
My library ladder had rabbets for the steps and was much stronger as a result. I cut mine on a RAS using a stacked dado. I did need to swing the arm 17 Wheel Automotive tire Wood Bicycle tire Yellow degrees or so, to the right and left for those sides of the ladder rails. I don't recall how I managed to get them exactly "opposed" to each other, measuring and marking, or using a spacer?
I wouldn't build a ladder without them!
 

·
Wishing he had a title...
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Long day working on this. Spend WAY TO MUCH time on the layout of the mortises. Kept second guessing myself. Once I finally figured it out it went fast.

Mortised 24(?) slots in the rails. Rather monotonous job and lots of fiddling to get the template lined up so the two sides match.

Cut the stringers to length. Ran them through the shaper to radius the edges.

I have arthritis in my lower spine and I forgot to take any aspirin with me and my back was killing me. But i HAD to do a dry fit before I quit.







It is really overbuit. I could have used 1" stock for the treads. I had some rough oak but didn't want to spend the time dressing the lumber. Plus I will never have to worry about this being strong enough. But man is it heavy! Putting it in place is going to be a two man job for sure!
 

·
where's my table saw?
Joined
·
29,627 Posts
Now that looks great! It will be worth all your effort and it will last for decades. Nice work!
To keep the treads in place maybe some wedged dowels? Screws are out. My treads loosened up after moving it around many times and right now, it's not needed because of the furniture arrangement at present. But, in the future I will reassemble it and use a wedged dowel for a better anchor. Another method would be a small slot under the treads with a steel or brass tension rod that I can tighten on the outsides.
 

·
Wishing he had a title...
Joined
·
493 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Recruited a helper and got the stairs installed today. I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER EITHER!



Such a relief to walk up it and know that I made the right choice on riser height and tread widths. I have done a lot of research into residential stairs recently designing our new house. Being this is our last house I want all the stairs to be easy as we age. So I studied and what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable. But this was a whole new game.

I measured a couple of ladders and knew I wanted the risers lower than that. So I made some educated guesses and man is it easy to climb! Very comfortable! Angle (62 degrees) is great and I can go up them one handed carrying something in the other hand and feel very comfortable.



I mortised for the treads and since I used dimensional lumber I used construction lag screws driven in with an impact. No way this is coming apart! All that is left is to anchor the base to the floor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
732 Posts
Coming down do you face away from the stairs or towards them? I'm a fairly nimble 63, I'd face towards them.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top