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#14290 - 02/13/08 04:46 PM Need advice building barn ladder
brad_bb Offline
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Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Anyone have any experience building a barn ladder? I'd like to build one for my shop (permanent)in one corner to access the heater without having to get out the fiberglass ladder. Can some with experience advise me on material and sizes. My though is that I use 1.5X3 or 2X3 pine for the sides. I'm assuming it would have to be grade 1 or better. I'm thinking that the rungs would need to be oak maybe 1" or 1.24 inch diameter. Would I cross drill and peg them? Or use dowel rod with glue? What diameter dowl rod- 3/8 inch? I want this to support my 250 lbs without worry. I will fix this ladder to the wall.
Regards, Brad_bb

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#14292 - 02/13/08 05:17 PM Re: Need advice building barn ladder [Re: brad_bb]
Gabel Offline

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Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 687
Loc: Georgia
I'd make the rungs 1 3/4 or 2" out of oak and the sides, 2x5, good clear oak. have the rungs pass tightly through the sides and wedge from the outside like a hammer handle or axe handle. don't peg the rungs -- it only weakens the whole thing.
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#14294 - 02/13/08 11:55 PM Re: Need advice building barn ladder [Re: Gabel]
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Gabel, wow that sounds quite heavy. I have seen smaller ladders where the sides were not hardwood. Have you tried building anything lighter? I did figure the rungs would have to be oak for strength, but didn't think the sides would HAVE to be. I'll definitely take your suggestions under advisement. I actually have some extra white oak slabs that I could rip, but that material is so darn heavy. If using the white oak, I would even think 2X3 would be strong enough for sides. I built bunk beds last summer from ripped 2X3 for the frames from some of those slabs and it was very strong. Remember That I'm going to afix this to the wall, so it's basically all compression except any shear imparted by standing on rungs.


Edited by brad_bb (02/13/08 11:57 PM)

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#14298 - 02/14/08 08:07 AM Re: Need advice building barn ladder [Re: brad_bb]
Gabel Offline

Member

Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 687
Loc: Georgia
Just remember that the reason those old wooden ladders could be built so light is that they were built of riven wood -- perfectly straight grained with no run-out. That makes a huge difference in the strength of a piece of wood.

If the ladder isn't plumb, the sides are in bending. And if it is plumb, it's hard to climb (dangerous).

If you wedge the rungs, make sure you place the wedges square to the length of the ladder, so you don't split the sides.
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#14305 - 02/14/08 12:06 PM Re: Need advice building barn ladder
Kevin Holtz Offline
Member

Registered: 01/15/08
Posts: 23
Loc: Pumpkin Hook, NY
Double emphasis on the "no run-out." Great point Gabel. Good 'ol flat sawn wood will have to be carefully picked through.

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#14988 - 04/07/08 09:18 PM Re: Need advice building barn ladder [Re: Kevin Holtz]
northern hewer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/02
Posts: 1124
Hi everyone

Here is my rememberences of building an historical wood barn ladder at UCV.

The sides were made from a 6" dry cedar, this small round timber then was cut as accurately as possible through the centre.

The edges of both pieces were then removed leaving two halves that were round on the outside but flat on the inside and the edges of each flat.

The rungs were about 1.75" white oak but here is the catcher they were rounded and then tappered towards each end slightly, down to about 1.25"

The holes in the sides were tapered also to the taper of the rungs, so that the rungs when placed in their respective holes were really tight.

They were then wedged from the outside crossways to the grain in the ladder sides.

3 1\4" rods were placed from one side of the ladder the other one at the top, bottom and at the halfway mark,

These rods were placed right under a rung

3-- 1\4" carriage bolts were then placed on each side to ensure that the sides did not split laterally, The round of the heads of course placed towards the top surface.

Taperring of the holes in the sides was acomplished by using a bung hole auger from our collection at ucv, otherwise it would have to be done by hand.

This makes a very light but strong mobile ladder for many chores. It will get lighter as it ages

Hope this helps

NH

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#14992 - 04/07/08 10:06 PM Re: Need advice building barn ladder [Re: northern hewer]
OurBarns1 Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 570
Loc: Cumberland County, Maine
Hey,
I like it. Makes me want to build one. The two species are used really well: White Oak for strength where needed and Cedar for weight reduction. Not to mention rot resistance cause most ladders repeatedly stand on damp/wet ground. And the tapered rung holes counter the force of the threaded rods, while also providing some racking resistance... love it.

Don
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