Sunday, January 02, 2011

stowable workshop attic ladder

I needed a ladder to get into my workshop attic. However, I hate pull-down attic ladders. They are too flimsy, narrow, scary as hell to go down with both hands occupied, too pricey,  and generally cannot bear a lot of weight.

So instead I came up with a plan to build a wider, more stable, and ultimately safer attic access system.

I started with 2x6 rails about 1 inch less than the height of the ceiling, marked and cut slots to make dados for the rungs.

The dadoes are chiseled out one by one with a hammer and wood chisel.

8 to each ladder, 12 inches apart. I discovered after the first rail was finished a much faster method of hogging out the wood using the chisel.

Then I cut the rungs from more 2x6 stock. They are 22 inches in length to give plenty of area when carrying heavy loads up and down the ladder.

Fitting the rungs, some needed some shaving. I put the better sides facing up. No glue. No need. The nails hold things together, but bear no weight.

I put four 10-gauge framing nails into each rung, two per side. Using my new holiday toy. Fast!

Attached to the wall and fully extended. Very stable. No flexing or creaking.

Retracted and stowed. Sits out about 8 inches from the wall.

This is how it is attached. That is a 2x4 ripped in half with spacers glued to form a slot. A lag bolt and washer on each side keep the top captive but allow it to slide down the wall.

about $24 in parts. I'll paint it when I get around to it.

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