Library Ladder

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Project by Cubby posted 04-16-2014 06:30 PM 1731 views 4 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

If you review my last posted project, I renovated a room in our home and turned it into a library. Conspicuously absent is a ladder to access the shelves (the lower shelf is almost seven feet off of the floor). This is the solution- a library ladder using two lengths of 5/4 mahogany from my lumber pile.

I considered installing a ladder system commonly seen, but found them extremely expensive. The ladder leans against the lowest shelf at a 17 degree angle from vertical. This position keeps the majority of the weight of a climber vectored toward the floor as opposed to the shelf, provides a comfortable climb and avoids most of the furniture in the room.
Stringers are three inches wide. The steps are eight inches apart. Assembly takes advantage of a combined dado and dovetail joint. This permits the bearing surface of each step to be placed on the sidewall of the stringer dados and not on the dovetails. The dovetails secure the assembly, requiring just a little bit of glue.

Two “steps”, positioned slightly greater than the thickness of the shelf and projecting beyond the back of the stringers, are added at the top to permit the ladder to “snuggle” the shelf (see third and fifth photo). This prevents the ladder from swaying from side to side. I added strips of leather (suede side showing) to the bottom of the stringers for added floor friction.

Finish is three coats of blond, de-waxed shellac and a coat of paste wax.

I can now easily access all sectors of the shelf system and read the books, not just look at them.

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, [email protected] "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

2 comments so far

View lovinJesus623's profile


10 posts in 2312 days

#1 posted 04-16-2014 07:40 PM

nice job

View Russell Eck's profile

Russell Eck

178 posts in 2236 days

#2 posted 08-22-2016 02:29 PM

Awesome project, I will be building one exactly like this now and love your design!

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