Step or portable ladder is an option of the device for climb and descent where it is necessary. It is usually used for agricultural works (tree trimming, whitewashing/painting, or other work) or to get on the roof or attic, if it is impossible to build the fixed stairs. It differs from the common product in its mobility and small weight. Besides, it is easy to build you’re your own hands.
Types of portable stairs
Even this simple structure has several types, slightly different from each other:
- Step ladder is a straight and quite bulky staircase with solid steps. It takes a lot of space during storage. Usually, it is hanging on two rods embedded in the wall of any agricultural construction. The recommended inclination angle during the use is 60-75 degrees. For relatively young people, lifting and lowering don’t pose special difficulties, while carrying loads, especially large, is almost impossible. Children and older people can’t use it.
- Folding ladder– in contrast to the step model, it takes little space. It is a bit harder to make with your own hands. The parts are fastened on special hinges, due to which it can be easily folded and placed in the corner. It is used when people have to often climb upstairs, for example, to the attic or mansard on the second floor. On one side, such a staircase is often ended with the fastenings in the form of hooks, using which they should be clung to the grooves, located, for example, on the attic hatch. One of the most popular options of the folding ladder is a stepladder.
- Extension ladder is an excellent alternative to the folding model; however, it takes a bit more space. There are special grooves for the sections inside every stringer, and every subsequent groove easily enters the previous one. You can choose any inclination angle, comfortable for the users.
Each option has its pros and cons. Therefore, the choice of staircase type is individual is usually made individually.
Note: in the household, you should have at least two staircases of different types to penetrate anywhere.
Manufacture of the staircase with your own hands: subtleties and nuances you should remember
For the extension ladder, you will need the wooden bars with a certain cross. Experts prefer building such type of building from pine – it is strong enough and has a relatively small weight, which is important given that you’ll have to carry it. You can make such a structure from walnut, as this wood has almost the same properties as pine. It is not recommended to use oak for building the staircase with your own hands– it is very durable but heavy to carry.
For a stringer, you should use the bars with a cross of 40-50 mm, and for the steps – 30-40 mm. The number of steps and length of stringer depends on the desired height of the staircase– to define it, you should measure the distance to all the places where you’re planning to rise. Important – wood for the bowstring and steps must be equally dried; otherwise, the staircase will creak, and consequently, become traumatic. You can assemble the details with your own hands using tapping screws or gluing. However, for safety, many masters use both connection methods. You can make a width of step ladder equal on all length or “narrow” it to the upper edge. In any case, the width of the finished article must be at least 50-70 cm. The recommended distance between the steps is 30-35 cm.
How to assemble a step ladder?
Then it’s really quite simple. You should build all the details are in the required quantity, and drill the grooves is very stringer. Therefore will insert the ends of the future steps – so-called “spikes.” Don’t forget that spikes must enter the grooves very tightly, which is why the latter must be a bit smaller. It is important not to overdo – too small groove can make a crack in the stringer. Then, you must grease the spikes with glue and hammer them into the grooves of one stringer. Once this work is finished, you should put the second-stringer on the structure. Put the grooves on the spikes, coated with glue.
It is worth recalling that drilling the grooves, you should “synchronize” between two stringers, otherwise, the staircase will be crooked. Then (optionally) you can additionally fix the steps with nails from wood or iron. Alternatively, you can use tapping screws. You should cut the lower edge of the finished product at an angle to make it as stable as possible. Moreover, you need to attach the rubber tips or metal spikes to the lower edges. The second option is mandatory if the hand-made staircase will be used on the ground. When everything is ready, you should cover the structure with water-repellent paint or varnish to make it look aesthetic and prevent it from damage and precipitation, if the device will be stored in the open.
For the extension ladder, you will need…
An extension ladder is a bit more difficult to build than the step model. However, it is offset by the fact that it is more compact, which facilitates its storage. Apart from wooden bars, you will need glue, nylon cord, coupling, and adhesive tape. After choosing the length of the hand-made staircase, optimal for your own needs, you should divide it into 3 parts. In the first segment, the coupling is glued well and forms a hole for the part of a stringer of a lower segment.
To put the coupling on the lateral crossbar of the following section, it must be free enough. For that, you can make a bar expander. This is a small piece of bar, wrapped with adhesive tape, and then inserted into the opposite end of the coupling (that already contains a stationary segment of the stringer). You should wrap the ready structure with the nylon cord and left to dry. After that, you should pull out the bar with adhesive tape. So, the coupling is ready to receive the second segment.
Crossbar strings are collected either by putting on a spike impregnated with glue or just by gluing the future steps and wrapping the assembly site with a nylon cord. After finishing the assembly, you should consider what to use to paint the wooden staircase you made with your own hands: water-repellent paint or varnish after drying it. An extension ladder is built almost in the same way.
Most likely, every master who has built one or another type of staircase at least once has his/her own secrets. Share them in the comments!