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Thread: Opinions...Is glue enough?

  1. #16
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    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I would look at the photos of the San Francisco fire department ladder shop. I am sure they know how to make. proper ladder that will hold up for years.
    Bil lD.

    Looks like tie rod every forth rung or so with brackets at top and bottom. I am very surprised the rungs are round but it really is a non issue with ladder soles in their boots. I bought a pair of fire boots for pressure washing on a ladder and they have a ladder sole. No pressure on the arch at all with a steel plate inside the sole to spread the rungs presssure out.

    https://hookandirons.com/blogs/hook-...co-ladder-shop
    I remember a show Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) did in that shop. At one point he was assembling those round rungs into the ladder rails. The rungs fit so tightly into the holes, he was pounding them together with a five-pound sledge. That kind of fit, on both ends of every rung, does provide a lot of anti-wrack stiffness.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Williamstown,ma
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    878
    If you use 2-3 screws with plugs through the stringers into the end grain of each end of the treads, of a #8 or#10 body size, and ONLY dado them in 1/4” and glue it, it will be as strong as you need. By a lot.
    I would not dado any deeper, you need strength in the stringers, and you need room to countersink and plug, AND still have wood in the stringer between the screw head and the bottom of the dado.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    The Little Tennessee River near Knoxville.
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    Original Post Requirements: Building 11' ships ladder. Sides are 5/4 by 6". Nine treads 18" wide X 5 3/4" deep X 7/8 thick. Treads sit in 1/2" deep stopped dados.

    Given the above info, I would make the stopped dados no deeper than 3/8"

    Question: You are calling this a ship's ladder. What exactly will you be using this for?
    Retired, living and cruising full-time on my boat.
    Currently on the Little Tennessee River near Knoxville

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicholas Lawrence View Post
    If you donít want anything showing on the outside of the rails, I suppose you could think about dovetailing the steps.

    If you are using screws, then yes I would definitely screw every step. I have kids, and they have a way of making things move that are not supposed to move.
    My original design included dovetailing the steps. I know many of you cut dovetails in your sleep, but with my current skills I don't want to put myself through trying to get 36 cuts right.

    I hear you on kids....in fact my 13yr old son will be the primary user of the ladder and he can destroy things quick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Yes, trying to grain-match plugs on a chatoyant wood like sapele is very difficult. Instead consider a contrasting wood like wenge or ebony.
    I am warming up to this idea. The nice thing is it wouldn't cost much as I could use pen blanks to make the plugs.

    Quote Originally Posted by peter gagliardi View Post
    If you use 2-3 screws with plugs through the stringers into the end grain of each end of the treads, of a #8 or#10 body size, and ONLY dado them in 1/4Ē and glue it, it will be as strong as you need. By a lot.
    I would not dado any deeper, you need strength in the stringers, and you need room to countersink and plug, AND still have wood in the stringer between the screw head and the bottom of the dado.
    After reading everyone's opinions, I'm going to screw/plug each step. 1/4 vs 1/2 depth is something to think about considering 1/2 won't buy me strength.
    Thanks,
    Fred

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Bilello View Post
    Original Post Requirements: Building 11' ships ladder. Sides are 5/4 by 6". Nine treads 18" wide X 5 3/4" deep X 7/8 thick. Treads sit in 1/2" deep stopped dados.

    Given the above info, I would make the stopped dados no deeper than 3/8"

    Question: You are calling this a ship's ladder. What exactly will you be using this for?
    I agree on the dado depth....you guys have convinced to go shallower.

    Loosely referring to it as a ship's ladder.....it will be used for a loft.
    Thanks,
    Fred

  6. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Jamie Buxton View Post
    Yes, trying to grain-match plugs on a chatoyant wood like sapele is very difficult. Instead consider a contrasting wood like wenge or ebony.
    Quote Originally Posted by fred everett View Post
    ...I am warming up to this idea. The nice thing is it wouldn't cost much as I could use pen blanks to make the plugs...
    Negative on contrasting wood! Ugh! And negative on pen blanks! Using a Fuller plug cutter, cut the plugs from scraps of the same wood as the rails. The grain will match perfectly. You need the grain going in the same direction as the grain in the workpiece--NOT end grain! Also use the Fuller counterbore/countersink for making the plug hole.

    I would dado 1/4" deep and use at least two fasteners per side, per step.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Andy's plug technique has merit and with some careful consideration of the donor board to the workpiece, one can cut plugs for specific spots for best match by visually insuring that the grain and ribboning breaks match between the plug and the counterbore position. It takes time, but the end result can be nearly invisible. Using tapered plugs is essential for this. I use cutters I obtained from Lee Valley for this.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    Kamiah, ID
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy bessette View Post
    Negative on contrasting wood! Ugh!
    I think Greene and Greene would disagree with you.

  9. #24
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    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    I agree with Tim in the sense that the style of the construction/room/furniture will influence greatly whether or not plugs are hidden or made contrasting. The latter could also include design elements like flush or raised and round or square as well as flush/flat or domed/pyramid in style. Contrasting would absolutely have to be carefully place for symmetry of look along the length/height of the ladder as even a minor deviation in spacing would be more noticeable.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #25
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Northern Virginia
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    Why not just use wedged through tenons. Im not a fan of the metal cross bolt in furniture ladders.

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    ...Using tapered plugs is essential...
    Actually the preferred (Fuller) plug cutters make straight-sided, not tapered plugs. These are very slightly oversize for a tight fit. And they are tapped in until they bottom out in the counterbore, leaving no void. Fuller is the brand of choice of boat builders everywhere and we use a LOT of plugs.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jared Sankovich View Post
    Why not just use wedged through tenons. Im not a fan of the metal cross bolt in furniture ladders.
    Yes wedged tenons would be my choice as well. If I didn't want any grain disruption on the ladder sides I would break out the Kreg jig and screw them together under the stair treads.

  13. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Jared Sankovich View Post
    Why not just use wedged through tenons. Im not a fan of the metal cross bolt in furniture ladders.
    Thx Jared. WTT's were on my radar for a bit but I don't want to interrupt the long sweeping ribbons in the Sapele.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Breinig View Post
    Yes wedged tenons would be my choice as well. If I didn't want any grain disruption on the ladder sides I would break out the Kreg jig and screw them together under the stair treads.
    Contrasting plugs are now out. I may wind up using the Kreg. The underside of lower 3 treads won't be seen so Kreg's a no brainer on those. I'm good at toning with Trans-tint so if I'm able to tone Kreg plugs I'll Kreg all 9 treads. If not, I'll screw/plug the sides. Bought a USA made plug cutting kit years back that works very well. Can't remember if it cuts tapered or not but...I've used it on Sapele with excellent results.
    Thanks,
    Fred

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by fred everett View Post
    ...Kreg's a no brainer on those. I'm good at toning with Trans-tint so if I'm able to tone Kreg plugs I'll Kreg all 9 treads...
    OMG, nooooooooooooooooooooo!
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
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    East Virginia
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    Traditional ladders have a metal rod that goes under the tread secured with nuts on both sides which provides both support for the tread and holds the joints together. Jamie's solution will give you an even stiffer tread, but I wouldn't rely on screws in end grain to keep the joints together. Miller dowels or cross dowel bolts would be a more robust solution.

    John
    Maybe I'm anal, but I think I'd find a way to incorporate the metal rod John mentions that's used in ladders, pull-down attic stairs, etc. Ladders like this take a lot of abuse when you carry stuff up and down them, and when you start to lose your balance and rack/twist the ladder, etc. Just listen to the way they creak when you climb them. You wouldn't want anyone to get hurt, and in the case of an injury and claim, the insurance people are going to be real interested in how this ladder was constructed...

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