Kids sized ladder

December, 2017

We are very interested in "yadders" at the house currently. The kiddos have been caught climbing on mine (not acceptable, too risky) so I moved them and added one to their climber. Joseph would still really like one to drag around though so I decided to make a kid sized one that would be small enough the inevitable injuries inflicted by its usage wouldn't be serious.

I went to the lumber store with the idea of 2x3 side rails and come hardwood rods for rungs. Because I am an engineer and sometimes overdo things I actually did run a calculation on the size of the rung and had previously decided anything in poplar, ash or oak would be suitable if larger than 1-1/8" in diameter. I went with 1-3/8" because that is a commonly available size (used for closet rods etc.) and more importantly the forstner bit in the set I was looking at buying jumped from 1" to 1-3/8" (because of the closet rod usage).

Obviously I have a 2x6 in the picture instead of a pair of 2x3s. Well, all of the 2x3 stud stock was really rough (even more than usual for studs) so when I noticed a 2x6 with only one knot at one end I grabbed that instead.

To get 6 rungs out of my 2 poplar rods I cut it into 16" length instead of the 18" I was originally planning for.

Then I cut the 2x6 down to 4ft long and ripped the 4ft section in half to create 2 pcs 1.5in x 2.75in.

Before marking out my holes for the rungs I decided which side of each board would go to the outside and marked from the same end on the side I wanted to use for the inside. I spaced the rungs out every 8 inches to fit little people as the standard 12inches of a normal ladder is a bit of a struggle for them.

I test fit the parts after drilling both boards.

Everything fit together pretty nice so I popped it back apart and smeared gorilla glue on the inside of all the holes and re-assembled. I chose gorilla glue because it is better for outdoors where it will get wet and because it expands to fill the gaps unlike standard PVA wood glue.

To make sure everything stayed where it should while drying and to give a little bit of mechanical security to the ladder I hammered in one casement nail on each rung. I had to put them in at an angle because they were a little long (2-1/2 in a 2-3/4 board) for recessing them and getting things far enough below flush so I wouldn't hit them latter when planing.

After the glue dried the next day I went over the exterior sides with the power hand plane to bring the rod ends flush with the side rail. A side benefit I had planned on earlier in assembly was that the roughest parts of the lumber which I had purposely placed on the outside were smoothed up and made nice to touch.

I still need to wipe a quick coat of polyurethane on at some point but he was watching me plane it so I gave it to him as soon as that was finished. I think he likes it!

We'll see if that coat of poly ever happens. That is a problem with putting something into service that isn't finished. It rarely ever gets completed then. Meh, it will probably still outlast their desire to play with it.