DIY: How to build a Ships Ladder

hey guys Spitz here with Nelson treehouse and supply today I'm going to show you how to build a ship's ladder just like this one and remember the plans are available online the ship's ladder is just a great thing to have in a treehouse we use them all across country super efficient so yeah let's do it today's project is an intermediate level project you're going to have to have some basic carpentry knowledge and as far as materials go we're using Doug Fir for our wood it's a great wood it's solid stains real nicely off our stair stringers we're going to need to buy 12 by 16 off or stair treads we'll need to buy 6 by 12 Hardware is very simple we're just using screw products and quarter by 4 inch lag screws just to hold our stair treads in along with some tight bond to glue and as far as tools for building the ship's ladder we're going to need a jigsaw palm sander worm drive Japanese pull saw it's also very helpful to have a selection of chisels around we use a drill with two different fits we use an eighth inch it bit for our pilot holes a one and a half inch Forstner bit as well I used a plunge router with a 3/4 straight bit with a bearing on the top which is important and a palm router with a 3/8 inch roundover with the bearing on the bottom and then just a driver with a t25 bit 2 driver screws and that's it so I drew these plans specific to this treehouse that we're working on coming up the plans online are a little bit different but it's the very much the same general concept stair-tread height is good to keep around a foot from the top of stair tread to the top of the next stair tread another thing to keep in mind with the ship's ladder is the degree we found that 18 to 20 degrees is the best way to go so I mocked a stair tread up here so we can just visually see what's going on there's a couple choices that you have when choosing how you want to do your stair treads you can have your stair tread buried inside the wood or you can have your stair tread out and either sticking out or flush with the back in this case we're going to go with flush from the back and this is totally just an ecstatic decision so our stair treads are going to you kind of go like this flush with the back of the staircase coming in and buried in the wood here so in order to do this I'm going to have to rip down these two by twelves here real quick so that we can have like this very nice clean edge I'm just cutting the base at the angle that we want which is 18 degrees on this one and then I'm going to be able to pull all my measurements right off flat so as I'm working I like to lay these out mirror image as there going to be because you are building two separate pieces that are opposite so it's not the same cut on each piece so what I just did was quickly lay out where stair treads are going to be it you can see these guys gone they're bamm-bamm mark all eight stair treads just so I know where they go and I marked out this up top too so I know just exactly what my board is going to cut like all right so now I know where all my server treads are going to go I need to cut my pockets so we have a place to put those stair treads in order to do that I have built this beautiful jig here and I'm going to use a router to go in and take out that material this router bit has a bowl bearing on top and so that is actually going to follow this plywood all the way around and now it's set to a depth so it will cut into this material it will cut a pocket about 5/8 and so this is super handy because that with that ball bearing right here I know it's going to cut out the exact same pocket for each stair tread so I don't have to worry about it being different you so we have one by 12 all routed out now for eight stair treads but you'll notice if I try to take this jig use it on the other side it might look like it's going to work just like it did over here but it's actually going in the wrong direction because again these are mirror images of each other and so we actually want the stair tread to be coming down this way um yeah so I'm going to have to flip the jig I can't use the same jig on each side so now that we got our pockets cut out for our steps ready to start working on railing so we can actually get up in there all right so this is the top part of our railing coming up into the loft here so I'm working on cutting this out right now I'm going to be cutting a couple holes here and cutting out the material in between so I'm going to cut out an inch and a half hole here it's an inch and a half Forstner bit yeah and that's actually just going to be the end of a long run that's going to create our railing leave two inches of material here this is all kind of arbitrary choices we normally leave about inch and a half but because I'm looking at having a couple knots in there I want to leave enough material where I really have enough strength so I decided that I'm leaving two inches in the front I'm going to have an inch and a half gap here and it's going to be in three inches from the top and those are just a set of choices that are made I got my two holes cut beep and I'm just scribing a line in between and then I'm going to cut this whole piece out and it's going to be a railing I'll be finishing this with my Japanese pole saw here there we go I just got to do this another one two three four five five times and I'll be done yeah five more times now that I got our handles cut out I'm going to go ahead and actually cut out this top shape here so I'm just you know I'm going to round everything over give this guy a little bit of character here and I think this coffee would might just be the perfect template here all right so now that I got this rounded over I'm going to go ahead I'll just kind of clean up the inside of these holes that I cut and everything and then repeat that process on the next one you made it this far you should have something that looks like this – beautiful stair stringers here mirror images of each other yeah ready for the finishing touches here so I'm going to using this 3/8 round over router bit with a ball bearing on the bottom here just to follow around and help take away that sharp edge and make it nice and round easy to grab on to so we've rounded over most of our edges we left this back edge just because when we put our stair-tread end we'll want that to be a sharp corner we want that want that rounding into each other because if you take like a normal two by six like I got here stick that in you can see that we have a gap there you know and that has been determined by the size of our router bit that cut that hole and our router bit was three fours so if we split that in half take our 3/8 round this over three eighths and that should be able to fit fine there we go now we've got a tight fit so this stair-tread material I rip to an 18 degree bevel on the back which is the same as our incline for the ship's ladder and that's pretty much what this piece was and it like I just demonstrated over here that needs to be a 3/8 round over instead of a quarter inch in which it comes in so it's pretty quick little thing I'm going to use my palm router again and crank this out now that I've got all my stair-tread material prepped I've got it rounded over I got the bevel on the back I just got to figure out what length I want to cut them all down to which really just comes to how wide do I want my ship's ladder I'm just going to set a block here to the width that I want my search eyes and start chopping them up now that all of our pieces we got our rounded over edges and everything it is very beneficial to sand before you put something together because otherwise you know you're kind of like reaching around things this way I just get to blast off and sand this whole thing and that's what I'm going to best screws on the market that's what we're using right now quarter by fours screw products a couple of these per stair stair tread and this whole thing is going to come together these are four inches pretty big we definitely want to pre-drill for these and one way without having described everything out on the other side is just screw from the inside get exactly where I want it and then when we put all together I'll screw again finally the moment we've all been waiting for assembly of this beautiful ship's ladder I've got all my stair treads I've got my two pieces cut out and ready to go and now it's just basically stacking them together screwing and gluing I'm going to start by putting my top tread at my bottom tread in and then I'm just going to slide all the other treads right into place get a nice amount of glue in there Oh I'm not driving them in I'm keeping them flush on the surface you actually keep you retain a lot of strength by doing that and while you're gluing up you always want to keep a rag a wet rag on you because just like this if you let that dry it's impossible to get off later you this here is a beautiful finished ship's ladder freshly screwed and glued this is one of the wider ships ladders I've ever made I mean you could get two people going up this at one time I think you're not going straight up a ladder you're not going up a staircase so it's not using as much space well we did it we built a ship's ladder ready to be installed in any treehouse anywhere plans available online Nelson treehouse and supply comm well that's our ships ladder thanks for watching hope you enjoy and hope some you actually get around to building one yourself we have plans online available Nelson treehouse and supply comm we also have tons of other great videos over there and right above you can subscribe to make sure you stay in contact with us

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