I Made A Ladder!

Yes, I did.

Please note that I did not title this post “how to make a ladder”.

This was for my daughter’s play set in the back yard, which has had my 6-foot stepladder leaning against it for a few weeks now.

I started by leaning a 6-foot length of redwood against the play set to figure out what angle the ladder should lean at.

Ladder
This was close enough to 30-degrees, so I used 30 as my number.
I cut two lengths of redwood to length with matching 30-degree cuts on the top and bottom edges.
Ladder

Then I used a tape measure to mark intervals on both pieces to note where the center of each step should be.
Ladder

I used the table saw and the miter gauge to cut slots at 30-degrees to make the edges of a mortise; and then used a router to freehand cut the insides out (working carefully, the kirf of the table saw cut is enough of a buffer to rout this out freehand).
Ladder
Ladder

Since I’m not very good at measuring, the mortises were all too narrow, so I slapped together a little tenoning jig to trim the ends of the steps (this was easier than trying to cut all the mortises a little wider).
Ladder
Ladder
Ladder

I successfully got all the steps installed on one rail of the ladder (glue and screws), and then realized that I was not going to be able to get all of the tenons to line up on the other rail. There were little imperfections in the wood and construction, and all together across all the steps this was enough to make it impossible to line everything up at once.

So I made a little router jig (read: “I cut a piece of plywood”) to shave a little more wood off each tenon’s width (the tricky part is that the steps were already installed on one side).
Ladder

Meanwhile I was doing a lot of stepping over and around the half-assembled ladder and managed to catch the corner of a step with the underside of my knee…
ladder

REALLY?!?! Not only am I supposed to wear “close-toed shoes” in the garage, but now I have to wear pants too?!

Next you’re going to say I should be wearing gloves!
Lathe compound repair

Whatever.

Ladder

In any case, that last bit of adjusting with the router worked, and I finished the ladder… and then put on some pants and ate dinner.

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How To Patch A Hole In The Wall

As part of my ongoing bathroom renovation activities, I’m moving the light fixture. This means I need to make a new hole in one wall and to patch the old hole in the the other wall.

It’s a little tricky to patch a wall when the hole isn’t near any studs, but it’s not too difficult with a little planning.

Here’s what I do (It’s as easy as one, two, three…, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine!):

1. Locate the hole.

Hole in the wall

2. Cut a piece of plywood that is a little narrower than the hole.
3. Put a screw near the center of the plywood and use it as a handle to put the plywood in the hole and hold it against the back side of the drywall. (Note: it is best if the screw is closer to one end of the board lengthwise, otherwise it may interfere with getting the board into the hole)

Hole in the wall

4. Pull on the screw with one hand, while you drive in screws through the drywall and into the ends of the plywood.

Hole in the wall

Hole in the wall

5. Remove the center screw from the plywood.

6. Measure the hole.
Hole in the wall

7. Cut a new piece of drywall.
Wall Patch

Wall Patch

Wall Patch

Wall Patch

8. Screw the new piece of drywall to the plywood.
No Hole in the wall

No Hole in the wall

9. Done.