Introduction: Paracord Ladder W/ Wooden Rungs

About: I love to build stuff.
     In this Instructable I'll show you how to make a rope ladder using standard paracord with wooden rungs.  You can use rope ladders for just about anything, from treehouses to boats to haylofts.  They can also be used as emergency escapes in case of a fire.  This is also one of my entries for the paracord contest so, please vote or rate!

Step 1: Bill of Materials

Here is what you will need:

Paracord(see step 2 for exact amount)
Wood dowels(see step 2 for exact amount)

Where you can get your materials:

Paracord - I got mine from the local military surplus store, at 9 cents a foot.  You can also get 300' of it here for $13 for a much better deal.

Wood - Your local hardware store, Home Depot, Lowe's, or equivalent.

You'll need to use dowels, the knot I use needs a circular surface.  I used a 1" dowel, but be sure you choose one that will support your full body.


Step 2: Preparing the Materials

At this point you'll need to decide how tall you want your rope ladder to be.  There really is no formula for telling how much rope you need.  Take the desired height, multiply by two, and add 10-20'.  I bought 26' of paracord and my ladder was about 6-7 feet tall with rope left over.  The reason you'll need extra is because of the knots in the paracord. As far as rungs go, you'll need one rung every 8-12 inches.  As far as width goes, it really depends on the application. 12" is a good mark, try not to go too wide if your wood cannot support it.  I made my rungs 8" wide because I wanted them to be stronger. 

Step 3: Cutting the Rungs

     Next, you'll need to cut the rungs from the dowel.  I was supposed to end up with 6, but I had some issues with the saw and only got 5.  This step is pretty self explanatory, just make a mark on the dowel where you want to cut, and make the cut.  REMEMBER:  ALWAYS WEAR SAFETY GLASSES!

Step 4: Preparing the Paracord

Now you'll need to get your paracord and make it into a very narrow U-shape, as shown below.  Take a piece of masking tape and mark the center, or the bottom of the U.

Step 5: Learning the Knot

The knot we'll using is called the constrictor knot, below are some pictures to help you learn it.  Try practicing a couple times before you use it on the ladder.  You need it to be tight and economic.  When pulled tight, this knot is very strong.  You can also use the double constrictor(here) but keep in mind that it will use more rope.

Step 6: Tying the Rungs

     Now, use the constrictor knot to tie the paracord around the dowel.  Try to get the spacing on either side of the dowel roughly the same, you can fine tune later.  This is where the tape comes in handy.  Try to get the two sides going to the first rung the same length.  This will help keep your ladder in balance.  When you're done, make sure all of the knots are tightened and properly aligned so they won't slide.  When you step on it for the first time, they might slide, but just fine tune the knots to get rid of the unbalance.

Step 7: Continue Down the Ladder

     Now, just repeat this step until you are done.  Keep spacing in mind, try to make it all equal.

Step 8: Mounting the Ladder

     There are many ways you can mount the ladder.  Some might choose to mount it on the inside of their window as a fire escape.  I chose to just test it for now, and I did this by punding in a 3" nail to a solid beam in my barn.  Keep in mind, this is NOT the best and or safest way to mount it, but it worked good enough for testing.  If you do this, try to tilt the nail so it will hold stronger.  Caution:  When I tested my ladder, i used an adjacent ladder to support me in case the paracord ladder broke.  Don't just assume that it is strong enough!

Step 9: You're Done!

     This ladder has an infinite amount of purposes, whether it be for emergency escape, a treehouse, or just to have a rope ladder!

Here are some ideas for you to try out:

-Braid the paracord to make it stronger

-Use better quality wood for the rungs

-Put a wooden mounting bracket at the top

-Find a way to secure the knots so they wont slide as much

     Thank you for viewing my instructable, please comment and rate!