Introduction: Rustic Blanket Ladder for Under #10.00

About: Retired teacher. Gardener, woodworker, bird enthusiast, and maker of things.

For this build I used the following tools because I have them. It can be made with fewer tools and it will still look awesome.

Drill with drill bit to size of tendon

Tape measure

Table saw or circular saw

Draw knife, or hand plane or pocket knife

Tendon cutter but tendon can be carved with a knife

I used a torch to burn the grain for a rustic look but this step is not necessary

Step 1: Full Size Plan

A full size plan makes this build a lot easier. The rungs are 12” (30.48cm) apart from each other. To make the ladder smaller at the top I reduced the rungs by 1” (2.54cm) each from bottom to top. You can also just make the straight. My longest rung was 29.5”(74.93cm).

Step 2: Measure Carefully

If you’re using 2x4’s you’ll need to rip in half. If you start with 2x2’s you’re ready for layout. Place the 2x2 legs on the full-size plans and transfer the marks to the wood. Find the exact center where the rungs intersect the legs and make a cross mark.

Step 3: Time to Drill Holes

Clamp the legs to the work bench on top of the full-size plans. Use the plans to align the drill and drill bit. I had to shim under the legs so that the drill was parallel and at the correct height.

Continue this drilling process until all the holes are drilled in both legs. Because of the angle, you now have a right and left leg.

Step 4: Cut the Rungs

Using the full-size plans cut 2x2s to the correct length

Step 5: The Rungs Turn From 2x2s to Octagons

Mark a line down each side of the rungs about 3/4”(1.9cm). Using a draw knife, plane, or pocket knife, carve the rungs down to the line. No need for precision, the rungs should look “rustic”.

Step 6: Cut the Tendons

Using a tendon cutter or pocket knife, carefully cut the tendons on the ends of the rungs.

Step 7: Time for Assembly

I burnt the grain on my rungs and used a wire brush to remove the outer layer of wood and expose the grain. This step in not necessary and can be dangerous. If you choose to do this, make sure you do it outside and use caution. Sand all the parts now, before assembly as it’s much easier at this time. Lay the ladder on the plans. Make sure at this time the legs are orientated correctly and the rungs in the correct place. Put one side of the ladder together. Carefully align the other leg and rungs, At this point you can start clamping the rungs together if you have enough clamps. I don’t have that many clamps so I elevated one side and used a softblow hammer to bring the rungs home. Once in place I screwed them in on the back side.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

I used a dry brush technique to add white paint. Once painted, I wrapped jute string around the intersection of each rung and leg.

How you use the ladder is up to you and your imagination. Enjoy!

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