Ladder Shelving




About: I am an automation engineer but I will give anything a go. I don't know if you call if pessimism or just being an engineer, but I look for problems everywhere, then I look for some weird, left field way to s...

An old warped ladder restored and converted into some industrial looking shelving.

I wanted some industrial looking shelving for my office, I'm not keen on the new looking stuff.

I found all of the materials for this instructable by the skip in work.

The wooden ladder had been left in the rain and had warped, also after 30 years of abuse I would not trust it to be used to hold a person.

The 10mm plywood is taken from the lids of wooden crates our raw materials arrive in, these boxes are normally crushed.

Step 1: Strip the Old Ladder

The ladder was quite ugly and warped to start with.
All of the fittings and ties were removed. I cut the old ropes off as they are no longer needed.
I kept all of the bots as they are nice and weathered and add to the distressed look.
Originally I wanted to make it with all of the shelves split in the middle and hinge everything but the ladder was too badly twisted so I decided to lock everything up.
Tying everything with screws also squared up the frame again.
I rough sanded the frame with a sanding disk on my 4" grinder, this striped and distressed the look of the frame as well as being very fast.
I didn't work too hard on cleaning the ladder, just enough to remove the old paint and grime but keep the loom the ladder took 30 years to achieve.

Step 2: Paint the Hinges

The hinges were in pretty bad shape, they were cleaned up on the sander, oiled and freed.
They were then painted with a satin matte black spray paint. (Please be careful when spray painting, only use aerosols in well ventilated areas).

Step 3: Cut the Shelves

The ladder tapers in both directions on the way up so I had to make each self to fit.
I didn't want an excessive overhang but wanted to add to the look so the overhang on each shelf gets smaller as we go up.
8" each side at the bottom, 7" each side on the next shelf and reducing 1" each step till the top.
I also needed to round the corners and the edges as I don't want to injure myself every time I need something off the shelf.
I marked the radius with a roll of tape and did all of the shaping freehand with the sander on the grinder.

Step 4: Fit the Shelves

Each shelf is screwed down to the treadle (step) with 2 80 x 5mm self tapping wood screws.
The frame had to be constantly checked for square to stop the final unit from rocking.

Step 5: Load It Up

I threw some tools onto the shelves to check for sturdiness and it worked.
I thought about varnishing the whole thing but prefere the raw look and also I hate to varnish stuff.
I hope you like it.



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6 Discussions

Left-field Designs

3 years ago

That was part of the plan, I was going to split all of the shelves in the middle and hinge everything so the ladder could still fold and all wheels to move it around but the condition of the ladder wouldn't allow it.


3 years ago

Cool! It would be really awesome to add wheels and make it portable!


3 years ago

Cool! It would be really awesome to add wheels and make it portable!