Makeshift Scaffolding of All Sorts

A commenter on our last post asked about the stair block, so this seemed as good a time as any to point out that you should always make sure your ladder is firmly seated on a surface that will not slip before climbing up. It seems so simple, but it's a fairly common handyman accident to improperly seat the ladder. A few wobbles from way up high and you're getting to learn all about leverage and vector math in a very personal way.

Anyway, a few months ago Noel built this handy stair block. The dimensions are sized to our stairs and our ladder, but the concept is pretty simple: you just raise the height of a couple stairs up enough to make a level platform.

Schwa checks out the stair block

The block is very firmly screwed together with 2 1/2" wood screws. You want a very sturdy piece of material to do this job; a ladder puts a lot of force on the surface it is sitting on both directly down and sideways. If you just made a loose piles of pieces of lumber, they could slide and destabilize your ladder pretty easily.

On the other hand, there's no reason to get too fancy with the block: it's a tool. Ours is made of scrap lumber.

Goldie demonstrates the stair block's construction

(As you can see, I had a Bad Case of Animals while I was taking photos.)

In the back hall, I've finished washing the plaster I can reach easily from a standing position, and today I set up the folding ladder as scaffolding. Schwa helped me test it for safety. I believe he approves, because he's been on the thing all day.

Schwa on the scaffolding

I find the scaffolding configuration a little more manageable for long periods of time, and it is certainly easier to move around on it, as opposed to having to climb up and down the ladder and drag that around all the time. We have a board that fits nicely over the upper rungs to make a platform.

Do I have a picture of that? Hmm, yes:

Scaffolding and cat

As I said, the scaffolding is very popular with the cat.

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posted by ayse on 01/20/10