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-   -   What could possibly go wrong? (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f6/what-could-possibly-go-wrong-14819/)

Wuzzat? 09-28-2012 03:15 PM

What could possibly go wrong?
 
A client needs a light bulb changed over a stairwell so I need a way for a regular 4' stepladder to stand on a firm and level foundation.

I'm building a rigid box 24" x 24" x 8" with one open side with gusset plates in the corners that doubles as a 24" high ladder base that goes two steps down from the upper support step.

For differences in the steps I'll have plywood plates 1/4", 1/2" and 1" which can be placed under the box or the ladder and gives me a range of adjustment from 1/4" to 1-3/4" in 1/4" increments.

I have a body harness from Grainger for tree work and so this with a rope fastened to the top of the staircase will be my backup in case of a problem.

If it turns out to be too risky I'll still have a GP box.

nealtw 09-28-2012 04:43 PM

http://www.google.ca/search?q=adjustable+step+ladder+for+stairs&hl=en&p rmd=imvns&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=0idmUM-7HILqiQKKhoHgDQ&sqi=2&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1016&bih =523

Wuzzat? 09-28-2012 06:04 PM

Thanks for the link. The thing is, this is only the second time in many years that I have been called on to do this kind of task so I'm reluctant to buy yet another ladder. I just do handyman work.

This box works well enough that I'm going to put carrying handles on it. It's 10 pcs of scrap wood, 8 screws, a handful of nails and less than two hours labor.

I will need to use it with a level since I find there are no usable horizontal lines on a staircase to use as a reference.
Also, at 2' wide I noticed that it's difficult to walk around it on a narrow staircase but I may not need to walk around it.
Both of these things may also be true of the commercially available versions.

After I cut the shim plates the next test is to check the stability on heavily carpeted stairs.

Housedoctor57 09-30-2012 03:04 PM

You can rent a little giant or similar ladder cheap. What do you figure medical cost will be for fractured arm, leg, etc.
Just add the rent into your bill.

Wuzzat? 09-30-2012 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Housedoctor57 (Post 77706)
You can rent a little giant or similar ladder cheap. What do you figure medical cost will be for fractured arm, leg, etc.
Just add the rent into your bill.

I looked through the manual for the Little Giant and I see now why the telescoping legs flare out. A lot of thought went into that thing.

And for reasons I didn't anticipate, even on hard stairs there is a little wobble with this box thing. So for the time being I've got myself a GP box.

BTW, the last time I was in the ER they had a GOMER - Get Out of My Emergency Room or Grand Old Man of the Emergency Room.
That was pretty entertaining until one of the techs called security and this huge dude frog-marched the guy out into the parking lot.
He was a provocative, articulate, intelligent little twerp and everybody was getting pulled into his unhappy camper routine. There was a bit of a paranoid flavor to his accusations.
The tech said that the last time they had one of those was months ago. I should have asked about the last time "the knife & gun club" had paid a visit.

oldognewtrick 09-30-2012 04:56 PM

Let us know where we can send cards and flowers.

CallMeVilla 10-01-2012 12:24 PM

OK, I built this stair platform to hang a very large mirror in a stairway ... You can make it larger but the principle works great. I actually shot screws down through the top and allowed them to protrude slightly to catch the carpeting on the stairs.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:7BOQjTM4vzoJ:www.mattandshari.c om/images/stories/Shop_Projects/ladderplatform.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEE SgykP6ehN54M9c9SUOi7IPLXfYRs96IiAr3iknveLcRKXUX7o7 H1Qkz3rvzwjWf9klCe_O-BjJDSzYcaMYfwXjCOsLmcVuNS25zQ1UcOTUwokQEutLXtiXBga R5h_5SiOn3GWvL&sig=AHIEtbRLKUuvu_fA6CVHxJfrN2ELe82 Kig&pli=1

It was almost as wide as the stair, so I mounted my ladder and climbed as highas I needed to go. If you are shakey, get a helper to hold the ladder while you do your thing. :p

Wuzzat? 10-01-2012 01:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CallMeVilla (Post 77743)
OK, I built this stair platform to hang a very large mirror in a stairway ... You can make it larger but the principle works great. I actually shot screws down through the top and allowed them to protrude slightly to catch the carpeting on the stairs.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:7BOQjTM4vzoJ:www.mattandshari.c om/images/stories/Shop_Projects/ladderplatform.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEE SgykP6ehN54M9c9SUOi7IPLXfYRs96IiAr3iknveLcRKXUX7o7 H1Qkz3rvzwjWf9klCe_O-BjJDSzYcaMYfwXjCOsLmcVuNS25zQ1UcOTUwokQEutLXtiXBga R5h_5SiOn3GWvL&sig=AHIEtbRLKUuvu_fA6CVHxJfrN2ELe82 Kig&pli=1

It was almost as wide as the stair, so I mounted my ladder and climbed as highas I needed to go. If you are shakey, get a helper to hold the ladder while you do your thing. :p

Yes, that horizontal stabilizing plate is what I hoped to avoid.

Have you noticed that ladders that lean against something, and very short stepladders, are just as wide at the bottom as at the top?
The 4' and 6' stepladders are wider at the bottom and there is probably some rule of thumb for stepladder height vs. base width for a given amount of stability.

Thanks for the pix!

Wuzzat? 10-01-2012 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oldog/newtrick (Post 77713)
Let us know where we can send cards and flowers.

My survivors would prefer cash. . .:D

nealtw 10-01-2012 04:45 PM

If you don't want to buy a new ladder, bolt on extention legs made out of 2x4.


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