Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

By skeetstar
Gentles all, I have been asked by a mate to make something like this as access to a loft workshop over a garage. The garage is separate from his house, so this won't be for a dwelling, though the finished article will need to look good.
I plan to make a jig and rout housings for the treads. Then glue and fix through the stringers (?) with some sort of decorative headed bolts.

I have a couple of questions:

1. Is there guidance anywhere as to what size timbers I should use and recommended distances between treads, depth of tread housings etc?
2. Are there building regs that I will need to conform to?
3. Is there anywhere that might sell the sort of ironwork used as a hand rail per the photo below?

Any help grateully received.

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By katellwood
I would keep the rise at approx 175-200mm

Machine the strings out of 38mm (1 1/2") and with a good fixing and tight housings 12-15mm should be deep enough

The thickness of the treads will be subjective to the width of the steps however if you use a thin section (1" or less) then you can always stiffen the tread with a mini riser fixed under the tread

The picture you have used, in my opinion is over engineered for its purpose however possibly acceptable aesthetically

I cannot see that it will require building regs if in a garage and non habitable

Instead of ironmongery for the handrail, why not just route out slots in the top of the strings then radius for comfort, like so

ships ladder.jpg

if you want a larger going but still keep the pitch then alternating treads might be suitable

alternating treads.JPG

food for thought
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By Myfordman
I made one for my son to access a loft bedroom. 25mm treads in a 8mm rebate in the stringers but with 2 through mortices wedged at each end of the treads. I used ash and contrasting wedges of something mahogany like that was to hand at the time.
It has been in daily use for the last 20 years and no signs of loosening or racking.
By skeetstar
Fellas, thanks for replies, most helpful. Appreciate yer taking the time to respond/

I love the Jefferson Ladder - I like the way the chap whacks it and behold a ladder appears - beyond my skills to make one like that though.
By treeturner123
If you're after an alternate step ladder, I got mine off ebay and cut it to the correct height. The instructions were a little vague but trial and error won out!

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By GrahamF
My boat companionway ladder treads are (grooved tread) 39cm x 11cm x 22mm thick, 24cm rise. Stringers 12cm x 22mm however, it's only 152mm long so may need to be beefed up.
By skeetstar
Folks I appreciate all the responses, and will incorporate most of the advice in the finished product, but I have a few more questions;

1, the client (a mate) decided softwood is the way to go. Can anyone recommend a good softwood, that isn't too knotty, I'd like to be able to go to a merchant and specify exactly what I want. The strings will need to be around 3.2m long, am I going to struggle finding stock in that length?

2. the stairs will access a garage loft, the strings will sit on a garage floor. It 'shouldn't' get wet, but in case water did get under the roller door somehow, I was thinking of fixing a bit of roofing felt to the base of the strings where they sit on the floor.
Is this a good idea? Is there something better I could do?

Thanks again
By kevinlightfoot
You need unsorted redwood,tell your timber supplier its intended use ,readily available at a good timber yard and not as ex pensive as you may think .I would expect to pay about a fiver a metre for 6x2 rough sawn and a good yard will help you sort out relatively knot free lengths.The lengths you need should be no problem.
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By bugbear
katellwood wrote:if you want a larger going but still keep the pitch then alternating treads might be suitable

I'd never seen or heard of those - thank you, quite fascinating.