Stepladder: Episode 1

Stepladder EP1 Keyframe

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Paul starts by talking through his materials and the design features using the prototype and drawings. Then the project is laid out on a storyboard to get the exact positioning and angles required. This can then be transferred onto the stock in preparation for the joinery.

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  1. caerlynnfibers on 6 September 2017 at 3:42 pm

    wonderful project I was waiting for a whole lot!!! If i wanted to add length to such a ladder let’s say with 3 or 4 more steps, would I have to increase the thickness of material?

    thanks a lot!

    • willyd57 on 6 September 2017 at 5:08 pm

      I don’t think the thickness of material would be an issue. But remember, the ladder frame has a taper to it making the top narrower than the bottom. So, if you add steps you will have to lessen that angle to avoid the ladder being too narrow at the top.

      Just a thought!

    • david o'sullivan on 6 September 2017 at 11:02 pm

      good question and by how much ??is it ratio ? would like to build this also

    • wideout16 on 7 September 2017 at 2:03 am

      I might suggest you consider increasing the length downward. In this manner, the top step width would remain as Paul designed it and the bottom would be wide, giving more stability. In reference to the thickness of material, you might consider increasing it by the ratio of length which you are adding. Watch your grain direction carefully!

      Just my thoughts. I’m building it as is.

  2. gyanos on 6 September 2017 at 3:49 pm

    I didn’t hear, or you didn’t say, why you chose to use a story board? I’m curious what led you to it, general complexity, angles, something else?

    • ehisey on 10 September 2017 at 2:48 am

      I think Paul talks more about it in the stool making, but he did mention it here. The story board lets him take the angles direct from the drawing instead of having to compute them.

  3. Adams.rt on 6 September 2017 at 5:17 pm

    This looks like an interesting one. Lots of angles and I love working with full-scale drawings…

  4. rayc21 on 6 September 2017 at 6:45 pm

    What a lovely project to work on. I seem to bet spending most of my time make furniture for other people, but I am going to find time to make myself a Paul Sellers step ladder. I do also like storyboard work all very interesting.

    Thank you Paul and team.

  5. david o'sullivan on 6 September 2017 at 11:08 pm

    i wonder like the previous member mentioned i would like to increase the scale of this build. how would i go about it?? .ny help would be appreciated.

  6. hopper8670 on 7 September 2017 at 12:39 am

    Where do you find the hardware for this project? I’ve looked around with no luck.

    • Derek Long on 7 September 2017 at 2:06 am

      Search for “trestle hinge.” There looks to be several sources to choose from.

  7. Blacklabretriever on 7 September 2017 at 1:17 pm

    More guidance on the hardware (hinges) would be most appreciated, especially as to length and opening angle. I really dont want to get started and then not be able to find the hinges.

  8. rayc21 on 7 September 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Hi, Just seen trestle hinges on eBay.

  9. Philip Adams on 8 September 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Hello all,
    I have just added some information on the trestle hinges to the information page which should help.

    Re altering dimensions, it does very much depend on the amount. Paul said that if adding one additional step at the bottom, it would be fine without additional adjustments. If adding a few more steps than that, add 1/8″/3mm to the thickness of the sides. Within limits of course.

    Hope that helps you on your way.

  10. petervalcanas on 8 September 2017 at 10:09 pm

    I saw one on Amazon but they are not cheap and there were only 3 left.

  11. wdelliott on 9 September 2017 at 6:20 am

    Once the project is finished, do you retain the story board? I could see the value of doing so, much like retaining jigs, but the large size of the board could be an issue in terms of efficiency of storage.

    • ehisey on 10 September 2017 at 2:50 am

      I use roll paper over a story board for that reason. It is easier to keep.

  12. Farred on 9 September 2017 at 9:57 pm

    The trestle hinges on EBay come from the UK and are 200mm, rather than 150mm. I’m not sure if the two extra inches will be a problem. I’m also wondering about the opening–I imagine different models have different opening angles. I’ll have to see how this project plays out before ordering.

    • Philip Adams on 9 October 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Hello Chris, the extra length isn’t an issue and Paul made adjustments to the opening angle to make it work, so as long as it doesn’t open further than the 38 degrees required, you would be fine. Hard to be certain though, you are right.
      Best, Phil

  13. Reno on 10 September 2017 at 1:39 am

    Would someone in possession of a trestle hinge please post a high resolution photo to the gallery? They should be easy to fabricate.

  14. dotian on 10 September 2017 at 8:49 pm

    If one isn’t able to use a storyboard would it be possible to have some guidance as to the angles involved when marking out the side rails. I know Paul indicated 70° for the bottom of the front side rails but also that the angle of the housing dado would be affected by approx. 1°. The actual widths of each step would also be useful.

    • jakegevorgian on 12 September 2017 at 6:20 am

      Sometimes I get away with sketchup software…but storyboard does give you the shortcut for setting the sliding bevel and begin cutting..

      • dotian on 12 September 2017 at 5:04 pm

        Hi Jake
        Having thought about it a little more I’m tending to agree with you so have decided to go with the storyboarding- should be fun!

        • Philip Adams on 27 September 2017 at 2:53 pm

          Hello Ian. Sorry for not replying earlier, but there is no straightforward alternative to getting consistent angles without storyboarding. You can use a roll of paper carefully fixed down if an actual board is not possible.
          Best, Phil

  15. roymac on 8 October 2017 at 7:09 am

    Hi Paul/Phil

    Can you please explain why there are tenon/mortise joins at the top and bottom steps only
    and not for the two steps in between.

    Many thanks

    • Philip Adams on 9 October 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Mortising them all isn’t necessary for strength, whereas the top a bottom ones strengthen and prevent twist.
      Best, Phil

  16. Greywolf on 23 October 2017 at 12:05 am

    There is a 1/4″ difference between the technical drawing (30 3/8″) and the video (30 5/8″) for the total span of the ladder legs when extended on the storyboard. I went with the span mentioned in the video, but I thought you might want to bring the two into agreement.

  17. Dr. Peter Schöberl on 21 May 2019 at 4:52 pm

    What kind of pencil or pen does Paul use to draw lines on the wood?

    • Alan on 22 May 2019 at 2:36 am

      Paul has a selection of pencils to choose from, as you can see from his well-stocked Pencil-Pot. Some are for sketching, some for wood. I use just the one to sketch, mark, and stir my tea.
      It depends on the colour and hardness of the woods and which pencil is sharp and within hands reach.
      Paul usually begins with a feint, hard, pencil; say Steadler 3H.
      If that doesn’t show-up, he moves on, through the grades, to Tesco 2B.
      When he needs lines to show on camera, he sometimes switches to black or red ballpoint Pen.
      Some professionals buy ‘Carpenters Pencils’. These can’t be sharpened in a regular sharpener though, they’re sharpened with a chisel. That’s why they’re for professionals only. There is a video tutorial on this.
      I use a Pop-O-Matic propelling pencil. But I’m a rebel. 😀

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