ladderInBarnBehold the wonder of the ages in the picture at left! Don’t be shy! Click for larger image! Half-ladder! Half-staircase! All mobile!

Okay, that quite exhausts our quota of exclamation points. As mentioned in an earlier post our new barn has lofts on either side. We had been gaining access to them by means of an extension ladder, shown lying on its side in the left of the picture. It is rather heavy to easily move from reaching one loft to reaching the other. It is also more difficult than one would expect to put in position securely with neither tipping nor slipping, particularly during the precarious dismount at the top, stepping to the left or right off the ladder. Remounting to descend is even more scary. Worst of all there is not much one can safely carry while climbing it.

Out interim procedure has been to have one of us climb the ladder to the loft as the other kept the floor end stable. Items were then tossed or passed between us or raised/lowered on a sheet of plywood attached to a drywall lift, barely seen behind our construction. We made it work but the inconvenience moved us to consider better solutions.

After rejecting many permanently attached solutions we settled on building the beast in the picture. The platform is a simple two foot by six foot rectangle of two-by-fours, made rigid by a quarter sheet of plywood at the one end, with five-inch, locking swivel castersladderCasters at each corner and directly below the upright supports. The stringers are two-by-eights sloped for roughly eight and half feet of rise per five feet of run. The treads, attached by a trio of three-inch deck screws on each side, are two-by-sixes with the top one even with the loft floor. The uprights supporting the stringers are made of paired glued-and-screwed two-by-sixes, effectively four-by-sixes. And the cross-bracing is made of two-by-fours.

With casters unlocked it easily glides about the floor. Butted against either loft with casters locked there is a very, little rocking as the climber approaches the top but it does not at all feel unsafe. Best of all with the stringers extending past the top tread one can simply walk straight onto the loft. OSHA would surely grumble but we are dead chuffed.