How To Build A Folding Ladder – Ultimate 8 Steps Guide

Last Updated on August 1, 2022 by William R. Vargas

Folding wood ladders is quite trendy in today’s world. Hence, ladders are usually used for accessing high and difficult reaching areas of your home.

Folding ladders have many advantages over the traditional ones as these ladders consume less space, can be multi-functional as well as highly efficient.

Sometimes using ladders that are available in the market do not fit into your exact category. In this case, building a folding ladder can be of great help.

If you decide to build a folding ladder, then you must be aware of the fact, how to build a folding ladder. The process includes making precise measurements, drawings, raw material preparation, placing and fitting of the rungs, and many more.

Let’s dig into this article that will let you know the whole building process of a folding ladder.

How to build a folding ladder: Step by Step Processes

While building a folding ladder for the home, a couple of steps should be followed. The basic structure of the ladder remains the same as a folding ladder, but the additional folding facility is the key point here.

The two major poles of the ladder remain the same in folding ladders. Just the rung which gives the horizontal support for a person’s foot in a ladder can be adjustable.

Let’s check out the processes that you have to go through to build a folding ladder.

Step 1: Drawings and Measurements

Mark the equidistant points in the major poles where you want your rungs. Make sure to double-check the measurements and drawings before proceeding to the next step.

For the stile or vertical portion of the ladder, the rung should be 330mm from one end. The nails that will be attached need to have ½” in diameter. The rung should be curved from both sides to match the measurements of the stile.

Step 2: Raw material Preparation

After the drawing section, the raw wood needs to be cut, trimmed, and processed. First thing is to prepare the stiles for your ladder using raw wood.

Then according to the measurements, the rungs need to be prepared. It is a good practice to keep rungs 12mm extra in length and then trims them afterward. But the thickness and width are cut in exact measurement.

Step 3: Make Grooves

Make grooves or cut in the stiles. Measure 330mm equidistant points from each end of stiles with a 15° miter cut.

Step 4: Positioning of the Rungs

Now, it is time for the positioning of the rungs. Make sure to match the marks or lines on the stiles drawn beforehand.

It is very crucial to place the rungs in proper grooves and requires quite a skill. It is also a benchmark for making the ladder, as once it is done nicely can ensure the longevity of your ladder.

Step 5: Drill the Points

Once the position of the rung is set, mark the center of each rung’s width and drill holes. Usually, the holes are about 12.5mm in diameter.

Add 30mm to this measurement and cut all of the rungs to this length. In the middle of each rung’s position, place the pivot-hole center points (for drilling 33/64″ centered holes).

With a marking gauge, mark the middle spots for the 33/64″ hinge slots in the rung of the ladder. They’re 15mm apart on either end and aligned on the rung’s width.

Step 6: Fit the Rungs

After that, the next step is to arrange the rungs in the grooves. You should pay extra attention to this step. If the rungs do not fit accurately in the styles, your whole folding ladder structure can collapse.

Place hinge slots or pivots that will hold up the rungs and connect them to the stiles. You can either nail the hinges down by using drills or use a starting adhesive for this purpose. The use of nails and drilling is highly appreciated by the experts in this case.

Step 7: Fit Locking Mechanism

Check the lock mechanism repeatedly if it is working properly or not. The folding ladder base is the lock that gives it the ability to move or fold.

When not in use, this type of ladder is closed. So proper locking ensures its efficiency and usability. Make sure to check or double-check the hinge that is holding the rungs, the nails, and the adhesive (if used).

Step 8: Completion

It is preferable to put a proper clear protective coating on the ladder so that it can be regularly checked for fractures, cracks, or deterioration. Sometimes polyurethane or different kinds of oils are also sprayed all over the ladder.

An oil polish, such as heated linseed oil, is another common choice among other oils. But please remember that oils with chemical additives may transmit electricity.

What wood is used for folding ladders?

One of the most popular wood choices for ladders is southern yellow pine, an incredibly quickly growing American hardwood that will provide sturdiness to wooden ladders for many years.

There are also other wood preferences including any type of resilient wood. It also depends on the ladder maker which wood is fitted to his budget, durability, and choice.

DIY folding ladder

It is always the best option to consult a professional before starting this kind of job. But as you can see, building a folding ladder is not very hard, rather it is simple to work.

So, often people think that they can build a folding ladder themselves. I hope you can follow the above steps carefully and give it a try to build a DIY folding ladder.

In case of any confusion, make sure to consult a carpenter or a professional.


Hopefully, this article has helped your queries related to how to build a folding ladder.

You have to be extra careful in several steps while doing the whole process such as while making drawings or taking measurements and also while placing and fitting the hinges and rungs. If any of this is not properly done, it is very likely for your ladder to collapse easily.

Now, do not worry about these things and I hope you can start your work with this basic idea.

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