Ingenious Folding Ladder Built by Roy Underhill

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In the above quick video Bill Anderson and I show how Roy Underhill’s famous “folding ladder” works. Roy’s design is based on a folding ladder used by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. You can learn more about Thomas Jefferson’s folding ladder here.

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Here’s the best price for the season 8 DVD of “The Woodwright’s Shop” where Roy shows how to build this ladder: here or here.

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What amazing woodworking inventions have you discovered?

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2017-04-20T09:57:35+00:00

About the Author:

"I'm wildly passionate about traditional woodworking with hand tools, and want to rekindle this lost art. At WoodAndShop I teach you the skills that I learn, and also share anything fascinating that I discover about traditional woodworking. That includes tours of traditional workshops, beautiful furniture, and my favorite tools and books. I hope you enjoy my videos, photos, and articles. Please feel free to leave constructive comments!"

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7 Comments on "Ingenious Folding Ladder Built by Roy Underhill"

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Jason Hammond
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In Roy’s book “The Woodwright’s Eclectic Workshop” 1991 Chapel Hill Press, page 87 he gives exact dimentions of the ladder, rungs, grooves and all and some of its history. The only thing I could see with the ladder is its width. I’m afraid it would be to narrow for my big feet. If you made the rungs wider then they would probably be spaced too far apart to step up on the next rung. I know after seeing that episode I thought about a few variation of that ladder. Of course I love just about everything T Jefferson thought up.

Matthew Lee
Guest
Thanks for posting this. Very clever indeed. That design is beyond what I can do with the limited tools I have. But the picture of the one by Jefferson or his woodworker is within reach. Here: http://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/folding-ladder The design is somewhat different, it appears simpler to me at least. In plan view, the sides of the ladder are “L” shaped. And the rungs of the ladder just run between the two “L’s” which are turned opposite directions. The rungs appear to be connected to the rails of the ladder with some sort of dowel. I wonder how can the dowels… Read more »
Matthew Lee
Guest

p.s. Tried to send you a message through your contact form, but it wouldn’t go through, it seemed to just keep thinking…. with a few arrows going in circles indicating it was processing, but never sent the message. No big deal, just thought you’d want to know. Maybe its just my computer?

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