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Thread: Boarding Ladder

  1. #1
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    Default Boarding Ladder

    First post here for a while.

    The latest project is a folding teak boarding ladder adapted from the excellent plans in Sam manning's article in WB issue 84. The changes are mainly to add an additional 2 steps due to the freeboard of the boat involved (Paine 34).

    The teak is recycled from a bookcase liberated from a local Lifeline store.

    The first 2 photos here show a mock up of the design in pine and a test for the rung to sides attachment. I wanted to avoid screws into the mortised end grain of the rungs and will most likely use the technique shown . This involved a through tenon with 2 wedges glued in . The 2nd photo shows a test joint that has been made with pine and coachwood wedges (differing colour for clarity); the joint was then sawn in half to check what was going on inside the glued joint.

    The first question to post here is on the type of non skid treatment to use on the ladder rungs. The rungs are 70mm width ( 2 3/4") and the ladder will be finished with Cetol Marine oil. At the moment the 2 leading candidates are to install a pair of glued splines on each rung. These would protrude no more than 3mm (1/8") but provide a non-slip feature. The 2nd option is to plane 2 grooves in each rung along a smiliar layout plan to the splines. I would be grateful for comments/photos of what others have done.




    Cheers
    PeterW

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Hi Peter,

    I made our boarding ladder in 2013 and used a simple dado joint (glued and screwed) to attach the rungs to the rails. It is still very rigid. The wood is mahogany and the hardware is from Davey. It is finished with the old style Cetol which has held up very well. It is not slippery when wet and we haven't found a need to add non-skid, but if we did, I would go with the clear self-adhesive non-skid tape.





    There are some more photos of it at the end of this album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdless...57640736587473

    THe mounting brackets are attached to a teak step at our lifeline gate that is bolted through the genoa track.



    Good luck. It's a fun project.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Dowels at the bottom of the lower section fit into holes in the top of the upper section when the ladder is folded. This helps to eliminate any diagonal stresses on the hinges.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks Dave.

    Nice ladder : neat idea with the dowels also. I have the same hardware on order. Should be getting my hands on it very soon.

    Love your boat . We came aboard at the 2015 Port Townsend Festival....nice part of the world!
    PeterW

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    I have basically the same ladder - but in unfinished teak. The steps have 1/8" (~3mm) wide grooves routed in them about 1/2" (~13mm) apart & 1/8: (~3mm) deep. Haven't slipped off yet...
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterWidders View Post
    We came aboard at the 2015 Port Townsend Festival....nice part of the world!
    Hi Peter,

    I remember meeting you quite well. Although this year's in-person festival has been cancelled, the Northwest Maritime Center is hosting a virtual festival on September 12th.

    https://virtualwbf.org/

    It looks like a pretty good program and saves you a long flight. Hope to see you there.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    My friend Eric, owns Pélican, an Anthéa's sistership.
    He's very creative.
    He imagined a boarding ladder with a platform.!

    mms_20200731_155853.jpg

    mms_20200731_161225.jpg

    mms_20200731_161301.jpg
    Last edited by Rapelapente; 07-31-2020 at 03:01 PM.
    Gerard.
    SCHOONER FOR EVER, GOELETTE A PERPETE

    http://www.goelette-anthea.fr

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    I like that! Bet it's pretty heavy though. Then there's storing it. Mine fits nicely under the forepeak hatch - which I really like.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks Garret and Gerard - the replies are appreciated.

    Gerard - your friend's ladder is a piece of art!

    I am hopeful that I will get my hands on the hardware soon and can get some more work underway ...and post some more pics.
    PeterW

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Dave - I would be grateful for a pic of your ladder in position on the boat. I have finally received the hardware for the ladder and will need to modify the design to be more like yours.

    I am particularly interested in how the ladder rests against the hull sides.

    Thanks in anticipation.
    PeterW

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    A good ladder that gives ample support to a swimmer to board is really an asset!
    I like what you are doing here Dave and those ladders from France are just the ticket in that department as well. If one has a dog aboard that needs a walk on the beach, that one with the platform is tre's bon!
    Jay

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Peter,

    We have a rub rail about 6" below the sheer, and the ladder rests against that. The step with the brackets (post #2) is bolted through the genoa track. It's on the port side, so not visible in this photo that shows the rub rail.



    It's important that the ladder hangs vertically to avoid lever forces on the brackets. I attached some spacer blocks to the ladder where it lands against the rub rail to ensure that it's vertical.

    Sorry, but I don't have any good shots of the ladder in place, but I'll be back on the boat next week and will post some photos then.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks Dave.
    We have a similar set-up with a rail cap and a rub rail. Here is a pic of our current ladder. It presents a bit of a challenge in getting out of the water after a swim- hence the need for a new version.

    PeterW

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Folded, it's a boarding ladder for getting out of the dinghy, and only extends down to the waterline.
    Unfolded, it's a swim ladder, and the 3 steps below the waterline are key to getting out of the water.

    The water is too cold for swimming where we have sailed, so it's almost always folded.

    You may want to add some weights to the lower portion to keep it from floating if you're using it as a swim ladder.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Here you go, Peter


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks Dave. Looks great. I will post some pics soon of mine in progress.
    PeterW

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Progress has been a bit slow of late but the ladder project is underway. The ladder steps have been made with the tenons left over-long for trimming later. The steps have been given 2 grooves to assist with non-skid properties.


    The sides of the ladder have been cut and step placement marked.



    The mortises in the ladder sides have been cut and fitting is underway.

    PeterW

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    I love that ladder with the platform on it. A bit big for my boat but I'm definitely starting on a ladder project this winter once I get my shop set up in our new home.
    If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
    -Henry David Thoreau-

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    More progress on the ladder with non-slip grooves cut on the treads (top and underside for the part of the ladder that hinges down) and handholds cut in both parts of the ladder frame. The handhold positions took a bit of thinking about so that they would be in the right place whether using the ladder from a dinghy or from the water (swimming) . The parts have been given 2 coats of Cetol Marine Oil and Varnish before assembly. The main purpose here was to hopefully avoind any staining from the inevitable glue squeeze-out when the wedged through-tenons are glued up.







    PeterW

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    The 2 sections of the ladder have been glued with wedged tenons to avoid screws into the end grain of the ladder rungs. Clean up with a plane and ROS has seen good results with the finished effect. Dry fitting (minus wedges) was necessary to ensure everything was coming up square. Photo quality is a bit variable.





    PeterW

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    The main part of the ladder has been finished with just a hoisting mechanism/keeper line to be fitted. This will be similar to a centreboard raising line with a small cleat at the top of the ladder.

    PeterW

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Nice job, Peter. I like the way you accommodated for the width of the hinges

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks Dave.
    Do you have a locking mechanism for the lower section of the ladder to stop it floating up when deployed? I'm not sure if this will be an issue or not.
    PeterW

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Nice work!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks Chris.
    This has been an interesting project with some challenges thrown in.
    PeterW

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Nice Peter! I really like the wedged tenons.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks Hugh.
    This was a first go at wedged tenons and they turned out OK.
    PeterW

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterWidders View Post
    Do you have a locking mechanism for the lower section of the ladder to stop it floating up when deployed.
    The water in our cruising grounds is too cold for swimming, so we use it primarily as a boarding ladder in the folded position. If floating were a problem, I would probably use weights rather than a locking mechanism.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Lesser View Post
    The water in our cruising grounds is too cold for swimming, so we use it primarily as a boarding ladder in the folded position. If floating were a problem, I would probably use weights rather than a locking mechanism.
    I keep mine folded for dinghy use & if swimming, it will float, but can be pushed back down very easily.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Sweet,
    Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.
    TOM ROBBINS, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues



  31. #31
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    The new ladder was installed this morning in a mostly straightforward operation. I will need to replace the bolts as they were a little short to get backing pads on: that was the only blip in the process. The deck pads do double duty with the eyes for the new ladder and the holes for the everyday, lightweight ladder. The new ladder weighed in at 6.5kg (14lb) which was OK as the timber was 22mm (7/8 inch) and the hardware is a bit solid. The blocks where the ladder rests against the hull still need to be trimmed and gived a padded face.
    The 2nd from bottom step is at the waterline when deployed. This could have been a little lower but it would have necessitated a large gap between each step: the eternal compromise/trade-off.
    Thanks for the design advice and words of support through the project
    .
    PeterW

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    That's really nice!

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Nice job, Peter. Looks great.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Nice work Peter.
    The wedged through tenons are a nice touch and a formidable connection.
    Having used this method a number of times on furniture, the strength of a tapered mortise combined with wedged through tenons often does not require glue... they were however not in a marine environment.
    I have also made brass wedges to contrast with the wood when finished.
    You have made a fine piece there. Well done.
    Cheers,
    Mike.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Boarding Ladder

    Thanks to all for the kind words on the ladder project.

    Dave - the ladder pic (and follow-ups) really helped with the design process.

    Mike 1902 - appreciate the support and infomation re your use of wedged tenons in furniture. I think I will be using the technique again when appropriate.

    The ladder received its first test last week when I did a prop scrape. Passed with flying colours. The lanyard that does 4 jobs ('belt and braces' toattach ladder to boat; secure ladder in stowed position; secures ladder in deployed position and raises lower part of the ladder from the deployed position) needs a little tweaking when holding the lower steps down.

    The sail on the day I did the prop scrape was reward for the dip: a really nice building nor-easter on Sydney Harbour and 2 pods of dolphins to boot.
    PeterW

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