Simple, inexpensive ladder for treehouse

First, I'm so pleased to see that this group is still active :-)
Some years ago, I built a small tree house in the woods between 3 trees gro wing close together. Well, it's more of a platform really (or flet as it wa s called in those parts, for you real nerds). It is about 6' off the groun d and reached via a rope ladder with 2x2" wooden rungs. The ladder is ancho red at the ground but is still a little wobbly.
A few years after that, but still several years ago, I had some spare treat ed lumber and I added the joists for a second level about 8 above the firs t level. Just recently, after having some deck repair done, I happened to have enough extra deck boards to complete that second level floor.
For now, I have my 6' step ladder out there for access, but I want to build a smaller ladder out of wood to reach the second level. At this height ab ove the ground, I don't want anything wobbly, but I still want it to be fun for the kids (who are much older now) and me (even though I'm older too).
I am envisioning using a couple of 2x4s at a slight angle as the side-rails of the ladder, spaced pretty close together (about 9" between the boards), and then using <something> for the rungs. That's where I want to solicit your advice. :-)
I don't want to spend a lot of money, I want it to be as easy to make as po ssible, and I want it to be able to support a full grown man (who may grow some more sideways). Let's say 225 lbs. - that gives me some growing room ;-) The cheapest, would be to just use 2x2s for the rungs, but I feel if I just screwed them in, they would soon fail from my weight. Ideally, I wou ld cut notches for each 2x2, but I don't relish cutting all those notches s ince the only tool I have to do that right now is a jig saw, and the cuts p robably wouldn't be very well done. Then I thought about using some kind o f round (like a 1.5" or 1.25" dowel or rail). I could easily cut the right sized hole in the side rails, slide in the round, and use a couple of scre ws to prevent the round rungs from swiveling. Unfortunately, I can't find such a thing that is pressure treated at the local stores, and I worry tha t what they have would soon rot and decay outside (though they do have oak at a higher price point, which might last a little longer). They I thought maybe I could use 1" pvc pipe (OD about 1.25") instead of a wooden dowel - it wouldn't rot, but I'm afraid that it would not be strong enough. Final ly, maybe just using pressure treated 1x4 (or event some small leftover dec king boards that I still have), attached directly with 2 or 3 screws on eac h end (no notches) would be strong enough - though I'm not sure about the sheer strength of deck screws or if having more of them effectively improve s sheer strength of the assembly (are nails better?). Any advice or other i deas appreciated.
Thanks :-)
-J
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On 10/21/2019 7:23 PM, J wrote: > First, I'm so pleas ed to see that this group is still active :-) > > S ome years ago, I built a small tree house in the woods between 3 trees growing close together. Well, it's mo re of a platform really (or flet as it was called in t hose parts, for you real nerds). It is about 6' off t he ground and reached via a rope ladder with 2x2" wood en rungs. The ladder is anchored at the ground but is still a little wobbly. > > A few years after that, but still several years ago, I had some spare treated lumber and I added the joists for a second level about 8 above the first level. Just recently, after havin g some deck repair done, I happened to have enough ext ra deck boards to complete that second level floor. > > For now, I have my 6' step ladder out there for a ccess, but I want to build a smaller ladder out of woo d to reach the second level. At this height above the ground, I don't want anything wobbly, but I still wan t it to be fun for the kids (who are much older now) a nd me (even though I'm older too). > > I am envisio ning using a couple of 2x4s at a slight angle as the s ide-rails of the ladder, spaced pretty close together (about 9" between the boards), and then using <somethi ng> for the rungs. That's where I want to solicit you r advice. :-) > > I don't want to spend a lot of mo ney, I want it to be as easy to make as possible, and I want it to be able to support a full grown man (who may grow some more sideways). Let's say 225 lbs. - th at gives me some growing room ;-) The cheapest, would be to just use 2x2s for the rungs, but I feel if I ju st screwed them in, they would soon fail from my weigh t. Ideally, I would cut notches for each 2x2, but I d on't relish cutting all those notches since the only t ool I have to do that right now is a jig saw, and the cuts probably wouldn't be very well done. Then I thou ght about using some kind of round (like a 1.5" or 1.2 5" dowel or rail). I could easily cut the right sized hole in the side rails, slide in the round, and use a couple of screws to prevent the round rungs from swi veling. Unfortunately, I can't find such a thing that is pressure treated at the local stores, and I worry that what they have would soon rot and decay outside ( though they do have oak at a higher price point, which might last a little longer). They I thought maybe I could use 1" pvc pipe (OD about 1.25") instead of a wo oden dowel - it wouldn't rot, but I'm afraid that it w ould not be strong enough. Finally, maybe just using pressure treated 1x4 (or event some small leftover dec king boards that I still have), attached directly with 2 or 3 screws on each end (no notches) would be stron g enough - though I'm not sure about the sheer streng th of deck screws or if having more of them effectivel y improves sheer strength of the assembly (are nails b etter?). Any advice or other ideas appreciated. > > Thanks :-) > > -J > I would consider 2X4 rungs just nailed to 2X4's outerside. I've used similar f or deer hunting tree stands.
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Why not just buy an old aluminum ladder on Craigslist or some other second hand source? It is a lot safer than anything you can build. I found a 16' extension ladder (really 2 9' ladders). It was there because one section was bent. I just took the other, good one and left the bent one for a scrapper.
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On 10/21/2019 7:23 PM, J wrote:

growing close together. Well, it's more of a platform really (or flet as it was called in those parts, for you real nerds). It is about 6' off t he ground and reached via a rope ladder with 2x2" wooden rungs. The ladde r is anchored at the ground but is still a little wobbly.

reated lumber and I added the joists for a second level about 8 above th e first level. Just recently, after having some deck repair done, I happ ened to have enough extra deck boards to complete that second level floor .

uild a smaller ladder out of wood to reach the second level. At this hei ght above the ground, I don't want anything wobbly, but I still want it t o be fun for the kids (who are much older now) and me (even though I'm ol der too).

ails of the ladder, spaced pretty close together (about 9" between the bo ards), and then using <something> for the rungs. That's where I want to solicit your advice. :-)

s possible, and I want it to be able to support a full grown man (who may grow some more sideways). Let's say 225 lbs. - that gives me some growi ng room ;-) The cheapest, would be to just use 2x2s for the rungs, but I feel if I just screwed them in, they would soon fail from my weight. Id eally, I would cut notches for each 2x2, but I don't relish cutting all t hose notches since the only tool I have to do that right now is a jig saw , and the cuts probably wouldn't be very well done. Then I thought about using some kind of round (like a 1.5" or 1.25" dowel or rail). I could easily cut the right sized hole in the side rails, slide in the round, an d use a couple of screws to prevent the round rungs from swiveling. Unf ortunately, I can't find such a thing that is pressure treated at the loc al stores, and I worry that what they have would soon rot and decay outsi de (though they do have oak at a higher price point, which might last a l ittle longer). They I thought maybe I could use 1" pvc pipe (OD about 1. 25") instead of a wooden dowel - it wouldn't rot, but I'm afraid that it would not be strong enough. Finally, maybe just using pressure treated 1 x4 (or event some small leftover decking boards that I still have), attac hed directly with 2 or 3 screws on each end (no notches) would be strong enough - though I'm not sure about the sheer strength of deck screws or if having more of them effectively improves sheer strength of the assembl y (are nails better?). Any advice or other ideas appreciated.

Neighbor built a tree house and the neighborhood kids played on it for 6 months or so...until the insurance underwriter passed through the neighbo rhood.
The neighbor was given 30 days to dismantle the attractive nuisance or fi nd another insurance company.
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On 10/21/2019 6:23 PM, J wrote:

...

...

...
The barn hayloft ladder is 1x4 nailed to the joists...it's been there for over 100 years and hasn't failed yet. It's not outside, but the fastening mechanism is pretty well tested. :)
I'd use 1x4 instead of 2x4 for the rungs as it's not as bulky to grab for kids (and my hands aren't that big, either). These weren't but have been worn round by the use over the years, but I'd round over the edges if were me. And, today, I'd use a deck screw as opposed to nailing.
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Use construction screws - NOT deck screws. Deck screws are brittle in shear
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If you are using 2X4 you want REAL GOOD ones - and I would strap the back side with metal or at least a good heavy wire - like old fir ladders were built. I'd be more likely to look for a damaged extention ladder and take a section of it - either fiberglass or aluminum. If you are building a wooden ladder use iron pipe for the rungs - galvanized will last almost forever. Weight is not an issue for a stationary ladder.
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Thanks for the suggestions. Galvanized iron pipe sounds good, but I wouldn' t have a good way to cut it to length. I think I'll go with 1x4s, attache d with galvanized nails. Seems easier to grab onto when climbing than 2x4s . If I'm feeling it, I will cut slots in the rails so 1x4s are flush. The re will be a battle in my head between my desire to do this quick and easy and my inherent anal-retentive nature ;-)
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On 10/22/19 10:24 AM, J wrote:

I don't see how you can build/assemble/paint a reasonably safe ladder cheaper than buying an aluminum one...especially when you factor in a trip to the emergency room.
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On 10/22/2019 7:57 AM, Jack wrote:

Is your real name Jack Meoff?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

between my desire to do this quick and easy and my inherent anal-retentive nature ;-)

By the time you do all of that, it may cost less to buy an aluminum ladder at one of the big box stores. They are often on sale for about $ 35 to $ 45.
Sometimes you can find them used on craigslist.
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There's nothing simpler than a wood ladder for a tree house. No need to make the rungs flush - you can cleat them with any scrap wood. You have to cleat that unsightly aluminum ladder anyway, or tie it up.
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On Monday, October 21, 2019 at 6:23:07 PM UTC-5, J wrote:

An old six foot aluminum ladder is pretty cheap on Craigslist.
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On 10/21/19 7:23 PM, J wrote: > First, I'm so pleased to see that this group is still active :-) > > Som e years ago, I built a small tree house in the woods b etween 3 trees growing close together. Well, it's more of a platform really (or flet as it was called in tho se parts, for you real nerds). It is about 6' off the ground and reached via a rope ladder with 2x2" wooden rungs. The ladder is anchored at the ground but is st ill a little wobbly. > > A few years after that, bu t still several years ago, I had some spare treated lu mber and I added the joists for a second level about 8 above the first level. Just recently, after having some deck repair done, I happened to have enough extra deck boards to complete that second level floor. > > For now, I have my 6' step ladder out there for acc ess, but I want to build a smaller ladder out of wood to reach the second level. At this height above the g round, I don't want anything wobbly, but I still want it to be fun for the kids (who are much older now) and me (even though I'm older too). > > I am envisioni ng using a couple of 2x4s at a slight angle as the sid e-rails of the ladder, spaced pretty close together (a bout 9" between the boards), and then using <something

advice. :-) > > I don't want to spend a lot of mone y, I want it to be as easy to make as possible, and I want it to be able to support a full grown man (who ma y grow some more sideways). Let's say 225 lbs. - that gives me some growing room ;-) The cheapest, would b e to just use 2x2s for the rungs, but I feel if I just screwed them in, they would soon fail from my weight. Ideally, I would cut notches for each 2x2, but I don 't relish cutting all those notches since the only too l I have to do that right now is a jig saw, and the cu ts probably wouldn't be very well done. Then I though t about using some kind of round (like a 1.5" or 1.25" dowel or rail). I could easily cut the right sized h ole in the side rails, slide in the round, and use a c ouple of screws to prevent the round rungs from swive ling. Unfortunately, I can't find such a thing that i s pressure treated at the local stores, and I worry th at what they have would soon rot and decay outside (th ough they do have oak at a higher price point, which m ight last a little longer). They I thought maybe I co uld use 1" pvc pipe (OD about 1.25") instead of a wood en dowel - it wouldn't rot, but I'm afraid that it wou ld not be strong enough. Finally, maybe just using pr essure treated 1x4 (or event some small leftover decki ng boards that I still have), attached directly with 2 or 3 screws on each end (no notches) would be strong enough - though I'm not sure about the sheer strength of deck screws or if having more of them effectively improves sheer strength of the assembly (are nails bet ter?). Any advice or other ideas appreciated. > > T hanks :-) > > -J >
Building Code requires ha ndrails on all treehouse ladders 30" above ground leve l.
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Dang it ! ... now I have to design and install handrails for my rope ladder ! :-) John T.
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On Tue, 22 Oct 2019 13:11:46 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.ca wrote:

.... and you tree house. Also everyone in it needs to wear fall protection harnesses. Ain't the government great ;)
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On 10/22/19 2:22 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Sprinkler system for possible fire?
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On 10/22/19 5:01 PM, Dean Hoffman wrote:
[snip]

If you keep a horse up there, you must have 2 exits and a sprinkler.
--
63 days until the winter celebration (Wed, Dec 25, 2019 12:00:00 AM for
1 day).
  Click to see the full signature.
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Did I say "treehouse"? I must have mistyped. It's a hunting stand (and mu ch safer than most others I've seen). Two treated 2x4s and one 1x4 will ru n me about $10-$12 new at home depot (the nails I have). and be less obtrus ive and ugly than an 18" wide aluminum ladder (even if I could get one chea p on CL - which might be easier for those of you living in larger markets, but not around here). The 6' step ladder I'm currently using is a) not real ly tall enough, and b) takes up too much space on the first level of the hu nting stand. The wood ladder won't get painted (or get very much sun wher e it is). If in 20 years it looks troubling (and I haven't dismantled it a lready) I'll deal with it then.
Also, how is it that there is a comment on this thread that purports to be from "me (J)", that I didn't write (asking if someone else's real name is J ack Meoff)?
Thanks for all of your input :-)
-J
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On 10/23/2019 12:59 PM, J wrote:

I would like to see a picture of your stand. I've built several of them but never 2 story.
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