Author Topic: Domino Ladder  (Read 18034 times)

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Offline maxpower10

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Domino Ladder
« on: May 02, 2011, 10:25 PM »
I need to make a ladder for my kids new bunk beds.  I want to the ladder using my Domino.  Strength wise what would be a good method of making this ladder?  What size Domino, how many per side per rung?  Any thoughts anyone?  Thanks!

Scott
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Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 10:40 PM »
I need to make a ladder for my kids new bunk beds.  I want to the ladder using my Domino.  Strength wise what would be a good method of making this ladder?  What size Domino, how many per side per rung?  Any thoughts anyone?  Thanks!

Scott

Yeah! Don't! Unless you don't like your kids.

Offline William Herrold

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2011, 01:56 AM »
10x50's vertically on a minimum of 25mm centers, and a good insurance policy... Personally I'd go with a tenon instead.
"I don't believe anything, but I have a lot of suspicions"
 R.A.W.

Offline Sparktrician

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 08:12 AM »
I think that I'd also go for a full tenon or a tight cross-lap joint for strength, and possibly use contrasting sipo dominoes to through pin the joint (purely for decorative effect). 

 [smile]
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Offline RDMuller

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 10:02 AM »
I too would shy away from using dominos for this application.  If the finished project is subject to racking without adequate bracing such as a back in a cabinet, the joints can very easily be broken. This can also happen with dados and mortise and tenons if the fit is a little loose.  Kids playing with the ladder could take it down and rack it diagonally, making the joint weak.

Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2011, 10:40 AM »
10x50's vertically on a minimum of 25mm centers, and a good insurance policy... Personally I'd go with a tenon instead.


I think this is plenty strong enough for kids but to be certain just add a couple of steel tie rods like they do on step ladders to eliminate the (extremely remote) possibility of racking allowing the Dominos to pull out.

Offline maxpower10

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2011, 10:44 AM »
I was thinking 6/4 steps with 3 10x50's in each side of each step.  The metal rod is a great idea as well.  After hearing the other comments maybe I shouldn't do it at all?
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Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2011, 11:20 AM »
Dominos are a good joinery method but are not structural.  I would very much advise against using them to construct a ladder, even if it is a small one for children's use.  Look at how ladders are constructed.  There's a good reason for how they're built.  It's not just for fear of lawsuits.  Putting faith in glue and dominos for that application is foolish in my opinion.

Offline Taos

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2011, 11:36 AM »
Remember more tenons doesn't necessarily mean a stronger joint. Remember the 1/3 rule when laying out tenons. Personally I would do a notched rung ladder.

Offline Julian Tracy

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2011, 11:41 AM »
Come on guys - how many bunkbed ladders have been built and used for years and years with only 2x4's + 10D nails or 3" drywall screws?

Surely the shear strength of (3) 10mm Dominos would exceed those methods and be plenty strong for 30-100lb children to use?

More Dominos may not make for a stronger joint, but they'll surely increase the shear load for each ladder rung.

I've climbed up lesser structures, and I'm close to 200lbs.

JT

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2011, 12:01 PM »
Drywall screws are for drywall, not ladders, not framing, not holding up cabinetry.  If you need the visual, put one in a vise, take plier and bend it.  Do the same with a framing nail, deck screw, wood screw, pocket hole screw, etc.  Know the products you're working with and their limitations.  The drywall screw is not as multi-purpose as many people make it out to be, just because it's an inexpensive, readily available fastener.

Julian, I don't know the shear strength or pull-out resistance or torsional resistance of the dominos, but I'm not willing to take that risk if I were doing or advising on using it for ladder construction.  In combination with something else like threaded rod or appropriate screws seems like it would be just fine.

Offline Ken Nagrod

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2011, 12:17 PM »
Come on guys - how many bunkbed ladders have been built and used for years and years with only 2x4's + 10D nails or 3" drywall screws?

Surely the shear strength of (3) 10mm Dominos would exceed those methods and be plenty strong for 30-100lb children to use?

More Dominos may not make for a stronger joint, but they'll surely increase the shear load for each ladder rung.

I've climbed up lesser structures, and I'm close to 200lbs.

JT

This reminds me of when I went for my OSHA 30 cert. and they show you the "scare" and stupidity videos and slides.  Yes, plenty of guys stand on stacked up drywall compound buckets, tie regular rope to their body when on a roof, shove a brick under the leg of a ladder and the best one I saw was a guy standing on the end of a 2x6 or 2x8 out a 2nd story window, doing work on the outside while his "supporting" buddy sat on the end of the board on the inside.  People get away with stuff.  That shouldn't imply it's safe or the right thing to do.

Offline Julian Tracy

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2011, 12:25 PM »
Ok, let me clarify, I'm not one of those low-rents that uses (2) 5gal buckets for a scaffold or uses broken ladders in the daily course of work... I buy only type 1 ladders, not typeII or type III.  And I'm quite familiar with what drywall screws are and what they're for, thanks.

But we're talking about a bunkbed ladder, not a header beam.

Sure, some mechanical interlock would add a racking or pullout preventive, but surely everyone here would agree that 3 10mm dominos per rung end would be sufficiently strong for the intended purpose?

He's not looking to build a 10' extension ladder.

JT

Offline Guy Ashley

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2011, 12:30 PM »
Ok, let me clarify, I'm not one of those low-rents that uses (2) 5gal buckets for a scaffold or uses broken ladders in the daily course of work... I buy only type 1 ladders, not typeII or type III.  And I'm quite familiar with what drywall screws are and what they're for, thanks.

But we're talking about a bunkbed ladder, not a header beam.

Sure, some mechanical interlock would add a racking or pullout preventive, but surely everyone here would agree that 3 10mm dominos per rung end would be sufficiently strong for the intended purpose?

He's not looking to build a 10' extension ladder.

JT

No, but he is talking about his kids bouncing up and down them, or someone else's children on a sleepover!
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Offline bobbobbob

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2011, 12:34 PM »
I guess it all comes down to how safe do you want your children (or others) to be...    [thumbs up]

Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2011, 12:56 PM »
Here's my two cents worth.   Use the dominoes.  Use a couple of pieces of metal rod as a backup.  Keep an eye on it and if you see any slack, fix it.

BTW, the dominoes will be much stronger if you have the grain in the steps running vertically (as well as the wide part of the domino and the legs).   Gluing a domino (or anything else) into end grain is a very weak joint.

Offline Oldwood

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2011, 12:58 PM »
I would say 2 - 10 x 50 dominos & if you are a belt & suspenders kind of guy a screw in the middle between the 2 of them with a plug to cover it. I would run the dominos clear through the sides if they are under an inch. If they are also 6/4 1" is fine. I would trust this method if properly glued with a good adhesive more than any doweled together ladder from most of the stores of which 1000s are sold every day.

FWIW
Gerry
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Offline Wonderwino

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2011, 01:16 PM »
Welded steel box tubing would beat the Domino method, but then what if the ladder fell over? 

Many older wooden ladders used round dowels with steel tie bolts and angle braces at the bottom.  I think if you run threaded rod through every other rung and put some angle braces below the bottom rung, you should be fine with the Dominos, if used as suggested above. 
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Offline mastercabman

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2011, 04:26 PM »
I don't think you are going to get much help.I don't beleive that anyone has build a ladder with domino and can say that it is ok to do.
What i would suggest,is to do a sample.Make a ladder with a couple steps and try it.Put it to the test and see what gives,.....or not!
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2011, 04:58 PM »
OK, I'll ask a stupid question?  How old are your kids?  How much do they weigh?  How long do you think that they will be using the top bunk?  Is your ladder going to be totally vertical or at a slight incline?  All these types of issues come into play.

Not trying to be sarcastic - I really want to know.

Peter
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 05:11 PM by Peter Halle »
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Offline maxpower10

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2011, 05:11 PM »
OK, I'll ask a stupid question?  How old are your kids?  How much do they weigh?  How long do you think that they will be using the top bunk?  Is your ladder going to be totally vertical or at a slight incline?  All these types of issues come into play.

Not be sarcastic - really want to know.

Peter

Kids are 5, 2, and one due tomorrow.  45 pounds on the top end.  Just needs to last until I build a bigger home.  Definitely would be at a slight angle.  I would expect it to carry all of 200 pounds up the ladder to feel safe to have my kids and others climbing on it.  Building a test one and doing to destructive testing would be a great and fun idea.  I may just do that and see what it takes to make it fail.
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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2011, 05:15 PM »
I'll have special thoughts for you and yours over the next few days!  Good Luck!  You seem to be doing what I I was going to offer to do once I got more details.  I can't wait to hear the results on both sides.

Peter
Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.

Offline RL

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #22 on: May 03, 2011, 05:17 PM »
I would build it like this. My kids (2 and 4) are always climbing up this bookshelf and it is plenty strong enough. It's also really easy to put together.


Offline woodguy7

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #23 on: May 03, 2011, 05:22 PM »
OK, my turn.

I would not take the chance if it is for my kids or anyones kids.  Its ok to say if they come slack then do something about it but i think if it fails it will fail suddenly & quickly i,e - they will just snap.  I think enough people on this thread think it would be a bad idea but if you want to take that chance then its up to you.  I have made a small ladder for a library & i housed each step in on sliding dovetails.  Really not difficult to do & very secure.

If you decide to try it then i wish you all the best.

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Offline jmbfestool

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #24 on: May 03, 2011, 05:44 PM »
How wide would you be making the ladders that makes a difference I think having them wider apart creates more of a bending force if they was just to use one leg in the centre  a narrow set will give a more direct downwards force on the dominos.   NO?  Im just making up stuff lol!

Them oak stairs I fitted not long ago which I posted on here! Well the client had some crappy made up softwood stairs a builder made temp they had them stairs for 10 years!  10 years!  [eek] [scared] [scared]   Well the builder just butted up the treads of 6x2 to the 8x2 strings  he just nailed 2 nails on each side!  Well they held lol I know I would not of risked it.   Any way for a bunk bead I think Dominos should be fine seen as two nails with proper adult weight held!  

I properly wouldn't do it my self! umm.... I properly make one and test it dry with no glue if it held me with me bouncing on it with no glue it will  definitely hold with glue

When I was a kid  (I still am! So I know!) I often only used the second tread only on my bunk bed! I would kinda jump up to the second tread with my right leg only and with some force kinda throw my self up and over in one go and getting out of the bunk bed I would always just jump of never used the ladders!   So all you need to do is house the second tread and make sure you kids do the same lol!


JMB
« Last Edit: May 03, 2011, 06:40 PM by jmbfestool »
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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2011, 06:15 PM »
How wide would you be making the ladders that makes a difference I think having them wider apart creates more of a bending force if they was just to use one leg in the centre  a narrow set will give a more direct downwards force on the dominos.   NO?  Im just making up stuff lol!

Them oak stairs I fitted not long ago which I posted on here! Well the client had some crappy made up softwood stairs a builder made temp they had them stairs for 10 years!  10 years!  [eek] [scared] [scared]   Well the builder just butted up the treads of 6x2 to the 8x2 strings  he just nails 2 nails on each side!  Well they held lol I know I would not of risked it.   Any way for a bunk bead I think Dominos should be fine!   

I properly wouldn't do it my self! umm.... I properly make one and test it dry with no glue if it held me with me bouncing on it with no glue it will  definitely hold with glue

When I was a kid  (I still am! So I know!) I often only used the second tread only on my bunk bed! I would kinda jump up to the second tread with my right leg only and with some force kinda throw my self up and over in one go and getting out of the bunk bed I would always just jump of never used the ladders!   So all you need to do is house the second tread and make sure you kids do the same lol!


JMB

This explains so much!   [poke]

Peter
Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.

Offline woodguy7

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2011, 06:31 PM »
LOL
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Offline jmbfestool

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2011, 06:41 PM »
 [embarassed]

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Offline Peter Halle

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2011, 06:45 PM »
Disclaimer:  I have been involved with the development of some TSO Products.  I have offered thoughts and ideas freely.  I am not paid but I may receive products during the development process or afterwards.

Offline Kevin Stricker

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2011, 01:39 AM »
There is no way that a 10mm domino is going to shear under any reasonable load, but the wood could split around it.  If you want to build a really strong ladder put a 3/8-1/2 dado at each step into the supports, then use the dominos and glue and clamp it together.  You can run the dominos through from the outside if you want a decorative effect or domino the supports then cut the dado after the fact.  You may have to cut down the dominos if you go that route, if you do then glue the dominos into the steps then cut to length with a miter saw.

Offline Timtool

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #30 on: May 04, 2011, 01:54 AM »
come on guys, we have all assembled laquered mdf ikea kid beds that hold together with less than 10 8mm dowels and screws.
so i would say it depends on the material you use, and the thickness.
i think two domino's per side would be verry hard (impossible?) to break for kids, it's the steps themselves that could fail faster, if you follow the 1/3 rule, then with a 10mm domino, you need a step of 30mm thick for maximum resistance. if the material is of same hardness as the beech domino's
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Offline Eli

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #31 on: May 04, 2011, 06:20 AM »
I have three kids. They have a bunk bed. My kids are your kid's ages, a bit older.
Their ladder is not as strong as what you are talking about building. The bunk ladder at our house shows little sign of wear after two years.
The boys take turns on who sleeps up top. Both climb it.
I think the allthread to hold it together is a great idea. I don't think it will break. I'm a rigger. I climb ladders for a living.
Of course no one here is accepting liability by advising him to build his own ladder, but seriously.
In general, things don't explosively fail even under my six year old, who is like a superball stuffed with dynamite.
I would say it might be a good idea to secure it to the bed by through bolting it. Use Nylock nuts and washers with your bolts.
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Offline chris mann

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #32 on: May 04, 2011, 09:45 AM »
I've built similar things, the domino is plenty strong.  Especially when you compare it to any bunk bed ladder you'd get from a store.
If you want some more assurance, domino everything together, making the domino depth 28mm instead of 25mm.  Dry assemble and mark the treads on the stringer and then trench the stringer 5mm.  If your stringer is less than 28mm, you could make your own dominos and then wedge them in place as well, but I don't think it's necessary.

Offline fdengel

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #33 on: May 04, 2011, 11:01 AM »
Bottom line, I don't think I'd trust a domino for this if it is on its own.  At minimum, use dominos plus something else as a backup -- pocket hole screws come to mind, or screws through the side into the rails...

Offline William Herrold

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #34 on: May 04, 2011, 11:35 AM »
I just Finished a set of chairs- 268 dominos and 64, 8x35x40mm actual tenons. Tell you what I'll do- I'll mock up 2 ladder rungs in tight-grained D.Fir, and glue in 3- 10x50 doms on each side of each rung with PVA glue, let it dry for one week, then load it with my porta-power. Said unit will produce a 22 metric ton load on a diameter of 55mm, I can measure the BAR- pressure on my meter, up to 160, that will enable me to give a close point of failure in kilograms. For the sake of accuracy, as no one with 2 legs climbs a ladder stepping in the middle of a rung, apply the load about 1 decimeter from the joint.
-I welcome anyone with pointers on how to make the experiment more viable to speak up, as I'm no engineer.
 
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Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2011, 11:59 AM »
I just Finished a set of chairs- 268 dominos and 64, 8x35x40mm actual tenons. Tell you what I'll do- I'll mock up 2 ladder rungs in tight-grained D.Fir, and glue in 3- 10x50 doms on each side of each rung with PVA glue, let it dry for one week, then load it with my porta-power. Said unit will produce a 22 metric ton load on a diameter of 55mm, I can measure the BAR- pressure on my meter, up to 160, that will enable me to give a close point of failure in kilograms. For the sake of accuracy, as no one with 2 legs climbs a ladder stepping in the middle of a rung, apply the load about 1 decimeter from the joint.
-I welcome anyone with pointers on how to make the experiment more viable to speak up, as I'm no engineer.
 

What a great idea!  Thanks for doing that.  If the Dominoes are glued to long grain in both the legs and the rungs, I predict the failure will be either the leg or rung breaking or the Dominoes pulling out of the legs or rungs.  I don't think the failure will be sudden.  Can you do a video?

Offline Tim Raleigh

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2011, 12:40 PM »
Kids are 5, 2, and one due tomorrow.  45 pounds on the top end. 

Remember that some overgrown children (adults) may want to use this as well.
Seriously if you or your wife (grandparents, babysitters) has to go up that ladder then you might also consider that in your calculations.
Tim

Offline maxpower10

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2011, 02:44 PM »
I just Finished a set of chairs- 268 dominos and 64, 8x35x40mm actual tenons. Tell you what I'll do- I'll mock up 2 ladder rungs in tight-grained D.Fir, and glue in 3- 10x50 doms on each side of each rung with PVA glue, let it dry for one week, then load it with my porta-power. Said unit will produce a 22 metric ton load on a diameter of 55mm, I can measure the BAR- pressure on my meter, up to 160, that will enable me to give a close point of failure in kilograms. For the sake of accuracy, as no one with 2 legs climbs a ladder stepping in the middle of a rung, apply the load about 1 decimeter from the joint.
-I welcome anyone with pointers on how to make the experiment more viable to speak up, as I'm no engineer.
 


Great idea!  I'd love to see that.  A video of it would be ideal! Thanks!
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Offline woodguy7

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2011, 05:28 PM »
Maxpower, is the one that was due here yet ?  [smile]
If its made of wood, i can make it smaller.
Shirt size medium
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Offline maxpower10

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2011, 05:41 PM »
Maxpower, is the one that was due here yet ?  [smile]

No, due today.  No action yet.  The doctor will induce a week from tomorrow if the stubborn little guy doesn't want to show up before that.  My wife says he's waiting for me to finish his crib.  Just waiting on hardware.
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Offline woodguy7

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #40 on: May 04, 2011, 05:44 PM »
Go get an Indian takeaway, it worked for us with our second boy  [thumbs up]

Only problem is she was sick in the hospital  [doh]  Not so keen on curries after that.

All the best anyway  [big grin]
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Offline Eli

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #41 on: May 05, 2011, 05:03 AM »
I want to see the load test. My money is on the rail failing in the middle, before dominos fail.
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Offline Wonderwino

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #42 on: May 05, 2011, 08:05 AM »
A totally non-Festool solution would be to emulate the ladders of the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest.  They simply lashed rungs to notched rails with rawhide, which tightened as it dried and shrank.  Some of the ladders still in use are hundreds of years old. 
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Offline Michael Kellough

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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2011, 09:32 AM »
A totally non-Festool solution would be to emulate the ladders of the Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest.  They simply lashed rungs to notched rails with rawhide, which tightened as it dried and shrank.  Some of the ladders still in use are hundreds of years old. 

Kids would dig that too!

Offline online421

  • Posts: 71
Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #44 on: July 24, 2017, 10:56 PM »
For the record if anyone is reading this, Australia and New Zealand has a bunk bed safety standard. In the standard there are various safety requirement, there is static load requirement and dynamic impact load requirement on the ladder, unfortunately you have to buy the standards to get a soft copy, it cost about $120 USD after tax.

Without going into too much detail,

For static load requirement you are to test the ladder by putting an object of 1500N at 100mm interval of the tread for 30 seconds at each interval

For dynamic load, your ladder should be subjected to an impact load of 15kg, located at 400m from the tread and impact the tread at 150mm distance for 10 impacts, the 15kg object is tied to a rod that is 1000mm from the centre of its pivot point. the tread is 1400mm from the pivot point.

If you require further info about relevant safety requirement in this safety standard, send me a PM.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 10:58 PM by online421 »
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Offline NL-mikkla

  • Posts: 216
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Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2017, 08:30 AM »
Come on guys - how many bunkbed ladders have been built and used for years and years with only 2x4's + 10D nails or 3" drywall screws?

Surely the shear strength of (3) 10mm Dominos would exceed those methods and be plenty strong for 30-100lb children to use?

More Dominos may not make for a stronger joint, but they'll surely increase the shear load for each ladder rung.

I've climbed up lesser structures, and I'm close to 200lbs.

JT

My thought exactly, I'd go for the domino way easily.

Offline Harry1561

  • Posts: 38
Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #46 on: July 25, 2017, 04:45 PM »
For the record if anyone is reading this, Australia and New Zealand has a bunk bed safety standard. In the standard there are various safety requirement, there is static load requirement and dynamic impact load requirement on the ladder, unfortunately you have to buy the standards to get a soft copy, it cost about $120 USD after tax.

Without going into too much detail,

For static load requirement you are to test the ladder by putting an object of 1500N at 100mm interval of the tread for 30 seconds at each interval

For dynamic load, your ladder should be subjected to an impact load of 15kg, located at 400m from the tread and impact the tread at 150mm distance for 10 impacts, the 15kg object is tied to a rod that is 1000mm from the centre of its pivot point. the tread is 1400mm from the pivot point.

If you require further info about relevant safety requirement in this safety standard, send me a PM.
As beautiful a it is to live in, Australia is so over regulated and full of red tape. The next generation won't know how to think for themselves. ..That's my rant for the day , now for some work  😊

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 552
Re: Domino Ladder
« Reply #47 on: July 25, 2017, 07:26 PM »
There is no way that a 10mm domino is going to shear under any reasonable load, but the wood could split around it.  If you want to build a really strong ladder put a 3/8-1/2 dado at each step into the supports, then use the dominos and glue and clamp it together.  You can run the dominos through from the outside if you want a decorative effect or domino the supports then cut the dado after the fact.  You may have to cut down the dominos if you go that route, if you do then glue the dominos into the steps then cut to length with a miter saw.

More or less what I did with the last bunk beds I made, but with sliding dovetails on the top and bottom steps.