3 Step Librarian's Ladder

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Project by Charles Maxwell posted 2415 days ago 3525 views 13 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I built this ladder for my wife as a gift to recognize her successful completion of a Master of Library Science degree (MLS). It’s solid walnut with holly pegs. Joinery at the turned pole is mortise and tenon. The bowed horizontal supports are steam bent. As you might guess, bending wood was the challenge here. I learned that you should steam the wood about 1 hour per inch of thickness and you have about 5 seconds to get the wood out of the steam box and bent around the shaping jigs! Finish is 6 well thinned coats of polyurethane.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

25 comments so far

View gizmodyne's profile


1763 posts in 2715 days

#1 posted 2415 days ago

This is beautiful. I am sure she will love it. Congrats to both of you.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 2613 days

#2 posted 2415 days ago

Very nice! You got it about right about the steaming. Patience and speed is everything.

I love the holly pegs.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Karson's profile


34869 posts in 3025 days

#3 posted 2415 days ago

Great design. it would also make a great plant stand for the gardeners around.

Are the curved pieces cut as tenons on the end and go into the legs or do then continue all of the way through.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 2479 days

#4 posted 2415 days ago

Thats gorgeous!

-- Still learning everything

View Marge's profile


145 posts in 2578 days

#5 posted 2415 days ago

That is wonderful – too nice to step on.

-- Marge, Colorado

View schwingding's profile


122 posts in 2450 days

#6 posted 2415 days ago

Wow, that is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL piece of work.

You should look into compwood. You can get walnut from them that will bend cold and will stay bendable as long as it stays wet (and cold). I have oak planks from them that you can cold bend into pretzels.

“Now ya tell me”, he says…

-- Just another woodworker

View TreeBones's profile


1823 posts in 2648 days

#7 posted 2415 days ago

Very nice, perfect for the occasion.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View Dadoo's profile


1763 posts in 2615 days

#8 posted 2414 days ago

Real nice! I see that a lot of thought and care went into the creation of this. Bet she loves it.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2785 days

#9 posted 2414 days ago

I saw one of these in a store recently… I would have been afraid to lean on it, it looked so wobbly. This .. now this is a ladder!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 2564 days

#10 posted 2414 days ago

That’s quite attractive. I haven’t seen one of those for quite a few years. It’s way too pretty to really step on, don’t ya think?

-- Working at Woodworking

View schroeder's profile


667 posts in 2750 days

#11 posted 2414 days ago

Absolutely stunning! – she should be pleased and you should be proud!

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 2499 days

#12 posted 2414 days ago

Boy, you pulled this one off. It is gorgeous!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2587 days

#13 posted 2414 days ago

Excellent work, Max. Neat, clean and very well done.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Popintraining's profile


110 posts in 2463 days

#14 posted 2414 days ago

Very Elegant

-- Illegitimis nil carborundum - Don't let the bastards grind you down

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6646 posts in 2604 days

#15 posted 2414 days ago


The design and workmanship is staggering!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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