3 Step Librarian's Ladder

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Project by Charles Maxwell posted 01-10-2008 05:03 AM 4930 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


1779 posts in 4090 days

#1 posted 01-10-2008 05:07 AM

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 3989 days

#2 posted 01-10-2008 05:07 AM

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


35121 posts in 4401 days

#3 posted 01-10-2008 05:09 AM

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 soon moving to Virginia †

View rpmurphy509's profile


288 posts in 3855 days

#4 posted 01-10-2008 05:19 AM

Thats gorgeous!

-- Still learning everything

View Marge's profile


145 posts in 3954 days

#5 posted 01-10-2008 05:31 AM

That is wonderful – too nice to step on.

-- Marge, Colorado

View schwingding's profile


133 posts in 3826 days

#6 posted 01-10-2008 05:37 AM

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


1827 posts in 4024 days

#7 posted 01-10-2008 06:17 AM

Very nice, perfect for the occasion.

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

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3991 days

#8 posted 01-10-2008 11:20 AM

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 4161 days

#9 posted 01-10-2008 11:56 AM

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 3940 days

#10 posted 01-10-2008 12:45 PM

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


702 posts in 4126 days

#11 posted 01-10-2008 12:49 PM

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

-- The Gnarly Wood Shoppe

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3875 days

#12 posted 01-10-2008 01:54 PM

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

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3963 days

#13 posted 01-10-2008 02:48 PM

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

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Popintraining's profile


110 posts in 3838 days

#14 posted 01-10-2008 03:19 PM

Very Elegant

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

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6856 posts in 3980 days

#15 posted 01-10-2008 10:07 PM


The design and workmanship is staggering!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

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