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How to build a rolling ladder for a bookshelf

Updated February 21, 2017

If you have a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf at home and you want to make it easier for yourself to reach the top of the bookshelf, one option is to install a rolling ladder. This option works well if you have hardwood, tile, or linoleum flooring in the library. Building your own rolling ladder may sound like a difficult task, but it doesn't require a lot of woodworking skills, heavy equipment or a lot of money.

Install a ladder pole across the front of the bookshelf, about 6 inches from the shelves and 7 feet from the ground. Ladder poles come packaged with all of the necessary hardware to install; all you have to do is drill in the screws to hold it in place.

Place two 7-foot wooden planks about 2 feet apart. The boards should be approximately 3 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Use pine or whatever wood you prefer.

Attach a 2-foot 1-by-3 wooden plank to the two longer posts, perpendicular to the posts and 1 foot away from the edge of the post, to create the first step. Attach this piece by drilling one 1.5-inch screw from the outside of the post to the edge of the plank.

Attach all the other steps to the posts in a similar fashion as the first; the steps should be one foot apart for a total of five steps.

Sand down the entire ladder until the wood is smooth.

Apply wood finish or paint to the ladder to match your bookshelves.

Install a hook bracket to each post on one end of the ladder, about 3 inches from the edge. Hook brackets are sold with all of the necessary hardware for installation.

Install a wheel bracket using the included hardware to each post on the opposite end of the ladder so that the wheels stick out about 3 inches from the bottom.

Stand the ladder up and hook the hook the brackets onto the ladder pole.

Things You'll Need

  • Ladder pole
  • Drill
  • 2 wooden planks, 7-foot by 3-inch by 1-inch
  • 5 wooden planks, 2-foot by 3-inch by 1-inch
  • 10 screws, 1.5-inch
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Paint
  • 2 hook brackets
  • 2 wheel brackets
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