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How to Make a Rope Ladder
Rope Ladders for Tree Houses
It is every kid's dream to have a tree house. So why not add an awesome accessory like a rope ladder that they will love. With a little willpower and some commonly used materials you will have a rope ladder in no time at all.
Rope Ladder Materials
What you'll need to make your rope ladder
The first step is to obtain the materials needed for the rope ladder. You will want to buy a high grade rope that is UV and abrasion resistant. This can be found online through a tree house supply company or at an arborist store. Don't forget to order extra rope to allow for knots at each step and extra feet for top and bottom connections. Next, select a material for the rungs of the ladder; the most common is a wooden dowel. The dowel is lightweight, and easier for hand holds but harder on foot holds. Knots used to secure the wooden dowels are more difficult because they need to secure the rungs when there is lateral pressure upon them. The best material for the rungs of the ladder is a block of wood like a 2x4 about 18" long. This size provides adequate strength and support for climbing the ladder. If you decide to use this sized block you will want to drill two holes at the ends to run the rope through.
Making the Rope Ladder
Knots and rungs for your rope ladder
The second step is where all the fun begins! We will now begin to construct the ladder. If you used the method above to find the length of rope you will now need to cut the rope in half so you have one piece of rope for each side. Next tie one end of each rope to something secure so you may pull on the ropes. This will simulate the end of the rope ladder at the ground. A good spacing for the rungs is about 10 inches, which allows children and adults to climb the ladder. When tying the knots to hold the rungs onto the rope, make sure to space the knots appropriately, and make sure you don't make the right side 1/4” off each time, or you'll be very crooked at the end! Also be sure to have the bottom of the knot on the space markings. Next you will do the same thing on the other rope. After that is complete, slide the rung down the rope and push it against the knots to secure it. Repeat the process until you have reached the desired length of the ladder. Every few rungs you will want to pull the ropes tight checking that the rungs are level with each other.
Securing the Rope Ladder
Attaching the ladder to your tree house
The last step is attaching the ladder to your tree house. The easiest way is to tie the tops of the latter around a secure framing member using a bowline. This is an extremely strong knot that is easy to tie and untie. Check regularly for signs of rope abrasion where it touches anything. For the bottom of the ladder tie another two bowlines and attach the ropes to the ground with two yard stakes to make it easier to climb. Or skip the stakes if you want to pull the rope ladder up after you. Have fun!