Materials: Stolmen upright and clamps
Description: This ladder was custom-made for access from a 1st-floor balcony down to the garden outside. The top step of the ladder reaches out from under the balcony and the remainder are arranged in a zig-zag fashion.
With wider steps it would work just as well as an indoor climbing platform for the cats. While googling for the clamp sizes, I came across a couple of firms which do just that.
This version uses a single STOLMEN upright, treated balcony wood flooring for the steps and one STOLMEN shelf clamp per step.
Total cost: about $100.
55mm hole cutter
This is the only bit of specialist equipment needed and can be found in decent hardware stores and normally comes with about 6 cutters of varying diameters. The end which passes into the drill attachment should be hexagonal in cross-section. Due to the torque involved, a round cross-section will slip in the drill chuck.
However you choose to cut them, the holes in the steps need to be at least 50mm in diameter so that the thicker of the two sections of Stolmen pole can pass through.
Measuring the holes
I could have avoided drilling such large holes and just had the step fixed on one side of the pole, but this arrangement uses both sides of the clamp and is much more stable.
The centres of the three holes are 13mm, 55mm and 97mm from the end of the step. The 50mm M8 bolts are long enough to pass through the clamps and the 25mm-thick wood.
The wood has a corrugated surface for extra grip and has been heat-treated for use outdoors which hopefully means it will last a few years – maybe longer than the cat.
I used rounded nuts on the cat side of the pole. They also make it look neater.
A dry run indoors
The top two steps are about 60cm in length because the pole will be placed underneath a balcony and those steps need to extend out far enough so that the cat can step down onto them. The rest of the steps are 40cm in length.
The standard STOLMEN pole has been used upside down, with the thinner section at the bottom. This should reduce the amount of water getting inside and also means the adjustment nut is at the top where it is less likely to be tampered with. For additional safety, the top of the pole is secured to the balcony with a metal strap.
Cat ladder in place
The gap between the top of the clamps and the underneath of the step is filled neatly by three 2mm washers.
For additional safety, the top of the pole is secured to the balcony railing with a metal strap.
See more of the cat ladder.