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Discussion Starter #1
This is an odd question, but it has to do with wood so this seems like the best place for it.

I have a home gym in my basement and I was given a very old wooden ladder that I plan on suspending form the ceiling to use as essentially monkey bars.

Originally, I was thinking i'd just buy hole'd angle iron from home depot and use some small leg screws and bolt it all together. I thought that would work fine. But then I saw the ladder in person and that wood, while it feels super strong and sturdy, is also super old and pretty small. it looks like 2" x 3"

So what is the best technique to not only avoid splitting during initial drilling, but also to avoid splitting/cracking down the road, as all of it's weight and my body weight will be suspended from the fasteners.

Note: Just in case it's not clear, my intention is to hang the ladders so they run horizontally, parallel to the ceiling, and fastened to the ceiling, hanging down maybe 6" or so. They will literally be indoor monkey bars

So I could simply pre-drill the holes and hope thats enough. I could pre-drill and try to install the fasteners low in the wood. I could drill clean holes, and use a regular nut and bolt instead of a threaded fastener. No splitting force, though those holes will still be supporting a lot of weight.

In an ideal world, some kind of L shaped hanger where the wood was actually resting on a flat piece of metal would be ideal. But I'm not sure anything quite like that exists? Any other ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
How many of those red side trackers do you have?
Not enough! I thought of that but they're too short, there are too few of them, and they're very thick, it would be difficult to drill through them.

So there are four of those guides total. My plan is to separate the ladder, and cut one in half, so I have 3 total sections, 2 short and one long. So I expect I'll need about 14 total support brackets.
 

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Wood splits when you don't drill a pilot hole. Your pilot hole should be the same size as the screw if it didn't have threads, or just a smidge smaller.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey Guys! I actually finally am getting around to this. I have the big ladder pressed up against the ceiling, with some 2x4 scraps as a spacer, on top of a sheet rock lift. So easy! So I'm going to cut up the angle steel into 11" sections, my plan is to have 6 brackets on the main ladder. So two at each end and two in the middle. Do you think that's enough?

I'm sure the brackets themselves would be sufficient but I'm more concerned with the bolts/screws. Each bracket will have two fasteners attaching it to the ceiling joist and one fastener connecting it to the ladder.

Other detailed questions, do you think I should go with lag screws that thread into the wood (both ceiling joist and ladder) or do you think I should get some machine threaded bolts and bolt right through? I'm leaning towards through-bolts.

And then the final question, what bolt thickness do you think would be sufficient? In the end, the whole weight of the ladder and anyone hanging from the ladder, is going to be resting on 6 bolts that connect the ladder to the brackets. It would be very unfortunate if some day, the bolts were to snap and send me rapidly down to the concrete floor below :D

One of the reasons I'm leaning towards through-bolts is the poor luck i've had with snapping lag screws while trying to bolt them into solid wood, even with pre-drilling. So I want a connection so solid, I never have to worry about it snapping, even if four people are all hanging from this thing, playing 'the floor is lava'
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Welp, I went with 3/8" through bolts, no lag screws. I ended up needing to borrow a friend's right angle drill and there were some other quirks because three of the supports on one of the ladders needed to be shimmed. But long story short, it all worked out in the end and these things are SUPER solid. Also fortunately, I was already borrowing that same friend's sheetrock lift, that I normally use for sheetrock but it worked very well holding these ladders in place. I just jammed a piece of 2x4 between the ladders and the joists to keep them nice and evenly spaced, and then cranked up the lift so the ladders were jammed up nice and tight. Worked well.

632086
 
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