Project Overview

This stylish wooden towel ladder will add a touch of class to your home. It’s easy to make and is the perfect way to display rugs, scarves, throws or hang towels to dry. It’s ideal to move from room to room, wherever you need hanging space.

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predetermined drill depth
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How to drill to a certain depth

If you want to match the length of a fixing or avoid drilling through to the other side, here’s an easy way to get the hole depth right every time. Take your fixing and line it up with your drill bit. Wrap masking tape around the bit to mark the length of the fixing. Then drill until your masking tape marker is flush with the surface.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut the dowel to size
2 Set the depth for the drill press
3 Mark the centre of the dowel
4 Measure and mark for the holes
5 Drill the holes
6 Make the second vertical
7 Sand the dowel
8
9 Insert the rungs
10 Clamp the ladder
11 Sand the ladder
12 Stain the ladder
13 Decorate your ladder
  • Step 1. Cut the dowel to size

    Before you start this project, you can have your dowel cut to size at your local Bunnings. We had our 40mm hardwood dowel cut to 2 x 1800mm lengths for the legs and 4 x 500mm lengths for the rungs.

  • Step 2. Set the depth for the drill press

    To avoid drilling through the 40mm dowel, set the cutting depth for the drill press to 20mm.

  • Step 3. Mark the centre of the dowel

    Clamp an 1800mm dowel length into the drill press’s vice. Then use a chalk line to mark the middle along the dowel.

  • Step 4. Measure and mark for the holes

    Next you need to mark where the rungs will go on your ladder. For our ladder we marked in 400mm increments. 

  • Step 5. Drill the holes

    Line up the 35mm boring bit with the marks on the dowel, then drill 20mm deep holes for your four rungs.

  • Step 6. Make the second vertical

    Repeat the steps to mark, measure and drill the holes in the other 1800mm length of dowel for the ladder.

  • Step 7. Sand the dowel

    Once you’ve drilled your holes, use 180 grit sandpaper to clean up around the holes to remove any rough edges. Also sand the ends of the rungs to clean off any rough bits.

  • Step 9. Insert the rungs

    A good tip is to insert all of the rungs into one of the verticals first and then the other. You might need to use a mallet to gently tap the rungs into the dowel so they fit snugly. Wipe away any excess glue with a rag.

  • Step 10. Clamp the ladder

    Use some clamps to secure the ladder together so that it stays square while the glue dries.

  • Step 11. Sand the ladder

    Use the sandpaper to lightly sand the ladder around where you’ve glued.

  • Step 12. Stain the ladder

    You can paint or stain the ladder to highlight the natural look of the wood. We used a good quality brush to apply three coats of varnish, lightly sanding in between each coat after the varnish had dried.
  • Step 13. Decorate your ladder

    Now your stylish wooden ladder is ready to place in your bedroom or bathroom to hang whatever you like out of the way.

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