More Laddering

It turns out that when you plunk down the money for a 40-foot ladder, there are a lot of other folks in your neighborhood who need one. That’s typical for specialized equipment: people forgo using it because they don’t want to go to the trouble to obtain it, but … borrow it? Sure.

The fellow (Mark) who lives next to my studio/schoolhouse has a lot of experience roofing and is not as afraid of heights as I am. Coincidentally, he is re-siding his house, which makes a 40-foot ladder Just The Thing. So we agreed to a bit of work-trade. Which resulted in:

The flag-pole is pipe-in-pipe welded schedule 40 steel. Before Mark climbed up, we did a lot of inspecting and thumping on the pole. It did flex slightly but a person on a ladder doesn’t put that much lateral force on what it’s propped against.

When I bought the building, the flagpole was inoperative because the cord (which was poly/nylon) was jammed in the pulley at the top – too many threads had been pulled free by abrasion against the rusty metal, and it was immobile. It’s been that way for 10 years or more. So, the plan was to re-paint the pole with red rustoleum, and replace the cord with some 1/16″ stainless steel wire rope.

That was a test-climb. By the time Mark was carrying paint up and down, we had a tie-strap holding the ladder against the pole, and a rope between the bottom rungs and the pole, to keep the bottom of the ladder from going anywhere. I was still very happy to stand back and let Mark do the painting.

I also got some silver paint for the finial at the top and the bollard at the bottom. Eventually we’ll do another coat.

Next, I need to make an enlarged stencil (I’ll trace from a digital projection) of Andreas’ badger logo, so I can spray-produce a few badger banners.


  1. flex says

    … finial at the top,,,,

    I think “finial” is fine, but in my AF days we were told that the technical term for the piece at the top of the flagpole is a “truck”.

    Just another one of the obscure terms in the English language.

  2. efogoto says

    @1 Flex:

    I do find sites that agree with you, but others that say the truck is the cap with a pulley and the ball atop it is still the finial. Here’s an example. Thanks for giving me an extra word of the day, though. I was unaware of this usage for the word truck.

  3. Bruce says

    I see by the Pirates flag that you are happy to be known as a Pittsburg fan. I hope none of your neighbors feel offended on behalf of Philadelphia.

  4. says

    I see by the Pirates flag that you are happy to be known as a Pittsburg fan

    What, huh, eh? If anyone feels offended I hope they keep it to themself. I don’t do sports enthusiasm – that’s Calico Jack Rackham’s flag. Now, Calico Jack was all about “buy low, sell high” so I guess he was a good capitalist.

    It’s just because my anarcho-syndicalist flag is somewhere I can’t locate.

  5. Reginald Selkirk says

    Painting a pole and stringing a cord seems like something that could be done by either a flying drone or pole-climbing robot. Capitalism calls.

    I have been known to borrow a ladder. It’s not because I can’t afford one of my own, it’s because I have no place to store it.

  6. komarov says

    Re: #8

    Would capitalism not also charge princely sums for using the robot, a king’s ransom for the expert operator* and the entire kingdom for the extraordinary privilege of actually coming out to the location? A deal with the ladder-affine neighbour is probably always cheaper and faster, so long as said affinity stops them from falling off and suing you. (Our specialist will arrive in 6-14 weeks. Please make sure you’re available during the hours of 00:00 – 23:59. Missing your appointment may result in additional fees.)

    *who’ll receive at least 60% minimum wage plus tips**
    **-25% processing surcharge

  7. Reginald Selkirk says

    @9: I see it as more of an item you could rent at the local equipment rental place, the same place where you could rent a post hole digger or such.
    RE the photo that accompanies the opening post: I would not have placed the ladder on the hard surface, I would have put it on the grass and kicked the feet of the ladder down into the turf so there is almost no chance of it sliding out.

  8. Knabb says

    If you’re planning on using the ladder for poles I’d recommend a trick I learned at a previous workplace, which had a piece of mobile equipment where we ran a bunch of ropes up through mounted pulleys at the top of a tall pole is to put a U shaped piece of metal on the ladder at the top to catch the pole as you place it. It prevents lateral movement perpendicular to the ladderbase-pole axis well, and that particular direction of movement is a particular problem.

Leave a Reply