The plant used by painters is not very extensive, ladders, steps, and trestles being the chief items.
Ladders are made in various lengths up to 60 rounds, and even longer in exceptional cases. For decorating purposes they are not required to be so heavy as those used in general building operations, nor need their rungs or staves be placed quite so close together.
It is quite a common practice for over-careful decorators to paint their ladders, but this is unnecessary, and, indeed, undesirable, since the application of paint adds appreciably to their weight. They may be kept in excellent condition by the regular use of boiled linseed oil.
For various good reasons, including the difficulty, under present-day traffic conditions, of conveying ladders of any length through the streets, they have largely been displaced by the extension-type ladder, made in two or more sections and operated by a rope and pulley gear or a simple push-up and locking movement. It is, of course, important that these should combine strength with light-weight construction.
Some difference of opinion exists as to the advantages of the sections being of equal width or, alternatively, of one fitting inside the other. For the latter variety, it is claimed that there are no projecting fittings which might possibly get in the way of, or injure, the user’s hands when the ladder is being extended or closed. Those who favour equal-width construction, however, maintain that it gives greater stability, since any lateral movement is transmitted to the other section; it is held, too, that there must be greater strength than when one ladder rests upon the rungs of the other. There is much to be said for both these points of view.
In buying an extension ladder, special attention should be paid to the ease with which the top section can be extended, and to the locking device, which should be quick-acting, simple, and reliable.
Brackets and Cripples
Ladder brackets are used almost exclusively for outside work and are of various types, but the principle is the same in each case. They are strongly made of metal, to hook on to one or more rungs and are used in pairs, on two ladders, to support planks which thus form a working platform. Most types can be used either on the front or back of the ladders.