Build a Blanket Ladder with Nicole | Great for Beginners!

Written on 04/08/2021
Marc Spagnuolo

Nicole joins me for a new beginner series of projects starting with a handy blanket ladder.

As you probably know, The Wood Whisperer has always been focused on mid to high level woodworking. I like to think we are welcoming to beginners as well but rarely do we make content aimed directly at a person who has almost no tools and no experience in the shop. That is, until now. With the help of my wife Nicole, who stands in as “the beginner”, we’ll show you how to make a simple but elegant blanket ladder using a very small and basic set of tools. In fact, the entire set costs less than $500 and will serve you well on future projects too. While Nicole has been around woodworking for the last 15 years, she has almost no personal experience. Her questions guide the discussions and should prove useful to anyone who is new to the craft. This video is LONG with a lot of conversation and explanation. If this isn’t your cup of tea, consider sharing the video with someone you’d like to see get into the craft. We feel this is an excellent starting point.

In the video we reference two other videos you might want to check out: Block Plane Tune-Up and Applying Rubio to Furniture.

Download the FREE Plans

These plans feature measured drawings and a cut list.

Tools We Used

The list below represents the tools I selected specifically for this beginner series. Many of them maybe be things you already have in your house or garage and all of them can be used again on future projects.

  • Miter Saw – Used to cut the boards to length as well as adding the angles to the bottom of the vertical ladder pieces.
  • Hand Saw – Used to cut the long angles at the top of the vertical ladder pieces. This Japanese pull saw features two sides: one for finer cross-cuts and one for more aggressive rip cuts.
  • Random Orbit Sander – A random orbit sander is capable of smoothing the surface without leaving noticeable scratch marks. Purchase 180 grit sandpaper.
  • Block Plane – Inexpensive block planes often need some tuneup. Learn how to do that here.
  • Cordless Drill –  A basic cordless drill is an asset to any wood shop.
  • Brad Point Bit Set  – We only use a 3/8″ bit for this project but it obviously makes a lot more sense to buy a set if you don’t already own one.
  • 24″ Clamps – You’ll want four of these. If you’re looking for a bargain in clamps, check out your local Harbor Freight store.
  • Glue – Titebond 3 – Any wood glue will work but this is what I use most often.
  • Preppin’ Weapon Sanding Block – Purchase 180 grit sandpaper.
  • Tape Measure – Pretty much any tape measure will do.
  • 6″ Combination Square
  • Clear Protractor
  • Dowels – This is a mix of dowel sizes but all you need for this projects are sixteen 3/8″ dowels.
  • Dead Blow Hammer – Not a necessity but sure nice to have.
  • Watco Danish Oil – While I used a product called Rubio Monocoat, I really recommend something like this for beginners.


If purchasing pre-surfaced material from the big box store, you’ll want THREE 1 x 3’s. Although they are called “one by threes”, their actual dimensions will usually be smaller and the thickness will actually be 3/4″, which is exactly what we want for this project.  You will then cut those three boards into the following pieces. Be sure to consult the PDF plan for more detail.

  • (2) Vertical Sides – 72″L x 3″W x 3/4″T
  • (4) Ladder Rungs – 20 1/2L x 3″W x 3/4″T