Our Swedish Ladder (aka, Stall Bars) Installed!

Yesterday, I finally solved the thing I was afraid of – the installation of the Swedish stairs. This is an exercise equipment, also called a stall bar, that can be used to perform hundreds of different stretches and exercises. If you’ve never heard of it before, hop on YouTube and search for “stall bar exercises,” and you’ll get an idea of ​​how it’s used. This video is a very quick demonstration of about 75 different exercises that can be done, but even that is only the tip of the iceberg.

I originally planned to make my own Swedish stairs from scratch, but I’m starting to feel a little insecure about that. These things should be able to hold the full weight of the body, and I feel better about buying one with a metal frame and 1.5-inch diameter bars. I’m done buy it from The Beam Store.

After unpacking it and putting it together (without tightening all the bolts or screwing the bars in place), it looks like this with the light colored bars.

I ended up sanding and staining the bars so everything would go with my “walnut and black” plan for the room’s accents. I finished that a few days ago, and then the Swedish ladder kept sitting on the floor because I was too scared to install.

I think the installation will be very difficult, but it will take about an hour…or 90 minutes at most. It turned out to be a simple project, but it took me four hours. 😀 Oh my gosh, this is a long process. Nothing about it was particularly difficult, but it took a long time because I figured it out as I went along, and I installed it twice.

For obvious reasons, the Swedish ladder must be placed on studs with lag screws. (I actually used something different, but more on that below.) So after reassembling the whole thing (I took it out to stain the bars), I had to figure out how to do it install on a wall where the Swedish ladder brackets are not lined up with the wall studs. The solution I came up with was to use a 2″ x 4″ board, place that on the studs, and then attach the Swedish ladder brackets to the 2″ x 4″ board.

As I’m sure you know, 2 x 4s are not the prettiest wood. It is rough, and the edges are rounded. I want it to look nice and finished. So before I could start the installation, I took the 2 x 4 on my table saw and cut just enough of each edge to remove the rounded corners and give them nice, non-rounded corners. And then I sanded the heck out of them, starting with an 80-grit sanding disc and working up to 150-grit. Once it was ready, I proceeded with the installation.

So with the Swedish ladder lying on the floor, I screwed the brackets to the 2 x 4s, and then stood the whole thing up on the wall. While holding it against the wall, I moved my ladder in front of the Swedish ladder, stood up on my ladder, held the Swedish ladder over my head, and then freed my hands to use my stud finder and then. screw the 2 x 4 into the studs. You have to be creative when working alone. 😀 This is what it looked like at that point.

I want to get everything in place, and put at least two screws in each 2 x 4 before cutting the 2 x 4s to size and finishing them. I’m not sure what to do with the 2 x 4s until after. I have three options. I can (1) paint them the color of the wall, (2) stain them a walnut color, or (3) paint them black.

So after I installed it to the point you see above, I actually took the Swedish ladder off the wall, removed the brackets, and removed the 2 x 4s from the wall so I could cut them to the exact width that I need. to make and finish them. At that point, I thought I could stain it, and I had to do that and then let them dry before reinstalling it.

But after thinking about it, I decided to paint them black so they look like part of the frame. That means I can reinstall the unfinished 2 x 4s, and then paint them after they’re on the wall.

I did not use the lag screws that came with the Swedish ladder. Instead, I use these HeadLOK screws, which I find much easier to use than lag screws. They do not require pre-drilling, and they do not split the wood. And they come in easily.

They require a special driver bit, but each package comes with a driver bit, so it’s not a separate purchase. Here is what the screw looks like. To secure the 2 x 4s to the studs, I used 4.5-inch screws.

It worked so well, and they clamped the 2 x 4 so tightly to the studs, that I had three places where the drywall screws (or rather, the drywall mud covering the drywall screws) came out a little. So it will need some sanding and touching up.

Once the 2 x 4s were secured to the studs, I taped them down and gave them two coats of the same black I used on the closet walls.

Once that’s done, installing the Swedish stairs is easy because the holes are already pre-drilled. I installed the brackets separately this time, and I’m very happy with how they look on the black 2 x 4s.

And then I put the Swedish ladder back, secured all the bolts, and tightened everything really well.

I’m sure a post about “how to install stall bars” won’t help anyone, but if you get anything out of this post, remember the HeadLOK screws. Seriously, if you have a project that requires lag screws, get the HeadLOK screws. It is much easier to use, and it is more secure than lag screws.

I wasn’t really confident going into this installation, but I’m pretty confident now that this Swedish ladder isn’t going anywhere. It was incredibly safe in that fort.

And I got it as close to perfectly centered on the wide stripe as possible, as planned. It’s fun to see a plan come together.

And with that, the room is almost done. All the big projects are done, and I still have a few small things to do, like installing the light in the entrance, and installing the ceiling fan. Also, my mom hung the curtains for me, so I had to iron them and hang them back up. Then I had a few paint touchups, and that was it! I hope to show you the final home gym, along with all the befores and afters, early next week.

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