Subtitle: Knowing is half 99% of the battle.
Does that title seem oddly specific? I’m fairly certain you could fix your ladder in this same way even if it wasn’t broken by your mischievous feline, but, ever helpful, I want to be sure to show up in search engines for cat owners with broken ladders who are googling desperately as I was the other day.
I set this ladder up to snap a quick shot for this post and sure enough, Tiny Tina came back to the scene of the crime!
As you may remember, I’m currently tackling my entry and stairway – painting the railing and the walls, for starters. I knew that I would need a multi-position ladder to handle painting the walls going up the stairs, so I was thrilled to be able to borrow one from my dad. (This one*)
*denotes affiliate link – you know, if you feel like impulse-buying a ladder from your couch, I’ll receive a tiny percentage of the sale to help keep this blog running.
Step 1. Leave ladder in irresponsible place.
I brought it home, propped it up, sat down to eat dinner and promptly forgot about the ladder…
Step 2. Possess kitty with a penchant for investigating new acquisitions.
Unless you’re ready to run right out and adopt a new cat after bringing home the ladder, technically this is step one. But if you already have the inquisitive cat on hand, jump ahead to step 3.
Who her? A total angel. Never sends things hurtling to the ground just to hear them smash.
While we were eating, there came the mother-crash of all crashes from behind us that caused us to jump in our seats and one of us to shriek (I’m not going to tell you which one, but she may or may not be writing this blog post) in shock.
Step 3. Inspect broken ladder. Panic attack. Be relieved your cat is fine.
I mean, I guess a panic attack is optional. (If you’re the type of person who can borrow a two hundred dollar ladder and not freak out just a little when you think your cat has completely destroyed it.) The ladder’s crash to ground caused the spring-loaded “palm button hinge lock” to go flying, sprinkling various little parts throughout the room that need to be a) found and b) reattached. I’m pretty sure my hyperventilating was overkill though… I’ll work on that.
Step 4. Try your darnedest to reassemble the hinge lock mechanism and brainstorm ways to reattach the “piece from hell”.
This little hard metal ring piece with holes on each end that needs to somehow snap over the larger metal piece and into a special groove to hold everything together*:
*note: there IS a special name for this piece and it will be revealed in due time…
We tried everything. One person holding down the spring-loaded palm button while the other wrangled the piece from hell. Using two pairs of pliers. Using wires looped through the holes. Using a screwdriver to push it down. Using all our strength and combined brain power to no avail. It was late. We went to bed defeated. We tried the same tactics again in the morning.
Step 5. Google.
You guys, I’m so embarrassed at how far down the list this is. Only after being completely stumped and frustrated for HOURS with that stupid little metal ring did it occur to me to search the internet. So I decided to see if I could find out anything about repairing this part of the ladder, without exactly knowing what part it was. Thankfully, I was able to find a source for this ladder’s replacement parts online that contained a helpful little graphic explaining how to install the “palm button hinge lock” and the mention of the one helpful tool that would eliminate all frustration – snap ring pliers*.
So. For future generations and for all cat owners everywhere who also happen to own multi-position ladders…
That piece from hell? Is called a snap ring.
And these are what you need to get it back into place in approximately 10 seconds flat:
So in summary, this tutorial should really read as follows:
Use Google, buy pliers, fix ladder, drink beer*.
(*But don’t use ladders while drinking beer. Please note that this method worked for me, but I can’t guarantee that it will work for you. Ladders are scary. Proceed with caution. Also, public safety announcement: please keep ladders out of the reach of pets and children. Basically, note that this post is tongue in cheek and act accordingly.)