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Stuff We Still Love: Multi-Purpose Ladder and Hinges

Here are two products that are as relevant today as they were when first featured in our magazine, decades ago.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

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Over our 70 years of reviewing tools and products, we’ve found some favorites that are still “go to’s” for our editors today. Here’s a ladder that handles just about every situation and a hinge that even a novice DIY’er can install.

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The Do-it-All Ladder

First seen in a 1970 issue of Family Handyman with the caption “the winning combination ladder,” articulating ladders provide various uses and represent the perfect all-in-one ladder for a homeowner. You can set them up as a step ladder or an extension ladder doubling the step ladder’s height.

Most versions, like the Werner Multi-Position Ladder pictured here, also allow you to offset the legs, providing a safer way to set up on a staircase. Best thing is, they all fold up small for easy storage. They’re heavier than your average ladder but are worth their weight for all they can do.

Werner has many models of their multi ladder. They’re rated at 250, 300 or 375 lbs., and range from 14 to 26 feet. You can find them online and at home centers starting at $110.

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The Easy to Install Hinge

Hanging a door typically requires preparing the door edge by chiseling out a mortise that receives the hinges. This finish carpentry skill is outside the knowhow of most homeowners, but hope appeared in a 1960 Family Handyman with the “hinge everybody can install.”

The non-mortise hinge requires no chiseling of the door edge and is thinner in profile, allowing for the proper gap for setting doors. Typically for smaller doors, you can install them with a drill driver and a tape measure. These hinges are available in many styles, sizes and finishes. Non-mortise hinges are available at any home center or hardware store. Specialty hardware stores like Rockler or Woodcraft have more options to choose from. You’ll spend from $3 to $15 a pair.

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