45-foot walnut wood slide to highlight pediatrician’s office
May 5, 2023 | 2:57 pm CDT
Rendering of 45-foot wood slide and stairs

Rendering shows the 45-foot wooden slide built by TopTread Stairways for a pediatrician’s office in Illinois.

Clyde Martin likes sliding into his work — literally.

His company, TopTread Stairways in Sierra Vista, Arizona, specializes in challenging stairway projects, and sometimes those projects also involve matching slides.

Martin’s latest project is a 3-foot-wide, 45-foot-long walnut slide to be installed next to a stairway in a pediatrician’s office in Illinois. Martin says he’s not sure if the project is designed to attract more kids to the office or qualifies as therapy all by itself.

Stair and slide rendering
The 45-foot slide will be mounted side-by-side next to the conventional stairway.

Originally, the plan was for a smaller, 18-inch-wide, 18-foot-long slide to be done in conjunction with a company called Adventure Solutions. But after initial drawings and talks with the firm, they decided to scale the project up to the 45-foot level.

Wooden slide in progress
In the shop, the slide required plenty of room for construction. It is made entirely of American black walnut.

It’s not the longest wooden slide ever built, but it’s the biggest that Martin has done, eclipsing the 33-foot slide he built in 2020. Like this latest slide, that one was also in American black walnut, but it was a bit more complicated construction as it followed the pattern of a curving staircase.

Finished wood slide
Finished in conversion varnish, the slide looks slick and ready for use.

The latest slide is a straight chute that will be mounted alongside a more conventional stairway in the doctor’s office. The stairs feature three in-line flights and two landings, but the trip down the slide is uninterrupted. For durability, the new slide is finished in conversion varnish. For safety, there will be transparent sidewalls on the slide.

You can see a 360-degree 3D model of the slide and stairs here.

Finished wood slide end view
The finished slide will be loaded on a truck, and a special crate will be built around it for the trip to Illinois from the shop in Arizona.

Getting the slide from the shop in Arizona to the job site in Illinois presents additional challenges. Martin says they will actually load the slide onto a truck and then build a special shipping crate around it in place.

Once installed, the stairway is likely to get lots of attention. “It’s the focal point when you walk in the building,” Martin told his local paper, the Herald-Review. “It’s the perfect spot for it.”

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About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.