A blog dedicated towards architectural refinement of buildings and environments in which we live, work, and play. Chiefly this is brought about by the author with finish carpentry at heart, and many other disciplines radiating or spinning off from it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Stairway - Plain to Fancy (Part Three)

It shows how the spiral patterns in the wallpaper rhythmically recur in the wooden brackets. The last few cove pieces will go underneath the stair tread and end at the carpet on both sides.

After a little assessment it was decided that the same width for the top stringer would not work. Not only would it be unstable during the notch cutting operation, it would not give a visually proportionate buffer between the wall and stairs. We went with a 1" x 10" Hemlock Fir board special ordered. (Most of our materials have been acquired from Lowe's or Home Depot, large retail home improvement stores in the USA).

Instead of measuring and marking these out individually, laboriously I made a thin plywood template by hot gluing pieces together into one piece, reinforced by a piece of molding so it would not distort. I transferred this contour onto the board (see picture below). I used a Forstner bit to cut clean holes where the stair tread's bullnose starts superimposed on the pattern.

I give the Forstner a little help in starting accurately making a divot with an awl right on my mark. Reducing the error in locating these centers will make a great bit of difference later. The stair treads are 1-1/32" in diameter. The Forstner is 1". I will have to clean up the rest with a router and a template after a test fit.Then I took the board outside to cut the notches out up to the holes.
It's a big break to have a huge patio under an awning and really nice weather in southern Colorado to work outside in. This looks like it was August, but it was really late October.

I use a Japanese style pull saw to cut the rest of the way through. This one is about worn out, not from use, but from not having an appropriate cover or scabbard.The test fit causes much anticipation because of all the things that can go wrong either in not measuring correctly, and the degree of errors that can compound. This took me four hours, going from setting up everything, marking, drilling and sawing.
It's pretty close. Just some tune up with a router and a template. Then it's just a matter of sanding, staining and varnish.

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Budding Sculptor at 56, chiefly interested in mold-making and casting, with particular interest in geometric abstraction, industrial technology, vis a vis solar power and re-chargable batteries that could power kinetic sculpture and illuminate LCD screens.


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