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 Two)

Below details the method of treating the end of the stair treads along the lines of traditional approach. First the end board was removed, exposing the treads. It's at this point one can see what sort of problems will be encountered in contouring to these. Done a couple decades ago in solid wood, glued into planks there has been some movement. New manufactured stairways have made improvements in both laminated supports, risers and treads that practically eliminate warpage, shrinkage and squeaking. Since a decorative application is going over the stringer there is somewhat of an allowance for a gap. Some of these treads deviated from level several degrees one stair to the next.

There was some discussion over whether the decorative scroll work would be set flat against the stringer. The owner opted to avoid any further cutting into either the treads or the risers. It then leaves a small space open in between them and the stair, creating a shadow. This only meant an adaptation to the returns of the store-bought tread returns. I would mitre the front side and leave the back side alone, butting a small trim piece onto it underneath.

The picture below perhaps best illustrates how this would be accomplished. The warpage out of squareness was compensated for by marking and chiseling off the deviation. The risers were capped off with stained oak cove molding, square cut on top of the tread returns, and mitred at the top to cover a spacer which turned the tread return into a classical profile underneath. It then made a short return and butted into the stringer.

This gives an impression of what it will look like to whomever buys the house when just coming in the front door. I can additionally imagine maybe a side board with some kind of vase and flowers or sculpture on a small pedestal.

1 comment:

billythekid said...

that's beautiful. i know what a pain staircases are to lay out even basic ones from the stringers up, but to try to match an existing must be a right beeyotch.

I'm going to make a day where I read through all your posts in full to take it in properly. There is some sweet work here. It's a pity you aren't local! lol

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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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