Renovation project - How to build a staircase - part 2
This morning I received a strange phone call, it was definitely the wood delivery for the stairs, but we had trouble understanding each other, I am hoping that he is arranging an earlier delivery, but he keeps saying today. I try to confirm that he will be arriving today, but then it sounds like now.
I open the front door and there he is on the phone to me.
So the arranging early delivery consisted of, I am here, now.
Ok, no problem, I shout John and he and the delivery guy bring the wood into the garden.
This has messed our schedule up a little bit, as the wood is outside and the weather is not looking good. So today we will mostly be building a flight of stairs.
Building a flight of stairs is not the easiest of jobs as the angles have to be perfect to ensure that the stairs look right.
We try drawing on the wall where the rakes (side panel of the stairs will go) and all seems well, we have already worked out that there will be 10 treads, this is less than normal but the ceiling height is lower than normal, this was why we could not buy a set of standard stairs.
The angles are decided and John cuts the wood, we only have one chance at this and if any measurement is wrong we have just wasted over 500 Euros, we won’t get a second chance to cut.
The piece is attached to the wall and the second piece is cut.
The treads are cut to size. These will be attached by cutting small blocks which are screwed on to the sides, all is going well but as we work our way down, they are not right.
John rechecks the measurements and it should be right we have no idea why the stairs are going out of line.
It is all removed and we start again, this time John attaches a piece of wood baton to the wall to ensure that there is no mistake with the measurements and angles,
yet again, it does not work. Something is not right, it is one of those moments when you really do just sit and scratch your head, all the measurements are correct, the angles are correct but it does not work, this is where I personally would say bugger to it and leave it till tomorrow, but John will not stop, he knows it is right and he will make sure that it works.
It is at this moment that the realisation hits him, the rakes are slightly different sizes we had forgotten that the shop did not have 2 pieces exactly the same size, one is 10 millimetres higher than the other. This sounds nothing but when you have measurements that need to be exact, it makes a big difference.
John re works the measurements and has one slightly higher (the difference is so small it will not be noticeable) the batons are put back in place and the stairs go up in no time and work perfectly.
I do not want square ended stairs, as these will be open plan stairs it will look like a ladder, I want them to look really nice, John removes all of the treads and says that he can router the ends, this will give a rounded finish (similar to the skirting boards he makes) perfect, much better, but I also don’t want them looking exactly like the skirting boards, not a problem. He can use his hand plane to make them even more rounded.
This now consists of using the router to make the edge, then planning them by hand to make the edges more rounded, then using the electric sander to smooth them.
Once finished they look great and because John has had to do a big part of the work by hand, they really are handmade bespoke stairs. As we stand back and look at them, we are both happy and know we made the right decision to buy quality wood and hand make the stairs.