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Steve Bearss

Very unique things have happened here.

You've probably already noticed the bear inlays on each tread done with a darker wood. Also of interest are the steel balusters placed between the wood balusters.

You can also see that Steve has made his spacers on a wood lathe. Did you happen to notice there are actually two spirals here, one continuing down another floor.

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Bobbie Jeffrey

Talk about an ambitious project, this family built a stage set which included two spiral stairs for a community stage play.

Pictured here are is Ron's son DJ and his daughter Holli. It became a family affair!

Well, the show has been over for almost three weeks, and I once again have time to breathe. As you can see from these photos, the spiral staircases were both functional and aesthetically pleasing! We were able to move the two wagons, each with its own staircase, into many different configurations, and it wowed our audiences. The whole set is very open, so the interplay of light and shadow as our dancers moved the wagons into position was worth the price of the show! Thank you so much for sharing the plans with us.

We've got them stored intact in a storage cave with our other pieces that have been deemed save-able! We'll use them again many times.

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George/Carol Born

Of special interest here I found the simple jig that George built for rounding the small ends of the treads to be very clever.

Hi Jim, I have completed the stairs (except for removing the sweak!) I have enjoyed the project very much and would do it over again when the time comes. I have talked to quite a number of people about the Plans that you have prepared and how comprehensive they are and easy to follow. Following them explicitly is the formula for a successful stair.

As I mentioned earlier, I used Yellow Poplar because it was the least expensive 8/4 lumber available here in Saskatchewan, Canada. I spoke with BP Balusters-Stairs (Saskatoon, SK) and they agreed that the choice of wood was good. The stairs are not in a highly visible spot-- Master bedroom down to the office. I pickled the treads and painted the balusters and handrails but I think I will paint the treads as well.

The stair is 60" in diameter in a 64" diameter opening. The height from floor to floor is 116" with 13 treads and landing making up the stair. I borrowed a jointer/planer for most of the tread and baluster preparation and had the use of a floor drillpress to drill the 3 5/8" holes. To prepare the slats for the handrail, I again borrowed a thickness planer which did a great job. At this time, I bought a thickness planer that was on sale. I routered the balusters, the treads, landing and handrails (I guess that's everything except the spacers).

When I was veneering the spacers, they worked well except the top handrail spacer. The veneer went on smooth and flat and overnight it wrinkled! I used the contact cement for metal and veneer. I carefully removed the veneer, flattened it for a week and reapplied it. It wrinkled again! I sanded and filled some of the wrinkles and left the rest look somewhat 'rustic'.

As you will recall, I made the handrail twice. The first attempt was a failure due to the unforgiving nature of the quick setting glue. The second attempt with epoxy worked well and it has held together throughout the securing to the balusters. It was hard to believe that the handrail could fit onto the balusters. My wife, Carol and I were challenged by trying to find a way just to get the handrail circle into place to start flexing it into a helix! Slowly with muscle power, rope and clamps we overcame the unwillingness of the circle to transform into a helix.

Thanks Jim for your excellent plans (I have had the local lumber and hardware stores look at your website to show them what I was hoping to do) which I put in a binder and used constantly. I am so glad that I was able to use your plans and build this spiral stair.

George Born
Waldheim, Saskatchewan

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Stan Burnett

Finally, after many delays the stair construction has started. Ready to plumb and make the pattern for the handrail. Also a good shot of the landing. Meet the happy home owner, Elaine Monroe. The diameter is 5f, wood species is poplar. Notice I doubled up the hand rail, had to build it two times. I also milled to match and installed all of the other railing. Thanks for the plans they worked excellent.

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Glenn Ashton

Hi Jim,

Finally finished my spiral stairs in Cape Town, South Africa; you plans have conquered another continent!

As you can see from the pics i changed a few things slightly as i went along but stuck to your core plan. It was a good plan and it worked every step of the way despite my poor woodworking skills and my basic toolkit - drill, hand planer, hand belt sander, router, saw table. The treads all ended up slightly different thicknesses but since i knew the total thickness it was not a problem figuring out the spacer sizes. And of course this is a metric staircase. Its built with the stair treads at a 760mm radius, which is just shy of 30 inches. 1 inch = 25.4mm

The whole thing is built of South African grown radiata pine, except for the handrail which i think is spruce. Its straight grained clear wood i just had lying around! It turned out really well and i probably saved around 70% of the cost of a steel or prefab stair, not counting my very very expensive labour of course! As a plumber I dont come cheap! I did the welding and everything else except cutting the spacers which i had done at a machine shop to get them good and square.

As you can see i did the layup for the lamination of the treads in a huge block which was time saving. I got 12 steps out of the one you see in the picture and then laid up for the last three separately. Its a pity I did not get any pics of the handrail layup, it was fun and really hard work getting it all in before the glue went off as we are in the middle of summer and its hot and dry and i had to do it outside in the sun, on the brick paving, so i had about 10 minutes to do it! Luckily I did a dry run first! It ain't sprung yet!

I changed the size of the balusters and made them 2 x 3 inches in your sizes, pretty much. I notched them deep, about 25 mm, one inch, and the stairs are very stiff and solid, what with the serious screws that are in the treads. But putting the handrail on the top stiffened the whole thing up more. I also put the bottom steps balusters both down onto the floor as you can see, not fixed to the floor.

All in all a most enjoyable project. I may do them for sale if someone is really interested and would like to pay me lots of tom, but we will see about that! I have had positive feedback on the stairs and it may be cool to make some out of some oak or other hardwood which i could not really afford. I would get the next ones run through a thicknesser first, as i did with teh handrail strips, it makes all the difference.

Any rate mate, thanks for the plans, well done on putting them together really clearly - hell, even a plumber can understand them!

I guess i get an honorary carpentry qualification now that i have built these. I also built some conventional stairs in the other flat, as well as some really different stairs in my home that I will send you a picture of as well. I also built all of the roof structures, so i guess I'm getting there as a chippy.

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Tim Fisch

Hey Jim,

Just thought I would send a quick note with a picture. I put my stairs together this weekend. Talk about beautiful, WOW. There will be more pictures and notes to follow. When I finish the handrail I'll send some more pictures and description of materials used. Thanks again.

I hope Tim does follow through with more pictures, he's got a nice one in the works here.

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Exterior spiral staircase

Gene R.

Finally got going with the project. Here are some photos that I took. I am about to order the spacers and start building the rail. The plans are so far so good!

I like the round opening in the floor better. However, this spiral stair is not going to be a masterpiece because i am rushing to getting it done because i need to rent this apartments asap. I am not going that extra step to make it look splendid but it is going to look good.

Yes i am having fun! and these two small spirals are the warm up for the real big one that i am going to build for the outside.

Later, Gene

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Jesse David

Just wanted to say thanks for your great stair plans, and to show off the results. I used some very nice, clear, straight grained fir, and made the treads a full 2" thick finished for extra strength. I followed your plans pretty closely, but I made the spacers entirely out of wood, rather than veneering steel spacers. I used a 'bird's mouth' router bit, which can be used to make very strong 12-sided 'cylinders'. It's apparently a technique used to make very strong but hollow wooden boat masts, an idea i got from browsing router bits in the Lee Valley tool catalogue. It worked very well, and was a fun challenge too.

Again, thanks for the well thought out plans, they saved me a ton of headaches.

Jesse Thornton

The router bit that Jesse is mentioning is availible from Infinitytools.com.

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