Construction pictures.

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There are several pictures not here, they're reserved for the plans purchasers.

Click for big picture Tread blocks glued and ready for cutting. In this example I've made four treads per gluing. Click for big picture Here's my homebuilt taper cutting jig for rough cutting of the treads. The hook piece on the end of the jig keeps it from falling off the tread as it goes off the edge of the saw.

Click for big picture In this picture I'm tracing a thin plywood pattern onto each tread, and locating the center pole hole with a nail punch. I don't try to trace the radius end yet, but do try to be exact on the other tread edges. Click for big picture If you can get to a large drill press, a hole saw is a lot easier to use than a jig saw making the 3 5/8th inch holes.

Click for big picture A circular saw works about as well as anything when it comes time to clip off the narrow ends of the treads. Click for big picture A band saw is a real time saver cutting the radius on the ends of the treads. You can see one of the scrap pieces just behind the blade. The saw table and circular wood block base need to be flush for this to work.

Click for big picture I used a jointer to straighten the tread edges, but there are a lot of tools that will make straight edges. I hit my previously traced pattern lines at this time. It's important that all the treads are the same width where the balusters mount. Click for big picture This stair has intermediate balusters, 2 per tread. I'm counter boring for the mounting screws as well as the wood buttons that fill the holes.

Click for big picture After deciding what shape would be best for this landing, I've tried to use a lot of the shorter pieces for this glueup. Notice how the clamps are staggered from top to bottom. Click for big picture I'm again tracing the plywood pattern, but this time only on the front edge and narrow end of the landing. A straight edge is used for drawing on the back edge of the landing.

Click for big picture After surfacing the landing a tread is placed on it for locating the baluster notch. Note how the landing is made considerably longer to reach the edge of the floor opening for mounting. Click for big picture It's about this time when I usually fabricate the landings handrail. On the mounting edge of the landing you should notice the area where the carpet will cover the mounting screws. I try to make carpets flush with landings whenever possible.

Click for big picture I fold a piece of tin over the baluster notch for locating where I'll be drilling the pilot holes. At this time the treads are ready for rounding off the corners with a router. Click for big picture I use a dado blade on the table saw for making the notches for the treads in the balusters. The red lines are where I position the baluster for repeat cutting. Luckily I have two guides that hold the back up board in the table slots.

Click for big picture Predrilling and counter boring the balusters is fairly easy with this jig. The baluster notch drops down over a notch on the block that I've clamped to the drill press table. Click for big picture A little setup like this will show you the angle to cut the balusters. I usually do this when I setup the stair, but for clarity I've done it this way instead. A protractor will show you the angle you've drawn on the square.

Click for big picture I've made tin jigs for most all the perdrilling I'll be doing. One for square baluster ends, one for angeled, and the last for the intermediate balusters that will be mounting on top of the tread. SClick for big picture In this picture I'm preparing to weld a threaded piece to the end of the center pole. If you purchase a threaded pipe, you won't need to weld on half a nipple to get threads. I used hose clamps around an angle iron to hold things straight.

Click for big picture Here I've slipped the top post over the center pole and then screwed on the coupling so they can be welded together. I've found this to be a very good way to get them properly oriented prior to welding. Click for big picture I always pre-assemble the staircase to check its height. This would be the time to make whatever adjustments might be necessary. Have you noticed before that I've cleaned my shop with the mouse.

Hidden The next four pictures and text would have shown handrail building details, but they are reserved for the plans purchasers.

Are you curious about that sign on the wall?


HiddenHidden HiddenHidden

Click for big picture This plywood jig has sticks on the underside that fit the saw tables guide slots. I use this to make angle cuts on the handrail slats. Click for big picture The 11 slats are held in place with nails for glueing using a roller. Note the one stick off to the side that will be the final handrail edge.

Click for big picture The block with the red X is a 3 and a 1/4 inch guide I'm using to set the clamping blocks around the edge of the handrail form. The wedges are the scraps from the angle cut on the slats. Note my table is covered with plastic sheeting. Click for big picture It's hard to see here, but it really looks like a mess after glueing. I occasionally use C clamps to grab the lamination when I didn't make much extra length. The ends require the most clamping pressure. (Pitts S-2)

Click for big picture The stick is the length my outside handrail holes are supposed to be apart. The compass sets the distance in from the outside edge while the straight edge sets the inside hole on the center radial 1-1/8th over from the outside hole. Click for big picture I make all the veneer a little longer than the circumference of the spacer pipes. One end has a nice edge, the other is doesn't matter as it will be lapped and sanded off later.

Click for big picture I place the spacer in the guide slot then slide the veneer under it just prior to rolling on the veneer. I use my very sharp pocket knife to sheer off the overhanging ends. Sand off the lap and they're done. Click for big picture I hang everythig using eye screws for spraying on the urethane finish. The treads are wired so I can move them around while they're wet.

Click for big picture Here's a detail picture of carpet wrapping the treads. Note how I use spray paint to mark the pattern edges rather than a marker.

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