Friday, October 19, 2012

One Step At A Time

(Thanks BG for the tag line)

  The staircase for the cottage is an important design element.  It's the only thing you see whether you are upstairs or down.  It has to be functional--there are more design requirements involving stairs than most people realize.  Rise over run, max/min stair depth and height, head clearances, railing height, widths, distances, turns, loads, finishes, noses, lighting, etc, etc, etc.
   It is also one of the final touches.  We are so close to the final inspection it's tempting to make it 'good enough' but I'd regret it later.  I really wanted the stair treads made out of the same Jacareuba that's become an impromptu theme throughout the cottage, but it was too difficult to cut slabs thick and true enough for that purpose.  Instead I'm using 1" thick oak stock and staining it to match the 40 year old oak flooring we put down.  The risers are just soft pine that will be painted the same white as the walls.  The Jacareuba trims the ends and goes up under the tread bull nose; it will be finished with a clear varnish so will match the balusters.  I did end up with enough straight, flat pieces of Jacareuba to do the landing---7 boards we milled from an old beam (before frying the band saw) that I carefully biscuit joined, clamped, and sanded.  I'm going to wait until it's varnished before posting a pic of that.  It's gorgeous. 
Every step gets at least 5 custom tetris pieces--the step itself, this end trim that has to go around the balusters, the riser, the riser trim, and the piece that goes under the bull nose

  So you have to sort of imagine the long piece that's sitting on the step goes up under the tread.  In these pics they are all just set in place.  Right now it's all taken apart, every bit numbered, and ready for paint/stain/varnish.

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