August 20, 2016
Stairs December 2015
Once the cork floor was done on the main level, Ken got itching to get the stairs done. This is the kind of project he loves, with a lot of fine detailed work. And I am so excited that they are finally done and they look fabulous.
Finishing the stairs was quite the project – treads, risers, under stair storage and railing. It took over a month to complete.
Nosing Glued and Screwed
Ken constructed the noses on the stair from bamboo by routering a rounded edge on it. The backs and sides of the stairs were also done in bamboo.
Cork on Treads
We had some leftover cork tiles from the floor project and decided to incorporate them into the stairs. We have two cork patterns, one in the bedrooms and another in the living room, but not enough of one or the other to do the stairs. So we decided to use both, alternating the treads. I really like the outcome.
stairs backs in bamboo
View from upstairs
storage compartments framed
The space under the stairs has 3 storage sections. The small triangular area at the foot of the stairs is a little cubby to store the vacuum cleaner. It has a electrical outlet inside so the vacuum can be kept plugged in. I use the vacuum to clean off my dust mop so this is really handy.
The middle storage unit is composed of a triangular cubby and 3 drawers. I plan on using these to store my good dishes (using the sunroom as a dining room).
The big area is a alcove for Ken’s old juke box. We have had it for around 30 years and for the last 6, its been stored in a garage. Over the years, Ken has accumulated quite a collection of 45s. We recently brought the juke box home from the city, where it has been stored. It needs a little TLC, but if it can be fixed up, it will have a new home. If not, I have a plan for more storage cubbies for that corner. Never enough storage. LOL
In the pictures below, the under stair storage area is complete except for the cupboard doors and drawer fronts.
Post and rails in.
We removed the post at the bottom of the stairs and the railing when the floor was installed, now that is back in. And it is even sanded and finished.
The drawer fronts are done in this photo but not the 2 cupboard doors.
Next job, get the spindles in. A bit tricky but Ken manages to figure it out. It one day to get the first spindle done, but he got steadily faster as he figured out how best to do the job.
Get each spindle sanded was a chore, until he began using the lathe to rough sand them, and a stationary belt sander to finish them up.
The spindles are tenon cut, same as the spindles for the bannister upstairs. The bottom and top spindles were fitted by placing it in the hole cut on the bottom rail and eyeballing it to the hole in the top spindle. For the spindles in the middle, the rails had enough give for him to actually put them in the top and bottom holes. Each spindle was numbered as each is specially made for each space.
Once he had all 24 spindles cut to size, he varathaned them all and we were ready to install them.
Unfortunately, I was no help in this process. I took a really bad tumble off my bike when we were out giving Hanna a run. Luckily, nothing broken but a really bad groin pull has put me out of action. Thanks to Sheryl and Rick who helped Ken out in the final install.
Sheryl sorting out spindles by number
Fitting the top spindles in
While Rick kept the top rail in place at the bottom pot, Ken and Sheryl fitted the top spindles in place. Ken made minor adjustments for length as we went .
All spindles in but adjusting needed to make each snug.
Since we knew the middle spindles were the correct length, we opted to install the top and bottom spindles, trusting that we could fit the middle ones in later, same as Ken had done while he was making them. All went well until we discovered that some top and bottom spindles were too long, pushing the rails apart and making the middle spindles too short. After a bit of adjusting, we got them all in. The next day, Ken fined tuned them by filing down the too tight, over long spindles until all the spindles fit well. In hind sight, we should have continued installing the spindles top to bottom and seeing if the top rail stayed in the right place or was pushed up. That way we could have adjusted better as we went along.
It was a bit tricky, but finally the stairs are complete. A real work of art. The final two doors need to be made for the under-stair storage, but that will wait until later.
Next job – the living room. Ken has been working on it while doing the stairs, so hopefully it won’t be too much longer to get completed.