Alternating tread stair, and a request for LJ crowd wisdom

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Project by Tomw posted 08-05-2012 06:04 PM 5254 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Made this to provide access to the loft above the kitchen I was remodeling, and incorporated it into an enclosure for the refrigerator with some additional storage. The rails are doubled thickness of 3/4” oak veneer plywood, with 1×2 oak facing to hide the raw edges. Treads are 3/4”x7” solid oak. Finished with 3 coats acrylic floor varnish.

My request concerns the stainless handrails I ordered from West Marine (4th pic.) I want to face mount them on the upper part of the outer rails. They have 2” of 1/4” threaded rod welded to each end; most boats have access behind or below to install nuts, but I don’t. My first thought was to drill 1” holes with a Forstner bit into the sides of the rails at a right angle to the 1/4” holes so I could spin on a nut, then plug the hole with a 1” oak dowel. But I’m afraid it would work loose over time, with no way to address it, plus the precise drilling required would be tricky with a handheld drill. Second idea was to drill mounting holes for the threaded rods, then redrill at a slightly up or down angle, so that the inner part of the hole had more volume, then fill the holes with fast setting epoxy and shove the rods in, holding in place while the epoxy sets up. In the building trades, anchor bolts are routinely installed in concrete using a similar method. Has anybody ever done this? Anyone got a better way?

-- Tom

7 comments so far

View Gpops's profile


248 posts in 3590 days

#1 posted 08-05-2012 07:26 PM

Can you drill all the way through? Use rod couplings to extend your threaded rod then nut and washer behind. Nuts and washers would then be accessible for tightening in the closet if needed later. Don

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3034 days

#2 posted 08-05-2012 09:31 PM

Thread locking compound will really help, something like “Loktite” will keep the nut from loosening over time.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Tomw's profile


102 posts in 3373 days

#3 posted 08-06-2012 01:07 PM

Thanks, I think I’ll use both of those suggestions. Drilling a straight hole through 8” of plywood will be tricky, but I think if I clamp a straight guide to the rail I can eyeball it pretty well.

Thanks again for your suggestions!

-- Tom

View Grumpymike's profile


2310 posts in 2461 days

#4 posted 08-06-2012 05:01 PM

You could mount the rails to another strip of matching wood, then mount to the frame letting the rails stand a bit proud. This would avoid drilling through the sides. just a thought.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Tomw's profile


102 posts in 3373 days

#5 posted 08-06-2012 05:22 PM

Thanks, Mike. That’ll be my backup plan if i screw up drilling the holes…

-- Tom

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2627 days

#6 posted 06-03-2013 05:13 AM

Very cool idea and build. I say ditch the handle and go Tarzan with vines and ropes and water slide for a way down.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View Gary's profile


1313 posts in 4470 days

#7 posted 08-25-2018 03:54 PM

If I had to do this I would roughly use your idea of drilling a nut access from the side.
I would make a full scale mock-up of the rail and practice.
Some beds use a similar technique and the nut is square. If you can find a square nut, once you get it tight, you could cut slices sized to prevent movement (loosening).
Make the bolt hole cover removable.

-- Gary, Florida

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