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Stairway to hell

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Project by Sodabowski posted 05-18-2013 11:24 PM 2073 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi Jocks :)

I’m back from the mountains, with a GREAT LOT of work done at last. We finally managed to kick mom’s dirtware out of the workshop and can now use it as it should be – to build tools on my side, and for furniture restoration on daddy’s side. Consecutively I have at last been able to start building the carcasses of the two fake cabinets for my bedroom (which will be featured in a full post this summer, check the blog for a post on the progress).

So I spent the better part of the first two weeks prepping the basement with ‘pa, which involved heavy armed concrete breaking (the opening was too short for full stairs, only 1 meter long by 80 cm large) and the construction of stairs which double as shelves. Mom has accumulated a huge collection of totally useless kitchenalia, among which so many plates, glasses and dishes that we could certainly open a restaurant… so to hell they went, but I kept two compartments for my own use – one for my liquors and a hidden compartment under the two bottom stairs for all the electronics that will run the basement’s air controlling.

I also managed to kick the sis outta her bedroom and have her help out with the cutting of the rather heavy pine boards for the staircase. Having watched so many NYWS episodes with her, she was really pleased to finally be able to put her hands in the dirt and cut some lumber on the table saw with big bro (and she found a lot of funny critters in the wood grain and drew over them with a pencil as you can see by the second picture ;)

This was done in the outdoor garage (the shop has been completely emptied after the basement was complete) then disassembled and built back for keeps in the basement.

Construction is pretty straightforward but it took me four different plans to actually get the right combination of stair depth, total length vs available height, and strength. The stairs themselves are made in blocks of two, with the grain running parallel to the ground on the side rails which double as supports for the stairs (mind you I didn’t manage to get pictures of the installed staircase for lack of space in the basement and distance for my widest angle camera lens – next time) but each one of the steps that remain open in these pictures actually have another supporting block on each side with the grain running perpendicular to the ground: I designed this thing to be rock-solid, and it certainly is, with endgrain support whereever it’s needed and long grain rails everywhere. Each pair of stairs is dadoed into the longest adjacent vertical support and screwed to the endgrain of the shorter, the rails are screwed and the joint between two steps on each pair gets the full treatment: glue, screws AND dowels into endgrain supports. This thing isn’t breaking anytime soon.

The fifth picture shows the whole stuff ready to get down to the basement and be installed. I’ll shoot the finished thing in details next time this summer, time was short and I wanted things to move fast so I didn’t bring the DSLR to the basement. I was too busy taxiing granny around (93) in the wheelbarrow as you can see ;)

More pictures of the construction in the blog post :)
And oh, if you guys want the plans for this bulky stuff, do chime in!

-- Holy scrap Barkman!





16 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

11489 posts in 1761 days


#1 posted 05-18-2013 11:42 PM

They certainly look strong enough to withstand the weight of two men and a tablewsaw ;)

Looks like ya had a lot of good fun with the family buddy. The wheel barrell pic with grandma is priceless.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1588 days


#2 posted 05-19-2013 12:32 AM

We had such a blast doing that part, she even disguised as you can see here ;) mom took the pictures, she kinda failed them but anyway we had such a great time fooling around :D

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

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chrisstef

11489 posts in 1761 days


#3 posted 05-19-2013 12:37 AM

Ive been hoodwinked !!

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1588 days


#4 posted 05-19-2013 12:41 AM

^ likee! :D

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112943 posts in 2332 days


#5 posted 05-19-2013 12:52 AM

Well Thomas
A good effort and a unique way to make stairs, but it looks like the treads are very small and the rise looks very high for an elderly person making them down right dangerous . Please excuse this comment but as a contractor of 25+years these stairs do not come close to meeting code were I live. I only bring this up so others might not think this is the correct way to make stairs. Sorry about that.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1588 days


#6 posted 05-19-2013 01:13 AM

I know this looks quite steep but by the time I’ll post the finished and installed thing you’ll see that it is actually the same than the commercially available stairs we had been shown at the stores: the steps are 20 cm deep and 20 cm high each, with a width of 60 cm. I reproduced the exact step height that we have in the stairs going to the bedrooms and only adjusted the stair width.
Bear in mind that the pictures here lack several reinforcing pieces that I didn’t have the time to shoot. The main factor was the size of the basement and I had to build upon that.

Grandma, who is 93, got down and up in and out of the basement without any problem or fear (the side ramp wasn’t installed yet) and actually found it way better than the metalic commercial ladder my grandfather had installed in their own basement.

As for sturdiness, this is 22 mm thick heart pine and it’s really strong. I attached it to the concrete walls with huge bolts too, and it doesn’t move at all. I left a 1 cm clearance to the front to let it expand a little because this is wood, even though I built it taking wood expansion and contraction into consideration, but I really doubt that any of my rails will expand at all.

But I sure understand that, as someone making a living building such items, you can have concerns about what you see here, with crappy warped iPhone pictures and little visibility on grain orientation, joinery, and actual dimensions.

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112943 posts in 2332 days


#7 posted 05-19-2013 01:48 AM

Thomas a standard for treads here are 30cm (11”) deep and a maximum of(8”) 20cm high for the rise.I’m glad there are more suports than what’s show in the photos. I’m just concerned,I’m not trying to give you a hard time. Sounds like your Grandma is one amazing lady.

If any one else needs info on how to build stairs this is a more traditional way to do it.

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20046225,00.html

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1588 days


#8 posted 05-19-2013 09:46 AM

She is indeed, you should see her litterally jump across the patches in her groceries garden :)

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

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Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1588 days


#9 posted 05-19-2013 09:46 AM

In any case, better to have stairs with a 45° rise angle than a mere ladder with a 60° rise angle!

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3671 posts in 1267 days


#10 posted 05-19-2013 11:11 AM

Very nice set of stairs.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View bold1's profile

bold1

155 posts in 602 days


#11 posted 05-19-2013 01:00 PM

One way to put lower risers on steep angle steps is to run three stringers, with treads running from the center stringer to the outer on every other step. This allows twice as many steps in the same run area.

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5393 posts in 1597 days


#12 posted 05-19-2013 05:47 PM

More like a ships ladder than a stair case. Have a similar one in my shop that I built a few years ago. not thinking I would be old….er! LOL!

I REALLY LIKE the background wall facing of the building behind you guys.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

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Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1588 days


#13 posted 05-19-2013 07:02 PM

That’s the workshop entrance :) the parents’ house is an old farm ;)

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

View DocSavage45's profile

DocSavage45

5393 posts in 1597 days


#14 posted 05-19-2013 07:30 PM

Did you add it?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Sodabowski's profile

Sodabowski

2082 posts in 1588 days


#15 posted 05-20-2013 11:15 AM

Nop the previous owner did. I added the one facing that building, which you can see here

-- Holy scrap Barkman!

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