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Forum topic by mdbohica posted 02-17-2010 01:39 PM 1131 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 3043 days

02-17-2010 01:39 PM

Hello all again,

One of my future projects will be to upgrade the stairs in my home. They are currently carpet over plywood or chipboard. My plan is to make the treads and risers and am able to screw them to the current structure from underneath. I want them to be a nice cherry color and will be finishing them with Waterlox. My issue is what wood to use to build them. They will be about 10 inches wide and 3/4 thick. I don’t think red oak or cherry will hold up. So what do you think as to my wood selection? I will be making 14 steps and risers.



8 replies so far

View KMJohnson's profile


165 posts in 3017 days

#1 posted 02-17-2010 01:41 PM

Big project.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View nailbanger2's profile


1041 posts in 3139 days

#2 posted 02-17-2010 01:49 PM

Red oak will hold up fine, as long as there aren’t any big dogs that like to run up an down them.

-- Wish I were Norm's Nephew

View JdCustomfurniture's profile


13 posts in 3017 days

#3 posted 02-17-2010 02:08 PM

I agree with Nailbanger2 red oak will be fine but also white oak would be harder but more $. You could even use hard maple it would stain more like cherry and hold up just fine. Hope this helps and good luck.

-- Whatever you do,work at it with all your heart,as working for the lord,not for men. ( Colossians 3:23 )

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 3277 days

#4 posted 02-17-2010 03:06 PM

If you do just cover the current stairs with 3/4” stock you’ll end up with different rises at the top and bottom of the stairs. This is dangerous and should never be done. If you do it, expect some falls, broken ankles or worse.

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 3431 days

#5 posted 02-17-2010 03:19 PM

Red oak should be fine.

lwllms, makes a very good point, 3/4” is quite a difference, and should be avoided if possible… Thats what makes the stair building a tricky skill anytime there are any small differences, one can definetly tell.
but I guess if its just in the family who is using the steps… you know that there is a shorter and longer parts of the steps.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View millmgr's profile


27 posts in 3108 days

#6 posted 02-17-2010 03:34 PM

I did a similar project about six years ago. I removed carpet from the stairs in a raised ranch. The stairs were site built from 2x stock. I made red oak treads 10-1/2” wide with a piece of 5/4×3-1/2 bullnose landing tread edge glued and buiscuted to 3/4 stock. That made the tread look like 5/4 but added 3/4”. First I covered the riser with 1×8 S4S, then added the tread with the bullnose extending 1-3/4”. The rabbet in the landing tread sat snug over the riser and I scribed the back of the tread to fit. I added the same landing tread at the top and installed 3/4 flooring on the landing to keep the rise the same. There was a rise difference in the bottom as there is a slab below, but we have had no issues yet. I used a flooring finish on the whole thing called “Street Shoe” that I had used on the floors in the rest of the house. It is a two part water based finish that is used in commercial applications that has stood up to a family of six and a dog.

View mdbohica's profile


26 posts in 3043 days

#7 posted 02-18-2010 03:24 AM

I have found a local supplier for CHEAP white oak, so that is what I will be going with for the wood, I cannot turn down this kind of deal. He wants $1.50 a b/f for it and its clean with no knots. So, my next issue is staining. What do you all think. I want to get it to something like a dark cherry color.


View BTKS's profile


1986 posts in 3460 days

#8 posted 02-18-2010 08:36 AM

If you have a choice and the supplier is good with it, try for all quartersawn if possible. You’ll end up with consistent grain and minimal movement along with a little better wear. Good luck, sounds like a fun project. BTKS

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

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