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How would you make these stair treads?

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Forum topic by ToddJB posted 08-04-2016 06:25 PM 1419 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ToddJB

6921 posts in 1597 days


08-04-2016 06:25 PM

Okay, so my GC just came back to me saying that the quote to make these custom treads was $1200. That is not going to happen. So I’m going to make them.

If you have any experience with this, I’d love to glean from it.

This is how they currently sit. The risers are currently just 1/8” ply that have been wrapped around, that doesn’t seem good enough to me. Should there be 1/2” or 3/4” material skinned to the front of that? If so, what material would be best to use (the risers will be painted).

The treads themselves will be oak. I really don’t want to put miters in the treads – I’d rather the grain run all the same direction. Should I angle my grain from the two front edges like this:

My thought is that shouldn’t expose too much end grain.

And my last question is the bull nose front. In my mind the easiest way to make that would be to get the treads in and fitted, and then use a half round bit with a bearing that rides on the riser, but I’m not seeing a bit that fits that bill. Is there one? Or is there another simpler way that I’m not think of?

Any and all advice here is welcome.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built


39 replies so far

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JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#1 posted 08-04-2016 06:46 PM

Todd, you might think about PM’ing Tony_S I know he does stairs professionally at a really high level and is probably the best one to answer the questions.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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ToddJB

6921 posts in 1597 days


#2 posted 08-04-2016 06:53 PM

OOOHHHH. Nice. Thanks JayT. Will do.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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John_G

160 posts in 2158 days


#3 posted 08-04-2016 06:57 PM

OK so here are just my random thoughts on this….
Risers:
-definitely need to be something beefier, i’m thinking based on the tightness of the bend you could use either bendy plywood (yes it’s a thing) just just laminate a few layers of thinner plywood, gluing and screwing it together.
-If the risers were going to be something non plywood you’d be talking laminating multiple this strips together again around a form.

Treads:
-I agree with your running the grain in that direction
-If you have to join multiple boards together do it via the long grain not the end grain. Probably biscut along the long grain every 6-8” making a super wide board. make a carboard template or masonite and fit that then cut the oak to that.

-- John Gray

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KelvinGrove

1408 posts in 1379 days


#4 posted 08-04-2016 07:10 PM

“This is how they currently sit. The risers are currently just 1/8” ply that have been wrapped around, that doesn’t seem good enough to me. Should there be 1/2” or 3/4” material skinned to the front of that?”

I assume that the tread will be sitting directly on top of the OSB we see? If so, the strength comes from what ever is under the OSB. If it is well framed then the riser does not need to be able to provide any support. If it is NOT well framed then my next question would be, what holds up the back even if the riser to its front is beefed to support the weight?

“If so, what material would be best to use (the risers will be painted).”

Poplar takes paint better than any other wood.

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

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KelvinGrove

1408 posts in 1379 days


#5 posted 08-04-2016 07:28 PM

How about a series of these across the front? Lots of strength and a good visual effect

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

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ToddJB

6921 posts in 1597 days


#6 posted 08-04-2016 07:38 PM

John, thanks. A lot of that makes sense to me.

Tim, I’m not worried about the riser adding vertical strength. The stairs are made up of a lot of 2x, 3/4” OSB, and will have 1” of oak on top. They’ll be plenty vertically strong. I was more concern about putting my boot through the front of the riser if it was only 1/8 ply.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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bhog

2234 posts in 2157 days


#7 posted 08-04-2016 07:43 PM

Your grain running will work. Make a template and use that when you choose locations for biscuits or dominoes so when you cut your arch you don’t end up exposing an eye sore.

I’d use a half round with bearing and do top and bottom of your front to make your bullnose before you install.

I’d put another layer of 1/4 on the risers personally because they’re going to get kicked a lot.

-- I don't drive a Prius.

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JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#8 posted 08-04-2016 07:46 PM

What kind of flooring are you going to have in the kitchen? Reason I ask is that the grain direction works for not exposing end grain, but if you are going to have hardwood floors, it might look funny to have the grain of the floor running a different direction than the stairs.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

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ToddJB

6921 posts in 1597 days


#9 posted 08-04-2016 07:51 PM


Your grain running will work. Make a template and use that when you choose locations for biscuits or dominoes so when you cut your arch you don t end up exposing an eye sore.

Never would have thought about that. Awesome. Thanks

I d use a half round with bearing and do top and bottom of your front to make your bullnose before you install.

Do you mean round over with a bearing?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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KelvinGrove

1408 posts in 1379 days


#10 posted 08-04-2016 07:56 PM


Tim, I m not worried about the riser adding vertical strength. The stairs are made up of a lot of 2x, 3/4” OSB, and will have 1” of oak on top. They ll be plenty vertically strong. I was more concern about putting my boot through the front of the riser if it was only 1/8 ply.

- ToddJB

That makes a lot more sense then. I think half inch or even 3/4 poplar, or even birch plywood, scored to bend in place would do it.

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

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bhog

2234 posts in 2157 days


#11 posted 08-04-2016 07:58 PM


Do you mean round over with a bearing?

- ToddJB

Yes sir. I’m tired lol

-- I don't drive a Prius.

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ToddJB

6921 posts in 1597 days


#12 posted 08-04-2016 08:02 PM

JayT, floor will run like this:

The top tread (3) will be much smaller and just cap the 2.25” oak floor planks.

I was under the impression it wasn’t weird at all to have the tread’s grain running a different direction than the floor.

Maybe I’m wrong?

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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ToddJB

6921 posts in 1597 days


#13 posted 08-04-2016 08:26 PM

Also should the riser rest on the lower tread, like this?

Or should it butt up against it?

The former would be a lot easier to get a nice finished look.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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JayT

4786 posts in 1678 days


#14 posted 08-04-2016 08:31 PM

Having the grain running different directions would look weird to me, but it’s not my house. (And maybe I’m the weird one). On an installation without curves, I would have the grain follow the direction of the stair tread, even if that didn’t line up with the floor. It’s the curve that’s throwing me. The only way to have long grain running around would be to segment the curve, but then you have joints where the grain won’t line up or you have to bend the wood.

On risers, the way you have it drawn is the normal way of running them with the riser resting on, and covering the gap at the rear of, the tread below.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View splatman's profile

splatman

563 posts in 866 days


#15 posted 08-04-2016 08:37 PM

For the risers:
Use multiple layers of thin plywood laminated together for a total thickness of at least ½”. Overenthusiastic toes will take a toll on anything thinner. Poplar dents too easily. Scored wood is not much stronger than a single thin layer of wood. It is essentially a thin piece of wood with fins on the back.

For the treads:
Do a bent lamination of strips of oak that follows the curve on the curved section and run straight on the straight section. No exposed endgrain, no grain running in funny directions, and no miters. It is totally fine to have grain parallel to the treads regardless the floor grain direction.

Make the lamination thicker than needed, then plane to the correct thickness. Run the lamination thru the planer curved end first, turning them as they go. Thread #1 might be a bit tricky to plane this way if you only have a 12” or 13” planer, due to its tight curve. Cut a piece of cardboard to match and slide it through your planer (w/ planer turned off) to see if this will work. Also make the lamination 2+” longer on each end to take any snipe. Trimming to length will take care of the snipe.

Once planing is done, rout the nosing to the desired profile.

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