LumberJocks

Jointery for Oak Stairway

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by kitsrball posted 08-19-2008 11:17 AM 1733 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View kitsrball's profile

kitsrball

7 posts in 2260 days


08-19-2008 11:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: stairways

Hi Gang, I have an upcoming project for a friend: installing an oak stairway over an old carpeted stairway. The good news, although I’ve done it before, is all the ballisters, newels, and side molding are already in and they are to the side, not mounted in each step. Even better, the stairway I’m retrofitting in oak was carpeted and upon removing the carpeting there is a sound, solid looking staircase with no lip/nosing. Here are the questions and concerns:
1. The oak to be used is all 4/4 lumber (3/4”) thickness, either 1×6 or 1×8 stock. The treads, I know, are normally 1” thick. I planned on gluing a 1/4”x 1” strip to the leading edge of each tread to give it a 1” look, then routing a bullnose on the leading edge. Does this sound like a viable option?? The risers are to be of the same 4/4 stock for strength and stability.
2. I have not installed a full stairway before and I’m not sure of the best type of jointery to use for each step/riser/landing boards. Each step is 46” W x 10 1/2” D. Risers are 7 1/2” high. The mid-landing is 8’ W x 4’ D. For the steps I plan on a simple 11/16” rabet joint at the base of each riser and fit the tread into it. The 1/4” of lip on the tread (from the glued 1/4” strip, above) should make a snug fit at the front. Does this sound viable or are there better joints to use??
3. The mid-landing (the stairs reverse 1/2 way up) joints are another matter. I plan on a 1×4 edging with 1×6 strips in the middle. I am vacillating between biscuit joints or using a glue joint done with a router. I have a good 6” jointer for straight edges and a router table for making the glue joint. For stability, I think the extra trouble with the glue joint is better, but for ease of use, the biscuit joint might be the way to go. What’s your experience in this? Is there another, better way??
4. Finally, I plan on using trim-head screws in pre-drilled holes for much of the installation, both for neatness and making a secure installation. I would plug ea hole. Also, the floor boards will have sub-floor adhesive under to eliminate squeaks. Any other, better techniques?

5. Of note, I plan on using Gorilla Glue for all glued joints. Is this over-kill?
Thanks!!

That’s about it. Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Of course, I will be taking pictures of it all as I progress thru the installation.

-- Kit, Arizona


10 replies so far

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 2478 days


#1 posted 08-19-2008 02:34 PM

Here’s what I do: Buy stair parts. It’s usually cheaper and involves a lot less time. And if you have exposed ends on the treads, they will have mitered returns on them already. I usually put all the treads down with construction adhesive and finish nails and a good wood glue for the joints is usually sufficient. Good luck.

-- Tony, Ohio

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15706 posts in 2906 days


#2 posted 08-19-2008 02:52 PM

I’m a little confused. Are you putting the new treads on top of the old ones?

As for the Gorilla glue, if you are talking about traditional Gorilla glue, and not their new wood glue, I personally would not want to deal with the foaming issue in an application where water resistance was not a factor.

I’m also a bit skeptical about your plan to glue nosing onto the front of the treads. I know a good glue joint should be stronger than wood, but thinking of the constant stress placed on those joints as folks go up and down the stairs would just make me a little nervous.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View reluctant's profile

reluctant

21 posts in 2443 days


#3 posted 08-19-2008 04:50 PM

I’m actually in the process of installing steps ontop of construction stairs which used to have carpet. I purchased stair treads (which really are just laminated 1inch thick pieces), which I then trimmed to the exact size. I then used Bostik’s Best to glue down the treads and used screws near the back which will be covered by a riser (mine are just painted poplar). I’ve heard of some folks rabbiting the treads to accept the riser, but I did not do that… though I’m sure it would result in a stronger staircase. Between the adhesive and screws I think the treads will stay in place just fine. I used simple finishing nails to hold in the risers. I think that the most important part was making sure that the base is flat, not squeeky, and all of the paint or whatever has been sanded off. One other thing is when glueing down the tread to make sure you use glue which is elastic and doesn’t contain water… I know that Bostik Best and Roberts 1408 will work.

View kitsrball's profile

kitsrball

7 posts in 2260 days


#4 posted 08-19-2008 05:28 PM

I know the treads are available & pre-made, but the lumber is already bought. Thanks Tony, I’ve got to use what I’m given. I will back off of the Gorilla Glue, Charlie, for all the normal edge-to-edge stuff. What I start with are construction stairs. I’m not gluing nosing on the oak, I’m laminating a 1/4” x 1” layer on the bottom side that projects below the tread, for appearance. I like your idea, reluctant, of the hidden screws at the back side of the treads and using good elastic glue under each one. Finishing nails should suffice for the rest.
What about the landing area? Biscuit joints or glue joints? I’m leaning towards biscuit joints.

-- Kit, Arizona

View reluctant's profile

reluctant

21 posts in 2443 days


#5 posted 08-19-2008 06:47 PM

I also have a landing. What I am doing is using your everyday solid hardwood flooring; 3/4 inch thick and tongue and grooved. I installed that using standard methods. To fit into it I have a piece which is mostly 3/4inch but has a 1inch thick bullnose on one side and a groove on the other. I haven’t done it yet, but I plan to fit the groove into the edge tongue on the rest of the floor and face nail it into place (I might use some glue here as well, but I am nervous about raising the height and having it not be flush with the flooring). Since you already have the wood buying flooring is probably out. I don’t have enough experience to have a preference between biscuit joints and a glued joint… I’m very much a novice at woodworking.

View kitsrball's profile

kitsrball

7 posts in 2260 days


#6 posted 08-20-2008 03:00 AM

Thanks Reluctant, I’m going to practice with a few scrap pieces 1st to see about the difficulties and advantages of each. I, too, hope to face nail the pieces as I go along, similar to T&G full thickness flooring. I’m not a novice, but am treading on new ground.

-- Kit, Arizona

View Quixote's profile

Quixote

206 posts in 2326 days


#7 posted 08-20-2008 03:53 AM

Kit,
I just did a stair rebuild for a log cabin. (Check my projects, about three sets of pics.)

One issue I’ve had to consider when adding to the height is that you are going to end up changing your rise on your first step and your last step to the top landing.

3/4” isn’t much but it will change the rythm and cause a stumble at the top or bottom.

I’d recommend cutting a few pieces of plywood or scrap and do a mock up installation then walk the stairs before you start cutting your oak. That way if you find an issue you can modify your plans.

Be prepared to remove your utility treads and install the oak instead, that way you are pleasantly suprised if you can get away with simply adding on top of the existing…

If your stairs are squeaking now, you may need to resolve that before you start adding the oak.

Just my random thoughts, good luck with your project and keep us posted.

Q

-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View Quixote's profile

Quixote

206 posts in 2326 days


#8 posted 08-20-2008 04:06 AM

Post edit…

If you do use Gorilla Glue, do follow the instructions to wet the oak.

I didn’t on one of my last projects, and I had a gorilla glue failure. My own fault of course for not following the instructions, so … follow the instructions…

-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View kitsrball's profile

kitsrball

7 posts in 2260 days


#9 posted 08-20-2008 04:08 AM

Thanks Q, Great ideas. I like the mock run. (I’m an old navigator retiree). Squeaks will be checked. More later!!

-- Kit, Arizona

View reluctant's profile

reluctant

21 posts in 2443 days


#10 posted 08-20-2008 01:13 PM

Quixote (great name and I love the stairs!!) certainly is right about the height. It worked out just fine for me as I was adding 3/4 to the floor beneath the staircase as well, so the first and last step are only about 1/8 – 1/4 different than the others. I noticed the lack of rhythm first hand after the floor had been done below the steps, but the new steps had yet to be added… my wife said it “felt funny” to walk them.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase