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Forum topic by RossC23 posted 05-26-2015 08:20 PM 506 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RossC23

21 posts in 1181 days


05-26-2015 08:20 PM

Hey guys, I have a question. I’m about to start making some stair treads for myself and being that I like unique things in my house, I think I am going to make my treads in an end grain cutting board design. All hard maple. Does anyone see any problem in doing this? any stability or movement problems? I can’t see why there would be but thought I would ask some guys that know more than I do. any help is appreciated.


3 replies so far

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DrDirt

4169 posts in 3206 days


#1 posted 05-26-2015 08:25 PM

end grain isn’t strong enough for stair treads.

take a~6 inch wide 3/4 inch thick board of walnut or cherry and cut 3/4 inch off the end of it.
Then take the board and RIP a 3/4 wide strip 6 inches long..

take each strip and flex it…. the end grain will easily snap in two with thumb pressure.

There is little strength in that direction.

If you want that design, you whould need to cut it as a thin (1/4 inch thick) veneer and apply it to a 3.4 plywood backer (the plywood backing shouldn’t expand/contract so the end grain shoudl stay attached.)
A standard 36 inch wide tread should have a center stretcher to support the load.

Good luck
It will look awesome, but you need some “structure” underneath.

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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RossC23

21 posts in 1181 days


#2 posted 05-26-2015 08:29 PM

thanks very much Dr Dirt. that info is very helpful. how about if I laid 1/2” plywood underneath each tread? could I then go an inch or so thick?

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DrDirt

4169 posts in 3206 days


#3 posted 05-26-2015 09:52 PM


thanks very much Dr Dirt. that info is very helpful. how about if I laid 1/2” plywood underneath each tread? could I then go an inch or so thick?

- RossC23


I would be concerned that there isn’t enough ‘rigidity’ at 1/2 inch ply to prevent it from cracking… especially if you have ‘concentrated force’ applied, imagine that many go up a flight of stairs on the balls of their feet mostly… so if you have some 250 pound guy going up and down the stairs for literally years with the force concentrated on a portion of one foot on each tread… I don’t know what the magic thickness needs to be.
Also depends on support from below. If there were an additional stretcher underneath??

Consider many stair treads are 2 by material, so 1 1/2 inch thick Pine to carry the load without flexing.

Just wondering why you want to go an inch thick with the butcher block element, since you only see the top surface.
I would be making a 2+ inch thick block then ‘resawing’ it into 1/4 inch slices on the bandsaw… a 2 1/2 inch ‘plank’ can make ~8 treads max… suppose that depends if you want each tread to be unique, or if you have a pattern you want to replicate.

Think about perhaps a leading edge border so that when you are looking down at a flight of stairs, you can see where the treads stop and start. (otherwise it become the ‘leap from the lions head’ from Indiana Jones last crusade) a sea of mosaic with a handrail. :-)


-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

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