Bull Nosed Stair Construction

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by DufferDIY, Mar 13, 2018.

  1. DufferDIY

    DufferDIY Member

    I'm planning to replace my newel and handrail at some point this year and I've been having a look at the construction but I'm a bit puzzled about the bottom. It's a 70s build and put in to do the job rather than to look nice.

    I'm almost certain that the stringer is joined to the newel by a tenon joint and secured with three nails. The newel sits on the floorboard and definitely doesn't go through. Riser 2 and tread 2 look to be rebated into the inside face of the newel. Where I'm uncertain is how the bull nosed tread 1 was fitted. It seems to me that the stairs were constructed from tread 2 upwards and the first step added on afterwards.

    Can anyone confirm my tentative investigations, or even point me to a typical set of diagrams?
  2. big all

    big all Screwfix Select

    yes fairly standard construction
    normally you cut the newel at a point above the string dependent on parts and drill to fix a large dowel
    look up stair parts or ritchard burbridge[spelling ??]
  3. goldenboy

    goldenboy Well-Known Member

    I really try to steer customers these days on stair refurbs towards painted newels with oak handrails and spindles. Its a lot more cost and time effective and personally I reckon it looks better.

    I tend to use either Burbidge or Stairplan for stairparts. I tend to collect off Stairplan as their delivery costs are eyewatering! £100 flat rate!
    Jord86 likes this.
  4. Jord86

    Jord86 Well-Known Member

    Your description sounds quite accurate and in line with staircase construction, but you can post a pic or two on here so we can confirm it you like? As the other guys have said, Richard Burbidge is a good supplier and source of information, you can try Jeld-Wen for diagrams and instructions too.

    +1 for painted newels, though I prefer the spindles painted too, but with oak handrail and oak newel caps (flat, not round). Having fitted Ash handrail once a few years ago rather than oak, I can say I thought they were a stunning contrast, and I actually prefer it to oak, but haven't fitted any since :(
  5. goldenboy

    goldenboy Well-Known Member

    I think like with oak doors in painted frames and solid floor with painted skirtings the contrast makes the difference.

    My thoughts are if you had a work of art would you hang it in a frame painted the same as the canvas?
  6. Jord86

    Jord86 Well-Known Member

    Quite agree, you can have too much of a good thing, and then when it all blends together you wonder why they've just spent an absolute fortune on particular hardwoods when nothing is really made a feature of, or stands out.
  7. DufferDIY

    DufferDIY Member

    I'm guessing removing the newel and replacing it in it's entirety, is a technically more challenging job then.
  8. Jord86

    Jord86 Well-Known Member

    Yes, it very usually is, as the first couple of treads are normally glued, screwed or nailed into housings cut into the newel, though it's easier to replace a ground floor newel than an upstairs one. You can cut the post off approximately 8 inches up from your bottom tread(though it depends on the replacement's size) drill a hole in the centre and fit a new newel with a spigot, but obviously the base of the original one will still be on show, so a bit pointless unless you're planning to paint it.
  9. DufferDIY

    DufferDIY Member

    I can certainly see how cutting and dowelling would be much simpler, and certainly a job well within my capabilities.

    I've only taken a cursory glance at newels up to now, but spotted most are 90mm. Naturally, mine is 70mm. So, if I choose a 90, I either have to replace it entirely accepting the significant extra upheaval, or pack out the 70mm base to 90mm, fill and paint. Or limit choice to match the existing dimensions.
  10. goldenboy

    goldenboy Well-Known Member

    With 70mm newels are they straddling the string or are they (as is very common) fixed to the side of the string?
    And what is the current layout of the spindles or rails. Are the rails running post to post or are they side fixed?
  11. DufferDIY

    DufferDIY Member

    Stringer and newel are mortice & tennon and the rails side fixed from newel to newel. Very 70s

  12. Jord86

    Jord86 Well-Known Member

    The simplest way of improving the appearance provided the ranch style planks are removed is to run a 1/4 inch router with a chamfer bit in the collect around the four sides, up from the bottom string roughly six inches and down from the top four inches, creating a stopped chamfered newel, which you could either buy chamfered spindles to match, or just plain square.

    Can you post a couple more pics, of the upstairs newel and landing arrangement? As that determines what your options are with the bottom newel to provide a good finish.
    WillyEckerslike likes this.
  13. DufferDIY

    DufferDIY Member

    I haven't checked yet, but I have a suspicion that the bottom newel might be too short to square off and restyle. It's also bent; 12mm outwards and quite obvious once spotted.

    At the top.

    I was wondering how to do the return on the landing and came across:
    which I think is a good solution in terms of where the parts go.

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