How to measure and build a new staircase...

Discussion in 'Carpenters' Talk' started by Halfaudio, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    No problem with demand i don't take it to heart.
    I have a vertical and horizontal 360' laser level.
    I set up the laser took the level (height) from top of the flight and measured the distance from bottom of the flight till the lazer line as vertical as possible with a help of long bubble level.
    FFL to FFL 2640 wow ok i see why it is so important... I counted in laminate flooring but didn't count in the carpet and underlay from upstairs.
  2. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Yep, and so many don't do this and wonder why stairs won't fit, K, now I have this I will start on the elevations etc, these will take a while and I have a bit to do tomorrow but will try and get something back over early evening. you probably don't have a stair jig for routering out the tread and riser housing, I will try and get drawings out for that early tomorrow morning, this will keep you busy for a couple of hours, easily made and a lot cheaper than buying one.
    Halfaudio likes this.
  3. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    I think this will have to go in project map.
    I guess i will see you tomorrow then, i have spare materials actually one of my rooms is just for that and tools...
    I will buy a bigger L shape speed square and some brass stair/square gauges
  4. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Here are the dims for the stair jig, I show this with a removable nosing piece, you may not need to make it removable as just doing the one staircase, If you do get the solid jig wrong you can always make it removable to correct this afterwards.
    I would go with 19mm 3/4" material, so it is nice and firm.

    Stair jig outline.jpg
    Halfaudio likes this.
  5. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Another bit for you, this is the margin piece used for marking out the rise and goings onto the stringers, this will work alongside the pitch board, I have been a bit busy today so have not had the chance to get the elevations out but hopefully give you a few bits to do while I get my finger out.

    I have attached a drawing of the margin piece, a bit of 18mm MDF or anything will do for this, I have also attached a visual of the stringer, margin piece and pitch board to show where we are heading with this.

    I have lowered picture quality on some, as I think I may have been upsetting the servers.

    margin piece 1.jpg Margin piece dims.jpg
  6. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    Your were not the only one had a bit of delay today. I have 3 kids and they seek my attention as soon as i get busy (excuses) :)
    Bought 18mm plywood,cut out two pieces each from a corner 600mm & 400mm to have two straight cut sides and two just in case if i mess up i have another one.
    I will be honest i have never used that router it was just collecting dust.. Do any of those bits actually work for this job?
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  7. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Yes, the straight 1/2" will do the job, using a flat bit for getting the nosing nice and round works well.
    will catch up later have to dash again.
  8. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    That's quite the early. I don't quite grasp the jig measurements
  9. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Yes, that will work, it doesn't matter if these are loose as the wedges will take up any space, so slightly larger is best, slightly smaller the treads and risers won't fit in.
    I have added a couple more dims to help clarify, please do comment on anything I miss as I am using you as a guinea pig for training videos etc.

    If not on the road by 5:30 forget going into London.

    Stair jig dims.jpg
    Jord86 and Halfaudio like this.
  10. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    Yes this makes a lot more sense now but i figured that much out just from staring at it. For like two hours.... :D anyway..
    The bullnose part has to be very precise i must include the offset distance in it?
    What size of Rounding over bit is necessary for the 27mm smooth nosing?
    I see most people use 12mm straight fluted cutter but more advanced "masters" so to say use 16mm stair housing dovetail cutter why so and what are the benefits?

    I bought these otherwise the ones i got will not reach that deep to cut the stringer. (Picture on the right shows too short to do any work..)

  11. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Bullnose - yes this does have to be precise as with all visible face edges, top of tread and riser face.

    Offset distance - yes this has to be added on when making the jig, the easiest way to get this dimension accurately is to set up a straight edged piece of timber onto some scrap material and run the router along the straight edge cutting into the scrap material and then measure the distance between the edge of straight edge and edge of the cut.

    Rounding over bit - as close to half the thickness of the tread as possible ideally 13.5mm but 13 or 1/2" will be close enough as this can be cheated when dressing in the nosing.

    12mm fluted cutter - this is fine, just needs a few more passes and slightly slower cutting rate to prevent chatter, the dovetail cutters are not ideal as the glue contact face is removed, the reason a lot of "joiners" say use these is it allows the thin edge of timber that is left to be pushed or squashed out of the way closing any gaps that may be in the meeting faces. The only time this is really helpful is when squashing the nosing into place, as mentioned in "we can cheat this" above, for the nosing a gouge is used once the housing has been routed out and the treads are being fitted.

    dovetail stringer housing.jpg

    I bought these - Perfect.
    Halfaudio likes this.
  12. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    I feel like that jig is way too big! The wedges will be massive? I am most likely drawing it wrong? On my old staircase they were 15mm at the wides end.
    Made the margin piece as straight as i possibly could. I mostly struggle with the jig for some reason.


    Forgot to mention that i will have to wait for them screwfix bits till saturday for some odd reason.
    I will need to glue together the stringers. Because i was silly and bought all the wood 2 months ago i didn't realise that they will need to be wider

    The stringer wood i have is 44x215 and it looks like they are not wide enough...

    And this is the riser i think the size is decent on that one 20x215 .. Wouldn't want to glue those as welll.
    If i will need to glue more then i thought what is the process? Pva,t bar clamps (couple,including very wide ones for the winder part), wooden dowels and a bit that centers it so it is easier to drill and glue them straight. I know the surfaces have to match without a gap so there is no extra tension between boards when clamped together.
    I might need to sort it out before i carry on with other things an i need to pull the boards inside for couple days before the work starts (hopefully):rolleyes:
  13. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    By all means, reduce the jig to 5ยบ.

    The stringers ideally around 275mm +, I will do the maths on this probably tomorrow, been a mad week this week.

    The easiest way to joint the treads is with a biscuit jointer, anther option is to tongue them together, dowels will work but you will have to jig up to keep the boards level. Once jointed a quick clean up with a belt sander will flatten them nicely.

    Yes, let the wood acclimatise to indoor heat as much as possible, you will find it probably moves and you may get shakes appearing, these can then be cut out before glueing up for the treads.

    A few sash clamps or t bar clamps will be ideal for glueing up the winders, 3 should be enough, just do one winder at a time. The clamps may also help when glueing the treads and risers into the stringers, in which case 4 will be best and wide enough for the flights, so min 1M opening.

    Boards plenty big enough for the risers.

    PVA Is great, just make sure it is a good one, some a thin and really runny. if not sure most places stock Evo stick, keep it indoors as the cold totally knackers it. worth buying a pot rather than a bottle, grab a 1" paint brush to apply it with, cheap and chearfull will work to this.
    Incase I forget to mention it later, when glueing always glue both mating faces.
    Halfaudio likes this.
  14. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Question time!
    you noted earlier that you would like a 20mm nosing, is this still the case? traditional is that the nosing projects by the thickness of the tread, so 27 mm thick tread, 27mm projection.

    Are you having the scotia moulding to the underside of the nosing?

    Scotia or no scotia.jpg

    To answer your question with this. The nosing is not part of the calculations and purely decorative as far as building stairs is concerned, so just an add on in front of the riser line which help increase the tread size.

    Do you use any sort of cad software?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  15. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    Sorry i was busy sorting out my shed for winter and because i need to pull all the boards inside i need more space for tomorrow (wife is not happy with this new change :D)
    27mm projection (nosing) seems fine. I am not sure about the moulding i have seen it somewhere before but it was purely to mask mistakes i could not find any image with decent looking mouldings under the nosing i guess it can be added at any point anyway!?

    I am looking at the biscuit jointers (used) as i wont be needing it most likely after this.Can a dowelling jig with wooden dowels or rods be used as an alternative? It looks like it could take more time and the hole drilling might not be as accurate with the dowel method?

    I have looked in them softwares before but never really used one before and they can be expensive as well. You wanted to send the completed image so i can access it with that software is that why you were asking? Or i am talking nonsense here.?

    I will be using these boards as stair treads cutting,gluing and shaping them should be a problem they could be cheaper as i need i few more.
    They serve a different purpose at the moment...
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2020
  16. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Just to clarify, are you on about gluing the strings together to widen them for the turn, or gluing the treads together to deepen enough for the going?
  17. Halfaudio

    Halfaudio Active Member

    Treads for the winders as they need to be wider and follow the wood patern.
    Stringers to widen them
  18. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    Yes, that was the idea, I can send images though, just if I miss any dim's you want you could check if I'm not about or if you wanted to view in 3d.
    I use rhino3d you can download this for free as an evaluation version, full working copy for 90 days, after that it won't save but everything else still works.

    I have attached a couple of files,
    1. Commode curtail, this will allow you to look at a model in a web browser.
    2. Stair jig model. This is a Rhino file of the stair jig if your felling brave.

    I have had to zip them to be able to upload as these file types are not permitted here.

    I am working on your full model and hope to have it complete for tomorrow.

    Ref: dowels, check out this company called screwfix, you may have heard of them! They do a biscuit jointing kit for routers, may be cheaper than buying the machine.

    Attached Files:

  19. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Biscuit joint the treads or hire a festool domino jointer although that's quite top end, as SMUN mentioned you could cut a slot and fit a loose tenon, with joining the strings together you can just glue the two mating edges with Polyurethane glue and clamp together with sash clamps, as they will be housed out to accept the treads and risers they will lock together without fixings being as the treads and risers will secure to the two halves of the string, though if you have a biscuit jointer it wouldn't hurt to pop a couple in as it makes it easier to keep them flush.
    Halfaudio likes this.
  20. SoManyUserNames

    SoManyUserNames Active Member

    The scotia molding is very traditional and you would have had it on your original staircase, this was originally used to give extra glueing area when fitting the risers, many people use quadrant to cover gaps! yes, used to cover bodges 90% of the time.
    If you look at the commode curtail model, you will see the molding on there, these would have been made as a complete tread with the molding run around the outside, this molding plate would sit under the top tread.
    But you can decide at any time to have this or not.

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