Building Stairs (For Pros By Pros)

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by: Fine Homebuilding

Topics include: ladderlike sections, mitered stringer, steel post base, curve jig, curved riser, folding stairways, starting tread, sloping treads, riser stock, housed stringer, starting newel, finished stringers, disappearing stairways, stair gauges, stringer stock, dog screws, second riser, bending rail, tread support, bullnose trim, pitch block, folding stairs, riser cuts, level vial, story pole

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From Book News, Inc. Reprints 21 articles and accompanying color photographs published in Fine homebuilding magazine that illustrate how to measure, cut, and assemble straight, L-shaped, spiral, and curved stairways, whether inside or outside, and install railings, newel posts, skirtboards, and other trim. The final four articles address the special challenges presented by stringerless stairs and a folding attic stairway.Copyright Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Book Description -- Stairway design and construction is considered a cornerstone of homebuilding. To address this important topic, Building Stairs contains design, fabrication, and installation information for a wide variety of options, from simple, site-built utility staircases to elaborate spirals.

Stairbuilding advice from the experts -- Stairway design and construction is a cornerstone of homebuilding. This is where carpenters show off their skill in combining safe, solid construction with suitable dimensions, excellent craftsmanship, and (more often than not) impressive measures of ingenuity.
Even in the simplest of houses, building a stairway can be a complex project. That's why the editors of Fine Homebuilding magazine have compiled a selection of stair-building articles that covers a broad range of details relating to design, fabrication and installation. It's all here -- from simple, site-built utility staircases to elaborate spirals.
Written by the pros who actually do the work, these articles will help you to:

Master basic design, layout, and construction techniques
Build straight, L-shaped, spiral, and curved stairs
Install straight and curved railings
Install manufactured railings and balusters
Build railings and newel posts
Install a drop-down attic stairway
To get the best results when building or remodeling, you need advice from the best professionals in the business. For Pros by ProsŪ books bring together expert designers, builders, and remodeling pros who have written for Fine Homebuilding magazine.

Like gunslingers sizing each other up in a Hollywood Western, newly acquainted carpenters always want to know how good the other is. Inevitably, one poses the defining question: "Can you build stairs?"
The original meaning of the word "masterpiece" was work that a journeyman executed to prove that he had mastered his craft. For a house carpenter, no project combines the range of skills that stair building does. Even in a simple house, a staircase is complex thing. You have to calculate the size and number of steps carefully. You have to choose stout material for the structural members and cut them precisely. Then you have to bring a furniture maker's fussiness to the trim work because, in many homes, stairs are not just a practical conveyance -- a means of getting from one floor to the other -- they are also an architectural centerpiece.
Fortunately for all of us, you don't have to be a master carpenter to build a good staircase. But you do need to know what you're doing, which is where this book comes in. Collected here are 27 articles from back issues of Fine Homebuilding magazine. Written by experienced builders from all over the country, these articles cover everything from simple basement steps to exotic curved stairways. And as I did in the first edition of this book, I'll conclude with a word of caution. The building codes that govern stairs are changing all the time. And so not all of the projects featured here comply with current national codes. If you're building any staircase, be sure to check with your local building department. And remember, as Tracy Kidder wrote in his book House, "Stair-making carpenters are like school crossing guards or trainers of seeing-eye dogs. They take on one of society's small sacred trusts."
Kevin Ireton -- Editor in chief, Fine Homebuilding


Table of Contents

1. Basic Design and Construction
Cutting Out Basic Stairs
A Site-Built Stair
Using a Story Pole to Lay Out Stairs
Building an L-Shaped Stair
A Veteran Stairbuilder's Tools and Tips
A Quick Way to Build a Squeak-Free Stair

2. RAIlings, Newels, and Trim
Hanging a Wall Railing
Building a Custom Box Newel
Building Finish Stairs
Building an Exterior Newel Post
Installing Stair Skirtboards
Making a Bullnose Starting Step
Making a Curved Handrail
A Balustrade of Branches

3. Curved Stairways
A Freestanding Spiral Stair
Capping a Curved Stair Wall
Framing Curved Stairs on Site

4. SPecial Stairways
Cantilevered Stairway
A Stair in the Air
Disappearing Attic Stairways
A Staircase of Glass and Maple



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