Staircase upgrade

General wood working tips, tricks and ideas. Anything that doesn't belong elsewhere can be discussed here.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:01 am

woodsmith wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:51 am
£746 for one small section of a handrail and 6 week delivery!
Well, if you're ever bored in retirement, Keith !! Sounds like a good market to me.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:35 pm

I want one if these ! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbKDks4uLKU

Does he remind you of Benny Hill ?
The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Sat Feb 20, 2021 12:51 pm

The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by woodsmith » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:50 pm

thatsnotafestool wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:01 am
woodsmith wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 8:51 am
£746 for one small section of a handrail and 6 week delivery!
Well, if you're ever bored in retirement, Keith !! Sounds like a good market to me.
I may be retired but fortunately I’ve been able to carry on working :D
Keith

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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:12 pm

Decision has been made.

Painted spindles - SWMBO has offered to paint them...result!

Handrail - made by me :o American walnut. This is the profile we're going for. Will need to get cutters made. Simple volute at the bottom.

Image
Image
Image

Hold on for the ride. :lol:
The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:57 pm

I'm starting to draw up the cutters required and have stalled. If you look at the top of the handrail in the LH photo, it looks wide relative to the overall width.

Image
Almost the entire width of the handrail.


And if you look at this next photo, then the vertical rounded mould looks relatively shallow in depth. Photo RH here

Image

So maybe overall width 75mm. Vertical radius projection 8-10mm maybe ?

But if you look at the width of the top in the RH photo below, it looks much narrower relative to the overall width.
Image

Optical illusion maybe ?

Any suggestions as to the overall aspect ratio of the handrail ? I'm thinking maybe 75 x 75mm
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by Meccarroll » Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:48 pm

thatsnotafestool wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 5:12 pm
Decision has been made.

Painted spindles - SWMBO has offered to paint them...result!

Handrail - made by me :o American walnut. This is the profile we're going for. Will need to get cutters made. Simple volute at the bottom.



Image

Hold on for the ride. :lol:
It may look like a "Simple volute" but if you draw it out, then bandsaw the two sections that make up the join into the main handrail (the wreathed turn) and put them together you may then think it's not so simple, I mean moulding the combination.

I would strongly suggest you try making the simple volute with wreathed section in a simpler moulded form first (make it so it matches your stairs in a simpler form first) to get an overall picture of what you are getting into. I think the volute section would be easier than the wreathed section on the quarter turn but it will give you an idea of the process. Walnut is expensive so try it in a less expensive wood first and try an easier mould to practice on. Good luck Roger.

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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by woodsmith » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:49 am

Rather than try to exactly copy an existing design why not create your own design using cutters that you have or are easily available.
Keith

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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Tue Feb 23, 2021 8:18 am

woodsmith wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:49 am
Rather than try to exactly copy an existing design why not create your own design using cutters that you have or are easily available.
I'd prefer (as would Chief Designer) to go for an authentic design that I can see. After all, it's only the cost of the cutters - which is minimal in the grand scheme of things. In any case, my cutter range isn't that useful - I already had a look !

It's just two cutters - one for the top and another for the side. Possible that the side could be done in two passes with standard cutters with the appropriate radii but for ease, simpler to get a cutter made up to do it in one pass.

The top is the trickier one to draw TBH as the curves are not from an arc as far as I can see. Quite flat as well. I've got one of those curly-wurly things somewhere. That might help.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Tue Feb 23, 2021 10:04 am

Project now officially on hold as I have no carving tools and everyone is out of stock of what I need. Covid? Brexit ? Both ? Technical term- c*ck.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:03 pm

I can't get my head around the problem at the bottom tread. It's to do with the level change required. At the quarter turn (photo below) it's not an issue as the handrail can sweep down and then gracefully curve into the line of the straight part for the bottom flight. It will feel right and more importantly, look right.
Image

But that won't work at the bottom, I don't think. The line of the stringer will continue all the way past the edge of the tread before the base rail would reach the level of the bottom tread.
Image

So I have to transition somehow from the slope on the stringer to the horizontal of the volute. It's a big jump.
Image

Even allowing for one more spindle, it's still a large jump.

Image

The only thing I can think of is to 'spindle down' the stringer as far as aesthetically it makes sense and then add extensions to the spindle bottoms on that support the volute so that they are level with the last spindle on the stringer.

Any other suggestions very gratefully received.

TIA
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by Meccarroll » Thu Feb 25, 2021 9:52 pm

You only need a handrail height of around 900mm from the pitch line on your flight Roger and your spindles should be supplied with enough adjustment to allow for any adjustment in height between 900mm and 1100mm. Spindles should allow for adjustment between 900mm and 1100mm witch I would think is enough for you to ease them down the wreath and connecting volute at the exit of your stairs.

I think you are going to find this may be a little difficult, ( I mean doing a wreathed handrail) so I'd prefer it if you would not mind me suggesting you re-take a look at my previous suggestion from "this is Carpentry". Might at first seem difficult but I think you might actually find it easier than what you are attempting. YES I am a pain, LoL!

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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Fri Feb 26, 2021 12:39 pm

Hi, Mark. No, I don't mind in the slightest. It's a good article and there's some good stuff on that website especially tangents and wreaths. But I'm too far down the road to make a new set of stairs plus getting the plasterer back in to redo the two walls (because making good you always see the join IMO), scaffolding required....very high floor to ceiling and big walls. Then getting Kirsty-Ann in to redecorate. Nah...it ain't going to happen !

I shall press on. Thanks for the info re spindles.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by jfc » Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:54 pm

The spindles on the bottom tread need to be longer . If you had an open string staircase the spindle on the back of every step would be longer so the ones on the bottom tread need to be the same as those would be .

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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:55 pm

Thanks, Jas.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Sat Feb 27, 2021 5:25 pm

Without any reference points, it's hard to judge the exact dimensions of the handrail profile that I'm trying to recreate. So I started off with simply a large length of wood approx 70mm square. Guessed the top convex radius to be about 60mm and so ran that through the spindle moulder, the two scallops on either side of it made from a 25mm radius cutter...another couple of passes.

I estimated the vertical flats and spacings. Got hold of a few large dowels of differing radii , sliced pieces off them with the bandsaw and offered them up. Finally settling on a 35mm dia dowel. The smaller radius on the very bottom is 5mm.

Glued them all on, stained it up a little, sanded and waxed it and offered it up to Chief Designer. It fitted my big hands but not hers. So gradually took slices out of the middle to reduce the width and now it's spot on. It feels very comfortable in the hand and, though I say it myself, a very passable replica of the original.

Image

Spent an hour or so measuring up and making the drawings for the cutters.

Image

Next up, work out how much ABW to get and whether or not I want to spend an awful lot of spondoolicks to also buy a very wide length so that the wreath and curves etc can come out of one piece rather than glue pieces together to get the width. The plus point is it gives me over 2m to play with after Horlicks 1, Horlicks 2, .....Horlicks 3 etc

With regard to these, I'm wondering whether or not I can use one of those flexicurves to get me started in the right direction rather than make my small brain ache trying to understand what all this tangent stuff is all about.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Sun Feb 28, 2021 5:42 pm

I've taken on board what folk have said about spindle lengths but how to decide what they should be given my problem on the bottom step and the step change in height.

Thinking things through, there is one 'given' - namely the minimum height of the handrail (unless I want to ignore Building Regs ...after all the original handrail was below the requirement).

So I mocked up a handrail at the minimum height as my de facto starting point.
Image
It's also useful for giving me a sense of the wreath shape required on the quarter landing turn. But that's for another day.

Adding a handrail (less a bit to inset the spindles underneath) got me to here.

Image

Then I offered up a spindle on the bottom step to see where it struck the handrail because it is at this point that the handrail needs to be level so it can turn into the volute. And therein lies the rub. It can't be level at this point as it's still part of the slope.

Image

This picture is telling me that that spindle is where it should start to level off. But there's no room on the bottom tread.

There are various options - none of which will look right. I can add an extension to that spindle but it's still too close to the nosing on the tread. I could add even more to the height which would let me move it inboard. Perhaps that is the only option.

Help !
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Sun Feb 28, 2021 6:07 pm

A few very poor options I've come up with.

Option A...as mentioned..raise the height. Trouble with that is for it to really work, the height of the volute from actual floor level is 1300m which I think is too high ?

Image

Option B...just looks plain ugly especially going into a volute.

Image

Option C...radical. Turn the handrail and extend it all the way down to the floor. It might work with a round handrail but I don't think it will with my preferred option.

Image
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by woodsmith » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:05 am

I used option c on my own handrail but that was because I wanted to minimise the newel. I think your stairs are going to need something bigger.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by Meccarroll » Tue Mar 02, 2021 4:15 am

You need to draw up your VoLute and bottom section of wreath then bandsaw them so you can see how the transition works. At the moment it's guess work.

The wreath is the key component, you will find it twists from horizontal as it turns upward into the handrail from the volute.

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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by Meccarroll » Tue Mar 02, 2021 5:08 am

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Notice how the wreathed section is twisted and sloped from the volute to the handrail. It is actually a flat slab tilted. The tangent system was used to mark out the wreath and it was then cut on the bandsaw.

If you mark out your volute and wreath then cut them as above you can use them to calculate your spindles.
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Re: Staircase upgrade

Post by thatsnotafestool » Tue Mar 02, 2021 8:00 am

Thanks Mark. That's very helpful. There's a fair number of videos out there and it's interesting to see the different approaches between East and West. Here in the West, a lot of folk use the tangent system. Many of those in the East simply eyeball everything. I'm not sure which way I will go as yet. Probably the latter as every time I try and get to grips with the tangent system, my eyes glaze over and I remember there was something else I should be doing.
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