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Thread: stairs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana


    ok, i am about to embark on a journey that might frustrate me, is destined to challenge me but when it is over will give me great pride in a job well done.

    Soon I will attempt to do my own staircase. The structure of the stairs is already in place. 2x stringers, treads and risers. My job will be to cut and apply skirt boards? i think the is the correct term please someone correct me if not, I am speaking of the boards that run along the wall kinda like base boards for stairs, the treads and risers go between these.

    I am trying to plan out as much of this in my head as I can before I start. As for the "skirt" boards I plan to make templates for these to find the correct angles and lengths.

    ok, let's stairs are L shaped. the entire set is sandwiched between 2 walls. there is a landing halfway up.

    my material of choice is bamboo, specifically vertical grain 3-ply bamboo plywood from a company called plyboo.

    You can buy bamboo stair tread premade with bullnose, but that covers the interesting looking end grain that I would like to leave visible. Plus the ply is a cheaper option and offcuts can be used to build the floating bamboo vanity...nuther thread altogether.

    Treads will be 3/4" (no strength needed, just cosmetic) and risers will be 1/2"
    Skirtin will also be 3/4".

    the main issues that worry me are...

    1. getting the skirt cut to the correct angle and length. will need to be 2 pieces with a splice at some point.

    2. getting treads and risers to fit tight to skirt with no gaps (stain grade)

    3. messin up with plywood that costs 190/sheet (still cheaper than premade treads)

    any tips and tricks on this type of work would be appreciated. i anticipate maybe starting this next week as I plan to take some time off of work to get some of my projects done.

    as shaz would say...more later


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Vernon, WI
    Yep most people call them skirtboards or backer stringer. I'm hoping that you have a spacer (2x6 or whatever works) inbetween your walls and your stringers running up the whole stringer! Otherwise there would be no room for the skirtboard to slide down next to the stringer.

    A good majority of what you wanna do here can be done with your framing square. I drew a picture (bad one at that ) on paint, hopefully it will help. For starters, you'll have to find out how wide or tall your skirtboard is going to be. Then just take your framing square laying one side on the spacer that runs between the stringer and the wall, and mark the height of the skirtboard on the wall. Do this near the top and the bottom of the staircase and snap a line. Then at the top, square over the FINISH floor height until it intersects with your skirtboard line that you snapped. Then at the landing it depends on if you are doing baseboard or skirtboard. If skirtboard, slide your framing square where the actual skirtboard is going to sit until the height intersects with your snapped line. That will give you short point to short point. At the top, you would then run your base trim out to that short point of the skirtboard. At the bottom you will need to figure out what angle to cut so that the meeting skirts are a mitered joint. As for the angles to make the cuts on the skirtboard, just simply take your riser height and your tread length and hold those points on your framing square. Pick up a set of these bad boys if you don't have them already That way you can keep your square ready everytime you need to mark a plumb line on the skirtboard. I hope this helps although chances are I made it confused the way I explained it. If you have more questions let me know. It would also be a really good idea to cut this out of some scrap plywood and test fit each end before you go with making the expensive cut on the final piece!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Charlotte, NC
    I don't know if you've worked with bamboo in the past, but it is very stringy. You are basically working with grass instead of wood. Make sure your tools are sharp and you may be trimming some strings. If I understood you correctly, you are going to put the bullnose on? Be carefull of tearout!You might want to try taping the area you are going to rout or cut.

    Good luck!
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    chris, i`ve never worked with bamboo so can`t offer any advice on workin` it..
    as far as fitting treads-n-risers between skirt boards i use screw together disposa templates and i tongue the riser into the tread.
    also i`d advise against using any type of plywood for the treads seeing as they`ll see quite a bit of wear.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana
    hey tod do you use a new template for each tread? or do you make one that can be reused? got a pic of one?

    the bamboo ply is not like traditional plywood. it is a 3-ply construction, the top wear layer is about 1/8" thick, or maybe a tiny bit more. it would take a ton of traffic to wear through it.

    i have milled all my treads and risers to rough dimensions, with a new 80 tooth blade the stuff cut just like normal plywood. some very slight splintering on the underside but much better than i expected.

    i think i am gonna wait till after sheetrock touch ups before i do the stairs.


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