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Thread: Thick stair treads

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Thick stair treads

    Lately we have had a architect request 4” thick stair treads to use on open custom metal and wood stairways. The first one we did was white oak laminated up out of edge glued 5/4. These went well but the laminations are not the greatest look.
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    The next project was a house with a lot of high end walnut veneered cabinetry. She did not want to see any laminations or end grain. Thin veneer would not be a good idea so we mitered solid walnut around a core of 60 mm thick beech LVL like material that one of our suppliers is bringing in from Europe. Always risky doing something like this solid but the laminated vertical grain beech has the same movement as flatsawn walnut so hoping for the best...
    it was a fun project and thanks to some precise sliding saw and shaper setups the joints came out airtight!

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    Last edited by Joe Calhoon; 07-05-2018 at 10:31 PM. Reason: Pictures adjustment

  2. #2
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    How did you miter the ends after everything was glued up. Do you feel the LVL was a better choice than solid walnut using up the pieces with knots and white as the center stock? I like end grain but I'm in the minority. Thanks for the pictures. Dave- still too busy to get to CO.

  3. #3
    Iím with Dave,

    How did you miter the ends after you wrapped the lvl?

  4. #4
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    It’s a LVL like material but it is intended for tables, countertops and the such. We could have glued up solid walnut for the core but the 60 mm thick BauBuche panels made the job easier and was the right thickness.
    One end goes to the wall and has a slot for a angle iron to attach to the wall. So all three edges were put on first. The end is a waterfall edge. These had to be glued precisely so we ran a 4mm groove for biscuits in the core then raised the cutter the thickness of the facing material and ran the edges vertically through the shaper. This kept the edge gluing very accurate. So the top and bottom faces went on last and just dropped into place. We toyed with putting these in the vac press but in the end just using clamps and culls worked well.

    The other challenge was no knots allowed. Tough with walnut and we had to waste a lot of material to achieve this. There is a supplier that brings in prime cherry and walnut backer boards from a veneer mill but time frame did not allow.

    Here are pictures of the process that I hope are self explanatory. The parallel fence and Mac’s clamps on the saw were key to the precision. All angles were set to 45.05 degrees so they close up tight.

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  5. #5
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    We don’t use a conventional table saw in the shop and like the precision and safety of a sliding saw for something like this.
    hands were never near the blade even mitering the 4” wide edges.

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  6. #6
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    My back hurts a little thinking about the 4Ē thick treads Joe.
    So much for working easier in retirement.
    Todd, like me, is not very photogenic. He looks as old as I feel most days.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Calhoon View Post
    The other challenge was no knots allowed. Tough with walnut and we had to waste a lot of material to achieve this.
    I figure 100% waste on walnut now. What is being harvested is just been garbage the last few years.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Wasner View Post
    I figure 100% waste on walnut now. What is being harvested is just been garbage the last few years.
    I’m with you on that
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter gagliardi View Post
    My back hurts a little thinking about the 4Ē thick treads Joe.
    So much for working easier in retirement.
    Todd, like me, is not very photogenic. He looks as old as I feel most days.
    They are 55 lbs each. Yes heavy, but easier than 200 or 300 lb window units and doors! The worst part was hoisting that slab of 60mm thick beech on to the saw.
    Last edited by Joe Calhoon; 07-07-2018 at 9:09 PM.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Wasner View Post
    I figure 100% waste on walnut now. What is being harvested is just been garbage the last few years.
    That’s about right. We did a whole house interior years ago with walnut and steadily getting worse now as far as knots and sap.

  11. #11
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    Don’t know why they moved the thread here!

    One last bit. We made some loose treads, risers and returns to wrap existing stairs. The angle for the treads was 48.30 degrees. Shaper also works good for accurate mitering with outboard fence. Especially for pieces longer than the saw stroke.
    We used an adjustable angle cutter set at 45 and tilted the shaft 3.30 degrees.
    Did not get a chance to photo the finished product.
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  12. #12
    Joe,

    Can you please explain the reason for orvthunking behind the back fence milling with eye assiatsnce of the Aigner pressure module.

    I only ask as just last week I used the shaper to miter wrap cabinet end panels into face frames. In my case I just used a Rangate spiral cutter on my shaper with the spindle tilted to 45%. Im thinking you surely know something I donít know.

    Does you setup ensure that you take the same wax at amount along the length of the miter and also ensure against snipe? Iím thunking that has to be your reason.

    Iíve done these Motherís a couple ways. On the slider 99.9% of the time. Then on a ts with a sacrificial fence and the blade run into it. In this case the blade has to be calibrated to the exact thickness of the stock. I donít much care for this method as others but it works.

    So far the shaper with power feeder was my favorite meathod as it resulted in the best cut.

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  13. #13
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    Patrick, nice cabinet!

    The pressure jaws attached to the fence I did not need for this cut. Just in the habit of using them. The heavy window and door sticking and frame cuts in 56, 68, 78mm and thicker material with the outboard fence you need to keep a little pressure against the back fence.

    For the miter cuts I put a little pressure at the infeed but none on the outfeed as it might destroy the sharp edge. But like I said on 3/4” material it’s not really needed.

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