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Thread: Rethinking Winder Stair

  1. #16
    I'll just take the last part. We used to buy treads , and make treads only for the pickiest people. Even the bought ones had to
    be jointed and ripped to size. Then we ran the front edge "bull nose" on the shaper. The best looking grain always went toward bullnose edge. And the best looking treads were always toward the
    bottom of staircase. Treads got a 1/4 " tongue" cut on the shaper The risers we usually made from oak bought un dressed ,we used dados to cut 5/16th wide and deep dados , fine grain went
    to riser top. Treads were not glued to risers, we drilled holes thru riser and and little way into tread, and then nailed
    risers to treads with headed ,coated nails. The nails at the ends were always about 7 or 8 inches from ends. There is a good reason for that. No
    matter how accurately you lay out your marks for routing the stringers things are never perfect. So when wedging up the
    stair if you have any tread noses that that won't seat property ,you can bop them with a rubber mallet and the un-
    nailed tread can go into place by "leaving the riser behind".
    Last edited by Mel Fulks; 08-04-2020 at 1:34 PM. Reason: Glue blocks were solid from side to side

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by John Gornall View Post
    I would do whatever it takes to get rid of the winders...
    This. Eliminate the winders.
    "Anything seems possible when you don't know what you're doing."

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Dawson Creek, BC
    Did you check the headroom at the beam when you add tread length? It looks like it could be close.

  4. #19
    The winders I tore out were just plywood boxes covered by flooring on the top with a nosing piece. You could easily make the nosing from 5/4 as you indicate. I would plane it to 1 inch and then put a 1/2 round nose on the top and bottom. It can be nailed/glued or screwed, I would use trim head screws and fill the small holes with color matched wax (commercially available). You can use the same sore of nosing piece at the top to transition to the floor. If you need to, it can be wider and rabbeted so the part that goes over the subfloor is the same thickness as the flooring.

    I have the tools to start with rough lumber but I found oak treads available at the lumber yard I use for molding that were cheaper than starting with rough boards. Plus no glueup or planing was required. Around here at least, you will not find treads at the big box stores but the lumber yards that are typically closed on the weekend should have them. But I think they will all have rounded noses. I guess you could rip that off, they are wider than the minimum tread width.

    I rabbeted the back of each tread to product a little 1/4 square tongue to go into a dado in the riser.

    One thing I liked about the staircase I tore out is how they attached the outside stringer. They nailed a 2x4, flat, onto the wall studs and then nailed the stringer to that. That created enough of a channel that the skirt board could slide down behind the stringer and the treads just butted into it. That avoids all the fitting you normally have to do. But it means you have to cut the treads accurately. I think one reason you see a lot of painted risers is it supports a little caulk in any gap, however. Where I have open treads, not between two walls, the treads extend out over the wall and there is a fitted skirt under them. The skirt should be mitered for the risers (which also get mitered). It was a bit of a pain but no harder than installing trim. But the treads between two walls is definitely less fussy, especially if you can slide the skirt behind the stringers.

    Use 2x12s for the stringers. The staircase I tore out was 2x10s and there wasn't much left after they cut the notches. A little scary.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Western Nebraska
    Winders serve a purpose, to get more steps in less space. Stairwells are rarely big enough to allow a perfect set of stairs. In most instances winders are used to get enough headroom at the bottom of the stairs. You can't just tear them out without reconfiguring the entire system and usually there isn't room for that. Two winders gone in these steps = 15" less headroom at the bottom of the stairs and two more steps intruding into the living space at the bottom.

  6. #21
    I agree with Steve, it takes space to eliminate the winders. I did it by reducing the tread depth, the original stairs were something like 14 inches wide. Far above code. That gave me the run to eliminate the winders with a rise and run within code requirements.

    With respect to white oak, I did not see that option in the search I did for treads but it might exist. My floors are white oak but I just used the oak treads I found. Both are clear finished and I don't think the difference is significant. There are a lot of variations in oak, much more than just red versus white, as well as variation in trees of each type. I think red oak stairs with white oak floors works fine in my house and I suspect it would in yours too. I don't actually know if my treads are red or white oak or some of both. To truly get white oak treads may mean you will have to make them from rough lumber.

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