Monday, May 23, 2011

Stair Trim-- partial finale.

Well, it's been a while and I have been quite remiss on updating the blog. Lots has happened.
For one, we are still undecided as to whether our next endeavor should be an arc or not. There's two of us, the two cats, and then there's the 40 days and nights of rain we've been getting in the region.

Needless to say, it hasn't been much of a Spring, and any moment the sun pokes its head out, I try to get something planted in the garden before I sink into the mud.

The weeds are absolutely thriving. We're nearing an all out man v. weed war here.

The good news is that when it's not raining, I can yank out the 16' trim boards out of the house and into the yard so I can work on the trim for our lovely 1st floor stair trim.

I started planning this last year, but never got up the courage to tackle it. See previous head scratcher here.

I originally thought I would have to use some sort of a large compass to draw the uneven stair treads onto the 16' trim board, then cut it out. I even built a compass out of dowel rods and wing nut screws. Turns out that was an exercise in futility.

Who says I don't get any exercise any more, eh?

Nah, I started out the old fashioned way.

I put it off for a year.

I started taking measurements.. enough to realize that this wasn't going to work for me. None of the steps were even enough to even think of a template. Non starter.

So I decided just to make ONE step, then see how OFF it was from step to step. AT least that would give me a general idea of how much I needed to tweak the layout.

After cutting out a general template that 'mostly' fit all of the steps, I nailed a16 footer to the wall to make sure it wouldn't move, then used the template, a straight edge and a level to mark the horizontal tread level and the nose of the step. Once I had these marks, I could adjust the template to get a pretty good generalization.

We decided to have a 2" relief of the trim (measuring 2 inches in from the top edge at a 45* angle). This determined where the nose edge and tread marks were made.

Then the cutting.

I cut out the steps rather gingerly. I'd rather cut away too little and have to pare the cuts down than to remove too much. (BTW, on one step I did cut away too much, but I've got a nifty trick to fix it.)

So after the cuts were made - yes, I cut these in the dining room. Did I mention about the whole rain/arc thing?--

There was one step that was just... well, WRONG. No matter of pushing, nudging or persuasion was going to work.

So, yay for Bondo!!! I measured the gap, mixed the Bondo, pressed it up against the form with a straight edge, and taped it in place while it cured. Once it was cured, I glued it in place, sanded it down and painted it.

You'd never know it if I didn't point it out.

, so now everything's in place, but because we wanted that 2" relief on the top edge, we now have these triangular nooks/holes at the base of each stair. (you can sort of see this on the bottom step of the following picture.)

Easy fix. Bought a sheet of 1/4" thick MDF, cut it into 4" strips, then routered slight bullnose edge onto each side of the 4" strips, then painted them white. Two coats, minimum.

When they dried, I made diagonal cuts back and forth so each triangle I cut was usable in the corners of the stair, with a long bullnosed hypotenuse.

N.B.: not all of the triangles were right angles. I started cutting them all the same and then realized how foolish that was. I used one right angled piece as a template, setting it in each step to check the fit, then cur a whole bunch of 92-96* angled triangles for the uneven steps.

Then when it was time to nail everything in place, I cut a small square of MDF out of the trim board scraps, and placed the 1" cut square in the hole, then nailed the covers in place. Viola.

But, before that final step, there was the issue of how to cut the angles at the top of the stairs and the bottom.

I did a lot of research and never got a really good answer, so I made one up myself.

First of all, I had left a little room at the top of the 16' trim board to play with. I used a straight edge to extend a line from the top edge out past the end of the board. Then I pulled it out of the way and placed a trim board along the floor in the hallway where it would necessarily intersect with the stair trim.

I drew a line out from the top of that board until it intersected with the line from the trim. I then marked it with blue tape. I then drew a line with a straight edge from the TOP edge of the blue tape intersection top the bottom edge of the blue tape, and then extended the line down to the floor. That was my bisect line.

Then I eyeballed what looked to be a good wedge size for a transition piece, and measured out equally from the bisect line, then drew a line from each measurement down to the center bisect line at the floor. I traced this on to a piece of paper, then transferred it to a piece of floor trim, cut it out and used THAT piece to draw my cuts on the floor trim board as well as the stair trim board.

Then nail into place, caulk and paint.

Oh yeah, remove tape. Heh heh.

At the bottom of the stairs, I took a slightly different approach, but used the same blue tape. Once the base of the stair trim was cut so that the long 16' board could fit into place, all I needed to do was figure out where the horizontal board would intersect, then cut both boards at the intersection. This time, no filler piece is needed.

This one was a lot easier than the top. But now it's done!!

Oh cr@p--- now it's on to the second floor stair trim going up to the third floor.

It never ends, does it?


Anonymous said...

Are you capturing the carpet with the installation of the trim? If so, what about carpet removal years later?

leisa said...

This is brilliant