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Keeping it simple

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November 6, 2014 - 6:55 am
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Hi Paul,

Nice project.

Globally you have set it up well .

To make your stair easy to build I would suggest however:

– that you add a landing step

– that you diminish the total height by the thickness of the step cladding (if you go for cladding, see below for my opinion)

– that you reduce the outer string width

– that you don’t use string penetration into newels (have a look at my “Stair Preliminaries eBook” in the members eBook library) 

– that you make the 3rd step a winder

the outer strings have to be curved to house the winders. you can draw them as segments when actually making the stair though.

If I made this stair I would make it directly from solid wood. Cladding on a ply wood stair requires a lot of extra and tricky work.

If your CNC can accommodate the length of strings it will be useful to rout the step and riser housings. Otherwise you might find it just as easy to do by hand.

All the best,


Paul Harvey

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November 6, 2014 - 4:18 am
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Hi there,

I have some stairs to build, and I am hoping for a few quick tips to make it simpler. The opening in the floor is 11′ 2″ with a wall on one end, and the height from floor to floor is 108″ so I have to put a couple winders in and 2 steps below the winders. However, I am trying to keep the project as simple as possible.

I have access to a 3-axis home-built CNC (no rotational axis),, and lots of woodworking tools, but I am limited in experience and am still a bit intimidated by complex curves and angles. I have therefore limited the winders to the corner, left out the railing (I’ll buy one), and made 2 of the stringers straight. 

Is there a way to straighten the external 2 stringers without them not meeting at the corner or becoming several feet wide? I put in the newell post in the internal corner just to make it possible to straighten the left 2 stringers, but that wouldn’t make sense on the right stringers since those will up against the wall.

Is there anything else I can do to make it easier on myself as a first-timer? I am thinking of using plywood to make the stairs, and then cap the stairs and risers with hardwood. If I screw it up, plywood is cheap! I plan to drop the height of each plywood stair by 3/4″ from what the software spits out in the plans, to accommodate the thickness of the treads I’ll add on top. Is that a good idea?

Here’s what I have so far as a design. If it goes well, I may try another one!

Thanks so much!


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