Here’s an email sent to me by Serge from France.
Serge is a subscriber to our email list and has no previous experience in stair building.
Serge has built himself a stair using only the free stair design tool and resources available on this website.
Please click here if you would like to download the free version of StairDesigner yourself.
I was very impressed by the way Serge undertook his project.
I think that everybody can benefit and learn something from his story and experience.
Thanks Serge for sharing this.
Here’s the translation of Serge’s email.
Excuse me for this long letter, but you can use it as testimonal.
To start, I’d like to thank you for all the help and advice you have given on your site and emails.
6 months ago I went to a well known stair manufacturer in France to order a cheap staircase to enable me to access the first floor of my garage.
This stair was a ¼ turn, with a total height of 3,28 m, at a 95° .
After a long time spent trying to force his industrial software to build a stair that would fit me, the salesman could only offer me a 15 step quart turn with a 90 angle.
This was no good to me at all. So I decided to built it myself.
I am not a professional woodworker, in fact I’m a scientist, but I always liked woodwork.
Browsing the wed for help and information I quickly found your software ” Stair Designer ” which gave me the answers to my questions.
With help of your documentation and tutorials, I quickly and easily got the hang of using the demo version of ” Stair Designer “, and designed a stair that fitted my project.
Nonetheless, having at my disposal the plans of the parts, steps, stringers, posts and spindles walking(marches), silt, posts, and spindles, but without dimensions, I found myself in front of a choice: not being professional I did not want to buy the complete software,
I thought of buying your highly-rated plans (through your StairFile service),
or accept the challenge to reconstruct the plans from the specifications given by the demo version of Stair Designer.
I opted to take up the challenge and draw the plans myself.
I revised my trigonometry and rolled up my sleeves to learn to use, the free version of ProgeCad that is downloadable from your web site.
My rudimentary English allowed me to understand the basics of this professional level CAD software and I managed to draw the plans and use Progecad to get all the part sizes.
I must admit that the stair template models with their free plans were of great help as references, and enabled me to work and move forward confidently.
I chose to make the stairs in spruce, using only the minimal tools that I had at hand, a jointer, circular saw, a router and an orbital sander.
I worked part time at my own pace, for 2 months (I’m retired so I do have some free time) and machined up the parts.
Yesterday I went to install and everything fell into place perfectly, just like the drawn model.
For anyone who would like to undertake a similar challenge, I would humbly give the following advice:
– Use StairDesigner to design your project. It’s easy to use and covers most of the different types of stairs that might want to build.
– If you don’t have a good understanding of geometry and maths, and can’t use some sort of CAD software don’t try to draw up the plans by yourself. Use Ness’s StairFile or StairPlan service, it will save you hours of calculations and possibly expensive errors.
– If you don’t have a few good portable tools and some mastery of woodworking, either get someone else to help with the woodwork or subcontract it.
Otherwise go to it!
It is a fantastic experience, that will make you use your muscles and your brain and give you a lot of satisfaction.
To conclude, thanks again to Ness, you can be proud of yourself to have enabled a complete beginner design and build a stair that’s a just a little complicated.
On the other hand it’s a real commercial flop for you, because with your help and tools I have managed to do for free what would have cost me dearly otherwise.
I feel a little guilty of using your advice and support without paying.
So a thousand thanks for continuing to teach freely for our pleasure and profit.
Thanks to Serge for this very instructive email.
The easiest way to use the free/demo version of StairDesigner is to design using that, then use of cut list and plan processing service. This is called the StairFile service. All you need is a Premium Support subscription to use this service free of charge.
We have more information on StairDesigner, our staircase design software here. For more details on using the demo version of StairDesigner and Autocad or Progecad read these articles: