Stair Progress

 Posted by at 12:22  No Responses »
Jun 202011

All1 of the stairs and risers are cut to their proper 30″ width2 now. I spent a good chunk of time on Sunday calculating the angles and drawing the templates for the stringers. It was fun to put high school trig to practical use, and I’d be lying if I weren’t indulging in a little “take that!” thinking toward all of the anti-math/anti-school miscreants I grew up around3.

As a result of the circular saw being, well, circular, I’ve actually got some corners in the risers that still need to be cut. I’ll probably just do that with a hacksaw, since it’s small and most of the cutting was already done by the circular saw. Once that’s done, I’ll lay the cut stringer onto the uncut stringer board and use it as a template. With those cut, it’ll be time to sand and stain everything4.

Once everything is stained, I’ll tear down the old stairs and put up the new stringers. From there, it’ll just be a simple matter of drilling pilot shafts and screwing the steps and risers into the stringers. Depending on how secure the stringers feel, I’ll either put the support struts in before I do the steps and risers, or once everything is assembled.

All told, I’m hoping to have this entire thing complete by next weekend, so I can start working on the vacuform table in earnest. I’ll post pictures of the whole process once it’s complete.

  1. 10 and 10, anyway. I will actually need an additional riser on each end of the stairs if I want to fully close them off. I may not bother, though, since for basement stairs having risers at all is sort of unnecessary []
  2. Well, mostly 30″. I managed to get some variation in them despite repeated measuring and laser guides on my circular saw, but c’est la vie []
  3. To those that I grew up around that were not anti-math/anti-school, I salute you! []
  4. Everything, that is, except the support boards. Those still need to be measured and cut, but those will be very quick, since there are only six total. []


 Posted by at 23:03  No Responses »
Jun 182011

True to my word, I started on the vacuformer last night. The basic table framework is assembled — a gangly 3’x3’x3′ metal lattice of shelving parts. This afternoon, I headed out and bought a couple of cheap toaster ovens, the heating elements from which will end up as the oven component of the vacuform table. I couldn’t do much more construction until I had both of these components in hand, in order to properly plan out dimensions.

There’s also another impediment, which I’m working on presently. The basement stairs are, succinctly, a deathtrap. They’re very old wood held to the floor above by a thin piece of plywood and held up by one solid piece of wood and one cobbled-together leg. I am worried they’ll collapse out from under me every time I use them. Since the vacuform table is to be assembled and used in the basement, it’ll necessitate traversing these stairs on a regular basis. Not cool.

I’m building new ones. My big expedition today included transporting a great deal of lumber in my tiny Jetta (12′ long boards in a Jetta is quite a thing) from the store to the house. I’m presently in the process of slicing up the lumber destined to become the risers and steps. All the wood will get a nice sanded edge, be stained and sealed, and the new staircase will be supported by six 2″x8″ support beams.

While I’m not working on the stairs, I’ll be proceeding with planning out dimensions and materials for the vacuformer, so progress continues on that front continues unabated.