This Softwood Mopstick handrail with black brackets fitted to an elderly gentleman’s staircase in Southampton. As I have said in past posts none of us are getting younger. The customer gratefully informed me that having this handrail will enable him to remain in his home of 55years.He was finding it increasingly difficult to manage the stairs. The handrail will be finished off in white by his wife – a mere 91 years old!
This crown cap handrail was left unpainted so that the grain and beauty of the wood can be seen, with this in mind I took my time selecting the wood for a clean straight grain without any knots.
The sweep from the bottom of the stairs to the top is unbroken therefore there are no breaks in the handrail on the corner or where the pitch changes. This is important for less mobile people who need the reassurance of something to get hold of for support whilst going down or up the stairs.
The wall that the handrail is fitted to is a stud wall, made up of plasterboard tacked to a timber frame so in effect a hollow wall. I used a specialist fixing to fix the brackets one which ‘balloons’ out behind the plasterboard and into the cavity. All in all a neat and tidy job.
Crown Cap is not used so much these days I have only one supplier who stocks it, and only in soft wood. I do have cutters to machine crown cap myself although such a small run would not warrant the time it would take. I think crown cap is easier to use as a handrail particularly if ones grip is not what it used to be. Also it can be screwed directly to the wall rather that hung on brackets, that’s useful if you are restricted on space.
The above is a boarded stair, as opposed to using spindle’s, this was popular in the 1970s and 80s. It is no longer allowed unless the gap between each board or boards and hand/base rail is less than 100mm (4”) . This regulation applies to spindles as well. The regulation prevents the potential for young children and babies getting their head wedged in the gap. There has been truly tragic cases although thankfully few, of very young children accidentally hanging themselves as a result of there being a greater than 100mm opening between spindles or boards.
I removed the boards along with the handrail. The Newel posts were left insitu. Replacement stair components were fitted. Not only does this bring the stair case up to date with current regulation the new stair components also lighten up the hall and landing. A painter and decorator was on site at the same time as me so he was then able to sand down the apron and other areas of the stairs that would be inaccessible before the new components were fitted.
My understanding is that the customer wishes to have the whole lot brought back to wood and then finished in a varnish.
When I removed the boards I realised they are Parana Pine, this is a timber that is no longer obtainable in the u.k or any where else for that matter as the species is now endangered and there is a ban on its use. I am going to make some small boxes with this wood and will add some images once I have made them. I kike the idea of making good use of old wood, I can not think of any other material that can be transformed from one object or use to another, that is carbon neutral, and benefits the soul whilst being grown, gives pleasure to the eye and has shaped our lives in so many ways. Yep you got it—I Like wood.
Stiffening a stair case in lords wood Southampton.
This stair case in a property in lordswood, Southampton had become springy and was creaking, the glue originally used had degraded and the wedges were loose, the joining of the treads to the risers could have been done better, only three screws used. Most customers assume that a new stair case is required, this is not the case. Comprehensive use of blocks glued and screwed from underneath solves the problem. The lordwood area of Southampton seems to have a lot of creaking stair cases, this is the fifth stair case I have silenced on that particular estate. Considering that the properties are circa 1970s I can only assume that the stair cases were factory made as cheaply as possible and the glues used of inferior grade.
This is a great idea for the type of small house that has no separate hallway but instead has stairs in the living room. The customer wanted somewhere for their T.V., the usual box of tricks, and several miscellaneous electrical items associated with media. All this stuff had previously sat on a small table with all the cables in view. These are all items that often find themselves hung onto the wall or occupying a corner of a room that could be used for something more pleasing to the eye. This is particularly the case if space is at a premium, which is often the case in modern homes.
Made from White Melamine faced 18mm MDF in my workshop, with cable management incorporated in the back, once slotted into place the customer said that it looked like ‘part of the house’.
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The previous owner of this property had removed the handrail and spindles, the new owner wanted them put back.Because the newel post had been completely removed I had to machine one from 100mmx100mm stock to fit into the stud wall cavity with an angled mortice to cover the stair string, then a wider than usual base rail needed to be machined to cover the stud wall. The handrail was a stock item from a supplier, the spindles were machined on site with a stopped chamfer.
The bottom tread had a worm infestation which resulted in the tread collapsing, being the bottom tread it takes the most punishment over the years, the infestation was not too serious but had travelled to the second tread and riser, once a proprietary treatment had been applied a replacement piece was made and fitted into the bottom tread. If you suspect you have a worm infestation you can determine if it is active or not by laying a black piece of card under the affected area, or if it’s a piece of furniture place it on top of the black card.
Then wait about a month and see if you can see really fine sawdust. It will be as fine as talcum powder, that’s the result of active woodworm if you see none then its historic rather than current.
When you do this you must ensure that you do not disturb the area or piece of furniture, vibration can disturb loose debris that is historic and give the impression that it’s a current infestation.
A crown cap hand rail fitted above a previously fitted dado rail, the customer wanted it to be a continuous run from the bottom to the top of the stairs with no breaks in-between, and did not want an institutional look to it.
Using Brass brackets and finished in white gloss.
The customer wanted to have a work station as well as some storage cupboards, they wanted a knotty pine finish to match their interior doors so laminated board was used with pine veneer MDF panels for the doors. At a later date some shelves above the table may well come in useful.