Finishing the stairs to the second floor

Temporary Railing Installed
Temporary Railing Installed

A temporary railing is screwed in place. 'Tain't pretty, but will prevent falls. (6/10/05)

Another View of Railing
Another View of Railing

Here is another view of the railing to show just how ugly it really is. (6/10/05)

The Painted Railing
The Painted Railing

The railing is painted, but it still isn't too pretty. (7/1/05)

Handrail
Handrail

This handrail was replaced with an oak railing towards the end of construction. It's better not to damage the more expensive railing if it can be avoided. (6/8/05)

Skirt Board Template
Skirt Board Template

The sides of the stairs were trimmed out with boards called skirt boards. They have to be cut to match the stairs. The first step was to create a paper template. (3/1/06)

End Cap
End Cap

The railing at the top of the stairs were built using pre-fabricated parts. Here the end cap that goes over the top of the newel post is marked for joining with the rest of the railing. (3/13/06)

Cap Parts
Cap Parts

The top of the cap is removed so the end can be bolted to the railing. The cap is also glued, which makes a strong joint. (3/13/06)

Cap Bolted and Glued
Cap Bolted and Glued

The cap is bolted and glued to the body of the railing. All that remains is to glue on the top. The tape is there to make glue cleanup easier. (3/13/06)

Completed Cap
Completed Cap

The top is glued onto the top of the endcap, and the joint sanded smooth. (3/13/06)

Drilling for Balusters
Drilling for Balusters

The holes for balusters are drilled using a drill press to make sure they are straight and consistent. (3/13/06)

Dry Assembly
Dry Assembly

The parts are assembled to check for fit. The excess length on the back of the hand rail has not yet been cut off, nor has the excess off the front of the bottom cap, which makes the assembly look lopsided. (3/13/06)

Aligning the Rails
Aligning the Rails

Checking the base of the balusters for alignment. (3/14/06)

Countersink Bolts
Countersink Bolts

Once the alignment is perfect, I tightened the bolt and drove a finish nail into the corner to keep the baluster from spinning. In retrospect I regret installing them with bolts since it makes repairing or replacing the balusters (3/14/06)

Dagnabit!
Dagnabit!

The newel post is installed into the edge of the base board using a mortised keyhole fastener. Unfortunately, the mortise was too far forward, so the post did not cover it. I had to re-make the board. (3/14/06)

Aligning the Balusters
Aligning the Balusters

For the second attempt at the base of the hand rail I drilled the lag bolt holes a little larger to make it easier to align the balusters. I used spacers to make aligning them easier. (3/14/06)

Skirt Board Template
Skirt Board Template

The template for the skirt board was transferred to a strip of hard board. The paper isn't reliable enough to rely upon to transfer to an $80 piece of oak. The hard board is easy to trim and fit, and anything that is over-cut can be marked on the board so the oak will fit tightly. (3/20/06)

Cutting Out the Skirt Board
Cutting Out the Skirt Board

I cut the skirt board using a circular saw with a fine-tooth thin-kerf blade. (3/21/06)

Cutting Out the Nose
Cutting Out the Nose

The tip of the stair nose has to be hand cut out of the skirt board. A jig saw would work, but it is probably the only tool not purchased during construction so far (I've bought a couple since then). (3/21/06)

Stair Caps
Stair Caps

Stair caps were installed on the edges of the stairs so the carpet doesn't have to be cut in around the balusters. Here I cut hard board as templates. (3/26/06)

Finishing the Cap Nose
Finishing the Cap Nose

An edge is attached to the front of the cap using pocket screws so the front edge end-grain isn't shown. (3/27/06)

 
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