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Thread: Adventures in DIY

  1. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    What is that rectangular hole in the wall on the bottom left in #8? Cat access portal?
    An uncovered vent?
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  2. #92
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    In his post he says it is indeed a cat access portal.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by geonuc View Post
    What is that rectangular hole in the wall on the bottom left in #8? Cat access portal?
    Yep! Quoting myself out of laziness:

    To the left of the stairs, you can see a small doorway into the closet created for one of our cats, Abigail (1). She has a fascination with the closet and used to demand that we open the door for her. She also got shut in for the day a few times. Now she can come and go as she pleases.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  4. #94
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    That'll teach me to read more carefully!
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Yep! Quoting myself out of laziness:
    Sorry, I guess I was just looking at the pictures!

    I approve. My house features a cat tunnel through adjoining closets which allows the critters to come and go to the master bedroom even when the door is closed.

  6. #96
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    Just a small update...

    After I tore out the old stair railing, I made a temporary newel post and gave the top a shallow pyramid shape as a way of relieving the edges...and for a little interim style. The wife liked it, so I decided to carry that detail into the finished newel. Cutting the cap from a solid block would result in two sides having edge grain while the other two sides would have end grain. To have edge grain all around, I need to glue up a blank. After cutting four 45-90-45 triangles, I glued them together in pairs (11). Small triangular blocks were glued to the edges to apply clamping pressure perpendicular to the glue joints. These glued pairs were then trued up and glued together (12). After the glue cured, the clamping blocks were sawn off and the blank was cut to rough size.

    (11) (12)

    After playing with a couple of designs in Sketchup, I settled on a pyramid angle of 10°. To safely make those cuts on such a small piece using my table saw, I built a quick jig using some scrap MDF (medium density fiberboard) and woodworker's superglue. The jig acted as a carriage, keeping the workpiece square and tight to the fence, while allowing me to feed it positively and smoothly with my fingers well clear of the blade. Other than taking off slightly more than I meant to (no big deal) the cuts went as planned. Four swipes over the jointer set at just 1/64-inch made it smooth enough to call done for now...at least until the time comes for final finishing.

    (13) (14)

    The grain matching came out a little better than I expected, considering the board's face grain is from the flat sawn portion of the parent board I milled it from.

    Next step: mill the trim molding. That's on hold for a few days until I receive an order from Rockler. I need to improve the dust collection on my router table.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  7. #97
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    More progress on the newel post today: trim.

    (15) (16)

    I milled four moldings (15) but the second from the left won't be used, since I liked #3 better. I mitered them and glued/pinned them to the box newel (16). This gave me another chance to use my new pneumatic pin nailer. The previously made cap was to have been in place as well but I mis-cut it during fitting. So, I'm in the process of repeating (11)-(14). With the first attempt now being a trial run, this one should go more quickly. I'm glad I didn't pitch my cutting jig.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  8. #98
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    It's so nice when I'm right. The newel cap do-over went much quicker this time. I completed the two glue-ups last night and finished it off this morning: sizing, shaping, and gluing it in place.

    (17)

    Looks like it might be time to work on a handrail.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  9. #99
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    Looks great! I wish I had carpentry skills.
    Solfe

  10. #100
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    (this is completely off topic but that is a beautiful rainbow trout you've got there)

  11. #101
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    Thanks, marten. I liked him so much, I gave him a name: lunch.

    Progress update for the weekend...

    I got a start on building the jig for cutting the treads with return nosings, and put the lower handrail together.



    The upper handrail will be a snap by comparison: two angled cuts and a straight run from newel to wall. The lower railing has two return ends, and up/down easings that had to be cut to match the pitch of the stairs. Then they were all glued & bolted together. Sanding is in progress.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  12. #102
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    Pondering moving across the continent, I came up with the idea of setting up a camera to take pictures at intervals of multiple seconds along the way, to be combined into a video playing back at a normal frame rate, which would look like going coast to coast in several minutes. One thing that would have been serendipitous is that a camera just inside the top of the windshield of the rental truck would often have a better view than in a car, because the truck is taller than cars. I'm not doing that yet, but I'm about to take a shorter trip that would make a good test run, in my car. I'm thinking of elevating the camera through the sunroof. Building a wooden housing for it with a Lucite front cover is simple enough. I can easily enough make two rectangular cutouts for the inside & outside and clamp them together through the opening, then unclamp them when I'm back home. The problem is the curvature of the roof and the hardness & roughness of the wood; I'd have gaps and scratch the metal up if I did this without some kind of gasket, but it would need to be something pretty thick and tough...

  13. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Sanding is in progress.
    ...and the sanding is done. Time for stain and finish. With so many pieces, though, I don't have room to spread them all out. So yesterday, I built a drying/storage rack:



    Once I sort out the stain color on a few scraps I saved, I'll start finishing en masse.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  14. #104
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    Man, that's one steep staircase. (re-reads post) Oh, drying rack. Carry on.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  15. #105
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    We interrupt this project to bring you...another project.

    During our summer trip to Homer, my wife found some moose-looking wrought iron coat hooks that she liked. Since a robe rack was on the get-around-to-it list for the master bath remodel, we brought them home. When we were out on a shopping day a couple of weeks ago, she actually (actually!) accompanied me to our local woodworkers supply and while there, found a piece of pine in the cut-off bin that she liked looks of. Today, I took some time out from the stairs to bring the two of them together. It's a simple project but since I wanted to visualize the proportions, I whipped up a SketchUp model yesterday:



    I knocked out the milling, cutting, and sanding this morning and the first coat of a whitewash finish is drying now.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  16. #106
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    Finally, some more real progress:



    This morning, I replaced the old temporary treads with plywood sub-treads and glued the finished treads to those. I'll fit the trim nosing to the landing tomorrow.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  17. #107
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    Very pretty, congrats! I wish I could do that, I need stairs and they're going to cost a lot of money because I have to hire someone.

  18. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetersCreek View Post
    Finally, some more real progress:



    This morning, I replaced the old temporary treads with plywood sub-treads and glued the finished treads to those. I'll fit the trim nosing to the landing tomorrow.
    Very nice! Now you just need to find a way to prevent people actually walking on them, or they'll never look as good again!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  19. #109
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    Very nice! Now you just need to find a way to prevent people actually walking on them, or they'll never look as good again!
    Thanks. We thought of that and ordered some protection a while back. This shot shows the nosing trim I fitted on the landing today and the braided 'ruglets' that should prolong finish life.

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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  20. #110
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    You've just triggered my fear of falling, which I've had since my accident two years ago. I hope those are stuck down REALLY well.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  21. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    You've just triggered my fear of falling, which I've had since my accident two years ago. I hope those are stuck down REALLY well.
    Not yet but they will be. They have a very effective nonslip backing but I assume they will become less effective as they age, pick up dust, etc. Once work is done, I'll place them more securely with rug tape.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  22. #112
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    Also, if they would be able to move, they'd ruin the finish even faster as they'd grind the dust and sand against the finish.

  23. #113
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    Two of the skirt boards are coped, primed, and installed:



    I'm in the process of filling nail holes and a joint. I''ll paint it once I get some cardboard to fashion a cat barrier.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  24. #114
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    You almost need to give me a trigger warning on those pictures. Because of my fall two years ago, those rugs give me the heebie jeebies. Regardless of how well they're fastened down.

    I almost asked what the opening to the left of the stairs is but then remembered that came up before and scrolled up.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

  25. #115
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    Trigger Warning, Treb!

    Just a little more progress. The inside skirting (shown) is now painted and I installed four treads on the upper run over the last couple of evenings...two one night and two the next so we could step over them while the adhesive cured. After I tweak the top tread I'll install that and the bottom tread, then get to work on the railing.

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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  26. #116
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    A question: each of your treads have a relatively small nose attached and that nose piece seems to wholly extend beyond the riser. Doesn't that make it more likely that the nose will break away over time as pressure is applied by people stepping on the end of the tread? I would think you'd want solid, one-piece boards with the edges rounded. This is a question, not an opinion. Although I do a lot of woodworking, I have no particular expertise with stair design.

  27. #117
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    The nosing is a 1-inch bullnose with an integrated quarter round moulding beneath it, so there's quite a bit of support there. Also, most woods fail themselves before a good PVA glue joint. Finally, the tread/moulding is fixed to the sub tread and riser with urethane construction adhesive. With all that, I'm not too concerned.

    If I were to be concerned, it might be for the return nosings, since they are glued to the tread's edge grain. But I sized the end grain before gluing and they are also adhered to the skirt boards. Besides, they are non-weight bearing.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  28. #118
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    It's looking good, no doubt. Thanks for the reply.

  29. #119
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    Thanks and no problem. I actually would have done it the way you mentioned had I known the remodel would go the way it did. The stairs were originally carpeted and we purchased these retrofit treads thinking we would install them over the then-existing sub treads. However, the stringers were in bad shape so I completely rebuilt them. If I hadn't already had the retros on hand, I would have just bought solid wood and milled the profiles myself. It would have been easier.

    Even so, I think I might have milled the nosing separately from the treads on the upper run since that would simplify mitering of the return nosing. I'd have the advantage of dealing with a full thickness tread though and likely would have joined it with tongue & groove or biscuits for added strength.
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

  30. #120
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    Jump forward to last weekend. Since my last update, I finished laying in all of the treads. I installed the newel post and handrail last weekend and over a couple of nights this week, I put in the balusters. It was nice that it wasn't a huge physical challenge but resulted in a lot of visual progress. It's always nice to make curly shavings with a plane or two and finesse a joint with good, sharp chisel. I also got to play with my laser level to lay out the baluster locations. The remaining skirt boards and baseboard trim are up next.



    Today, I took a break from the stairs to do a little maintenance that was more physically demanding. One of the torsion springs broke on our garage door a couple of weeks ago and I finally picked up the replacement springs this week. (When one breaks, replace both.) I finished in what is a blazing fast time for me. I started at about 8:45 was done by 12:30 and that included a trip into Eagle River for a length of 7/16-inch steel bar needed to detension the unbroken spring. (The new springs take 1/2-inch winding bars.) After so many trips up and down the ladder...deburring the shaft, removing the old springs and other hardware, installing and tensioning the new springs, and readjusting them to balance the door...I was hurting. I took some analgesics and other meds and chased them with a really long, really hot shower. I would have used the alone time for a bit of a cry, too if I weren't the manliest of men and a champion of home improvement. (One or more of those last two statements may have been tongue-in-cheek.)
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    Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all. — Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881)

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