Raised-Panel Wainscoting for a Spiral Stairwell
true frame-and-panel wainscoting with concave panels rising up a spiral staircase. Woodweb's top trimwork minds chime in on this one for a top-flight discussion of a very tricky topic. July 9, 2007

Circular Stairway-Side Children's Slide Conundrum
This stair-builders' thread about how to fabricate a slide that wraps around the outside of a spiral staircase morphs into a more general expert discussion about spiral staircases and handrails, with lots of nice photos. November 2, 2010

Installation Tips for Stair Treads, Risers, and Banisters
A skilled, experienced finish, cabinet and furniture man is looking at his first-ever staircase and it's already framed. His questions set off a long discussion on stair construction techniques. November 19, 2005

Reinforcing Stair Stringers with Epoxy
Here's a convoluted and somewhat contentious, but also informative, thread that is mostly about using fiberglass and epoxy to stiffen stair stringers. July 7, 2011

Troubleshooting Adhesion Failure in Conversion Varnish Over Lacquer
Conversion varnish needs a mechanical bond. Here, pros analyze a case where it's not sticking. May 17, 2005

Scribing Skirt Boards (Step By Step Photo Essay)
Carl Hagstrom's detailed step-by-step photo essay (starring Carl's younger and better-looking stunt double) showing how to scribe a skirt board for a staircase stimulates a well-informed expert discussion of site and factory stair-building methods. February 15, 2015

Bending Stair Rail in Three Dimensions
Experienced stair rail professionals weigh in on a deep and complex subject multi-dimensional wood bending in this long, detailed thread. February 25, 2009

Correcting Stair Riser Height in Place
An old stair stringer with incorrect riser dimensions needs fixing, on site. Here's a long discussion about how to do it. July 30, 2009


Helical Handrail Math for Spiral Stairs
Woodworkers puzzle over the twisted math involved in making a profiled handrail follow the curve of a spiral stair. January 26, 2008

Stair Rail Bending Methods
This discussion of bending wood and curved laminations benefits by the addition of some excellent old book recommendations. February 23, 2010

Crafting Stair Tread Returns
Here's a long thread loaded with good information about how to craft returns on the end of stair treads. August 12, 2014

Fabricating Stair Treads from Reclaimed Lumber
Woodworkers discuss ways to turn reclaimed sawn boards into stair treads for a house. February 6, 2010

Joining a Rail to a Newel Cap
The joint where a handrail meets a profiled newel cap is a real head-scratcher. Here, experienced stair rail carpenters explain the fine points. August 12, 2007

Math for Helical Stair Parts
Pros find and discuss a formula for figuring helixes (it's a real head-scratcher). April 11, 2005

Antique Machinery and Stair Rail Fabrication
The old machinery is cool, but it can't compete with modern CNC equipment for productivity (or safety). October 19, 2013

Custom Handrailing for an Awkward Winder
How do you make a good-looking and practical handrail for a stair winder that looks awkward and doesn't meet code? Here, top craftsmen take their best shot at solving the problem. February 15, 2015

Custom On-Site Stair Fabrication Puzzle
Woodwork installers consider a special case where a craftsman has to complete designer stairs on site, when the rough framing is already in place. August 11, 2009

Machinery and Methods for Creating Complex Stair Rail Shapes
Here's a long and detailed thread with photos about the production choices for crafting complex custom railing shapes. June 8, 2011

Helical Stair-Rail Science
Pros puzzle through the complexities of following a spiral stairway's curve using round stair rail. March 5, 2008

Veneering MDO for Stair Treads
A question about whether MDO could be stable if veneered on only one side, continues on into a deeper debate about the suitability of veneered material for stair treads. July 29, 2012

Free-Standing Spiral Stairs
A long and winding thread about winding stairs. April 29, 2010

Creating a Spiral Staircase Handrail
Here's a step-by-step how-to on laying out and assembling handrails for spiral stairs. August 2, 2008

Methods and Materials for an Outdoor Curved Stair
A woodworker gets advice about replacing a beautiful and well-made outdoor curved stair. April 22, 2014

Fastening Retrofit Stair Treads
Installers discuss how to fasten replacement oak stair treads to an existing old stringer so as to minimize squeaking. September 5, 2006

Helical Stair Math
Whether to calculate a twisty stair, draw it full scale and measure, or have the parts made with a CNC. December 24, 2009

Tread Return Details for a Free-Standing Curved Staircase
Here's a complex and detailed discussion of stair tread fabrication for a high-end custom curved staircase, open on both sides. November 26, 2007

Curved Handrail Glue-Up Tips
A discussion of glue selection for a bent railing lamination glue-up, and other advice on the work. December 14, 2009

Curved Stair Railings 101
A first-timer seeks advice from the old hands on fabricating and installing a curved banister. October 4, 2005

Working with Iron Balusters
Installers share tips on laying out, cutting, and fitting metal balusters to a wood staircase and banister. August 2, 2005

Learning Complex Handrail Concepts
Here's a great conversation where an advanced woodworker sits down with a beginner to walk him through some complicated, old-school curved carpentry and joinery. October 3, 2011

Housed Versus Butted Stair Stringers
Pros give tips on staircase construction. April 11, 2005

Making Square and Octagonal Handrail Caps
Is a CNC router or an old-school rotary lathe the best way to machine a profiled square cap for a newel post? February 27, 2015

Beyond the Spiral: Serpentine Stair Example
Here's a quick tour (concept to finished product) of an ambitious free-standing staircase project that includes opposite curves. January 12, 2012

Exterior Curved Handrails
Some general thoughts on materials and methods for constructing a custom curved handrail for a set of front entry steps on a historic home. February 1, 2015

Wood Selection for Laminated Curved Stair Stringers
Here's a discussion about the structural considerations involved in making a glued-up stringer for a curved staircase. September 15, 2011

Using Bending Rail on a Spiral Staircase
Advice on using the steel rail on a steel staircase as a form for clamping flexible rail strips for laminated glue-up. December 24, 2009

Stain-Grade Soffit for the Underside of a Curved Staircase
Suggestions for a very challenging stair project. July 29, 2011

Stair Tread Returns
Tips on applying returns to the end of stair treads. December 26, 2006

Kerfing and Bending Curved Stair Risers
Woodworkers describe in detail their techniques for fabricating curved stair risers. July 27, 2008

Building Up New Stair Treads
Woodworkers discuss techniques for applying new stair treads over the top of existing stairs. November 26, 2007

Moulder and Shaper Setup for Curved Work
Wrestling with the issues of machining complex curved stair-rail parts. May 11, 2011

Protecting Stairs on Site During Construction
Techniques for protecting newly built stairs from dings and damage while work goes on in the house. February 13, 2013

Railing to Newel Transition
Advice on turning and terminating a handrail at the upper newel post. April 4, 2011

Fabricating a Radius Stair Tread
Woodworkers suggest various approaches to creating a large curved stair tread. February 16, 2014

Bullnose Stair Tread Returns
Several ways to get a perfect return. April 14, 2005

Routing Mortises to Receive Treads in Curved Stair Stringers
Advanced and tricks for routing housed stair-tread mortises into curved stringers. June 3, 2007

Glue Choices for Curved Railing Glue-Ups
A discussion of suitable adhesives for curved stair railing laminations. Long open time and minimal spring-back are the issues. December 6, 2008

How to Deal with Stair-Tread Glue Joint Failure
Shrinking Jatoba wood stair treads are failing at the glue line. Here's a discussion of the causes, with ideas for prevention or repair. December 6, 2007

Walnut Substitute for Handrail Work
Should a stair builder use Walnut for a custom handrail, or look for a suitable alternative? September 23, 2008

Curved Stairs Riser and Tread Dimensions
Stair geometry is tricky even on a straight run. Here, woodworkers wrap their heads around a curved staircase layout question. December 7, 2007

Re-Facing a Stair Stringer
A woodworker needs to apply a veneered face to an existing stair stringer. Here's the advice he receives on scribing and fitting. October 27, 2008

Making a Template for Winding Stair Stringers
Woodworkers discuss ways to make a template for a complex stairmaking operation. September 23, 2008

Glue for Joining Handrail Pieces
Advice on getting a good solid joint when connecting handrail sections. May 12, 2008

Volutes and Easements: Custom Versus Stock
Complex stair rail parts: make or buy? February 8, 2008

Hand Profiling a Helical Handrail
Tips and tricks for putting a profile on a spiral-stair handrail using a hand-held router. March 24, 2008

Fabricating Spiral Stair Handrails
More good advice on one of the most challenging tasks in woodworking: making handrails for a spiral staircase. May 26, 2008

Using a Stair-Stringer Router Template
Basic directions for using a manufactured router template to route out stringers for fully-housed stair treads. October 19, 2006

Tangent Handrail Class
Tips from a class on tangent handrail fabrication, presented by expert Jim Baldwin. July 28, 2012

Attaching a Newel Post to Concrete
Tips and techniques for setting a newel post in an existing concrete slab floor. August 7, 2006

Laminated Exterior Stair Stringer Details
Some ideas for constructing exterior spiral stairs, with a wrinkle (stone treads and a stucco cladding).October 19, 2013

Making Stair Rail on a Shaper
A shaper owner asks for advice on making handrail stock. February 8, 2008

Open Stringer Stair Construction
Construction suggestions for an architect-specified open-stringer stair with plywood stringers and walnut treads. October 19, 2013

Lining Up Stair Rail Dowel Joints
Ideas for jigs to ensure accurate placement of dowels at a butt joint in a stair rail. December 7, 2007

Rot Resistance of White Pine Versus White Spruce
Unless it's old-growth heartwood, neither species is particularly durable in outdoor exposures. March 28, 2010

Curved Stair Rail and Stringer Bending Frames
Advice on making a full-scale adjustable template for bending stair parts, or on buying a manufactured system. February 25, 2009

Wide Solid Wood Stair Treads
Relief cuts on the underside of a wide stair tread can reduce the risk of cupping in service. April 4, 2011

Handrail to Newel Connection Tips
Advice on joining a handrail to the newel post. February 10, 2009

Detailing Stair Tread Ends
There's more than one way to bullnose the end of an open stair tread. November 19, 2006

Pocket Screws for Stair Assembly
Advice on fastener choice for screwing treads to risers from the back side. December 28, 2014

Spiral Stair Kit Sources
Advice on shopping for a spiral staircase package. March 26, 2010

Left Versus Right Volutes
The difference is based on standing at the bottom of the stairs and looking up. May 12, 2008

Vacuum application FAQ
All aspects of vacuum and how it is used by the woodworker. March 18, 2002

Preventing Cupping in a Wide Board
Woodworkers discuss the "rip and flip" method, relief cuts, and similar methods of reducing wood movement. November 19, 2005

Troubleshooting Glue Joint Performance with Steamed and Bent Wood Glue-Ups
Lots of advice on the fine points of achieving solid glue joints when laminating steamed and bent wood. October 30, 2010

Moulding on a Curved Wall
Installing trim work along a curved staricase. February 28, 2004

Gluing and Clamping a Curved Laminated Stair Rail
A discussion of the fine points of glue choice, glue mixing, clamping methods, and allowing for springback. March 18, 2006

Curved Staircase and Rail Discussion
The Furniture-Making Forum takes on an architectural question: bending and laminating wood for curved stair projects. July 25, 2005

Eliminating springback problems
Determining the radius to aim for when creating a curve with vac-laminated plywood. September 23, 2003

Allowing for Springback in Laminated Railings
Pre-bent railings "uncoil" after unclamping. What's the solution? May 4, 2005

Clamping Methods for Stair Rail Miters
Advice on holding a glued joint tight without leaving visible marks. February 1, 2015

Staircase Standards
Standard heights and dimensions for stair parts. January 24, 2005

Flexboard for architectural panels
Stability and strength of flexboard and similar materials. November 24, 2002

Springback formula for bent laminations
Calculating springback of laminated parts. October 2, 2001

Curved Stairway Trim Job
Where chair rail meets moulding. February 28, 2004

Finishing Custom Staircase
Tips, tricks, and rituals. February 26, 2005

Baseboard Transition at the Top of a Stair
Wise advice from a pro helps a trim carpenter detail the juncture where hallway baseboard moulding turns and goes down a staircase. November 14, 2014

Curved Work - with Form Outside the Bag
Creating vacuum-pressed curved parts with the clamping form outside the vacuum bag. March 10, 2002

Glue failures
Adhesive failure can usually be traced to one of two causes: overly moist wood or defective glue. December 6, 2000

Wainscot for Stairs and Landings
A discussion of how to handle the tricky transitions brought on by stairway elevation changes. February 16, 2006