Phillip - what provides the support for the straight run threads on the upper half section?
Does not looks structurally sound. Are you going to win the fight against gravity. What is its rated capacity? Looks nice, I like the finish and attention to detail, which makes me think there is something for support which is appearant.
This thing looks like it'll bounce like a diving board on that straight upper run. Wait 'til two fat men meet, stop and talk, and then tap their feet to the music. Can you say sympatheic vibrations? Where is the inspector on this?
Good luck. I hope it holds up for a long time. It would be interesting to set up a dial indicator on a post under a step see how much the outside of the middle step moves when someone is on it.
I applaud your sense of adventure! Is this something you engineered yourself? How much does it actually deflect? It seems with the way you've tied in the handrails, you are essentially making the floating outside curve function structurally as a solid wall. So perhaps it doesn't at all.
Sometimes I think we underestimate the strength of wood. For example, there are these 1920-s or so era ladders that are all wood, collapsible, and made with sticks that are like 3/4" square. No woodworker I know would dare build something that looks so frail, for a folding ladder no less! But as long as the screws stay snug, the things are solid, and last a long time. The slight dimensions not only make it light for carrying around, but lend the device an elegant aspect that thicker pieces would destroy.
Thanks for posting your photos,
this is truely a beautiful thing and as most are saying i hope that you took into consideration a hefty weighted person on the off chance that this person might be a little heavy stepper,i myself am one of those hefty people and also a former high steel worker but i can safely tell you i would be very careful on those steps.....once again very nice work
Steam-bent? and how did that work out for you... I just built some office furniture, with steam bent cherry and had problems with fracture...just curious...
Also, Do you have a standard way of terminating your stringers... building oak stairs and the question came up... what is ours or any one elses opinion...
It has come to my attention that some critic's are antagonistic in purpose. Opinions lacking recommendations offered as a positive guide for any action.
Risk requires courage, disregard of accepted standards. It's an act or process acquiring knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement. Particularity knowledge or skills, as for a trade, or professional occupation, I pursue in which such interest is shown as distinguished from some amateurs.
Not only did I build the staircase, I supervised the construction of this home for which it sits in. This took a team of construction workers for which I'm thankful for. Plans, permits, and an approval from the building inspectors as well as the home owners.
I'm all with You ! Some criticise because it's different and not "Standard" like theirs, that's only lack of understanding. Anyone can copy but not many can create ! Nice, unique piece of work.
How much defelection when someone is on the middle step. I do not understand all that phycological stuff, I am a male...
Risk? Courage? Disregard of accepted standards? Are we curing cancer or trying to get from one floor to the other? Is this the time to develop reasoning and judgement? Shouldn't those skills already be in hand?
Despite the babble, there are accepted methods and standards as well as people's expectations. If your homeowners are ok with that obvious bounce, so be it.
I don't mean to be harsh, but I said what I was thinking when I saw the photo of that run. Others thought the same, too, but didn't post as I did. I have built custom curved and spiral stairs for 30 years, and have seen more than one seriously compromised design in my travels. Don't confuse heroics with lack of precedent. There is usually a reason why it hasn't beeen done that way before - not because of lack of courage, but simple structural engineering. It is not responsible - in my opinion - to make stairs that bounce, since most peoples' assessment of successful work would exclude bounce.
Don't listen to the cynics of this crazy world of ours. I am also a carpenter, have been for over 22 years now. Your staircase is sure genious! Good for you Phil. Keep being creative.
You get an A+ for creativity.You have created a hybred. A straight boxed open rise,with a spiral,with a floating stair with a curved ? suspended by ?sky hooks???
Exactly what building code in what state did this hybred pass?
I suspect this is your home or that of friend or family. true?
The work looks great! . Especialy for being built in a garage on site.
All "legalease" & "Pomobable" as in post #25 aside, your work speakes for itself.
Time & usage will be its ultimate judge
I hope you are insured. Time and use may not rule in your favor.
I think there are some optical illusions, look closely at the photos (I figured it out the second time I looked at them) I am sure It is very sturdy and would hold up for a very long time
Picture a 2 1/4" thick x 12" wide X 40" long glue laminated cherry wood board (the step). Can you bend or twist such a board ? Now insert this board thru one of the holes in the stringer,also applying gorilla glue within this hole,(each hole has 65 sq.inches of glued surface area),and secure with four 3.5" finish nails,then let dry. Understand this stringer is 2 1/4" thick x 14"wide x approx. 6 feet long,and secured w/ (2) 5/8" bolts w/washers & nuts at each post (pic.#16). Next are the balusters. If you notice there's a threaded rod in the middle (pic#17). after installation this helps secure the steps to the other steps above and below (pic.#18). So as you apply weight on a step,it is distributed to the other steps. As far as the handrail. Well picture a suspension bridge,and all the cables that come down to hold up the platform,or better a swing set were there are four legs that holds a beam up, and two ropes w/ a seat to hold up a person.The balusters and handrail work in this fashion. This is why the handrail is so large, it functions as a beam.I notice Bryan Northrop discribed it a little different, but hey, you cought on to it Bryan, way to go!Also this is why I did not have to put any kind of riser,or support underneath each step it just wasn't needed.So the big question. Is there any bounce? NO. Some vibrations,but no bounce,the handrail would have to bend to make that happen.Sorry I haven't been able to write sooner, I've been working between three other homes,and Doug thanks for your concern, everything is well insured.
Beautiful work! It looks great. However, this is a bit bothersome:
"Risk requires courage, disregard of accepted standards"
Accepted standards exist for a reason, that is, disregard of them is a recipe for trouble. For instance:
Assume an unknown serious flaw in the wood in the handrail on the upper course.
A kid spills some water on the treads near the tenons, but doesn't tell anyone. A little rot ensues, loosening some tenons.
Wear and tear further weaken the handrail over many years.
A large, very heavy piece of furniture is being moved down the stairs by 4 large guys. It slips and falls and strikes the handrail in the middle of the upper course with a force of many thousands of pounds per square inch, snapping the handrail like a twig, then landing on the tread, popping the tenon out.
Collapse, death and bankruptcy ensue.
A sign-off by an inspector ain't gonna win the inevitable lawsuit.
Now, if the upper handrail was built around solid steel, I'd say you're OK. But, it wasn't.
Many more Lawyers like yourself is just what we need...... NOT
Phil nice work ,when i looked at the pictures you posted first i could see where the weight was being transford to it looks great .dont mind other people being negitive it seems to be a regular thing with people that have trouble figureing out how to build not the normal stuff. keep up the great work.and post again.
frank lloyd wright had the same problem with negitive people
And the story behind the Loretto Chapel
Mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel, the identity of its builder, and the physics of the staircase construction.
When the Loretto Chapel was completed, there was no way to access the choir loft, 22 feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.
To find a solution to the problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. Legend says on the ninth and final day of prayer, a man showed up at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later the elegant circular staircase was completed and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself.
The stairway's carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.
The staircase has two 360 degree turns and has no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails -- only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers compared to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.
Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including "Unsolved Mysteries" and the Kraft movie called "The Staircase".
Oh no! Not the infamous "Miracle Staircase!!" I can't beleive it is now thrust into this thread.
The Loretto Chapel tourist trap, complete with gift shop, has long been the subject of wishful thinking and poor logic - but good press. There are similar "miracle" stairs in churches throughout Europe, and all will welcome your visit and ensuing donation.
There is, of course, no magic or mystical reason for the stair, just plain old, unglamorous logic. The average person looks at the attractive double helix and is amazed because they don't understand how it works. This invites myth and spiritual reasons to explain the phenomena. Just as aliens had to build the Pyramids (how else could they be done?), an unknown carpenter rode in from the desert to answer prayers.
Ironic that we forget so easily that people can build marvelous things with developed tech and head and hand. That quasi-religion mystique be tacked on for credibility (?), and the ensuing mystery be repeated ad nauseum does not make for fact.
While the wishful thinking evident in the marketing plan of the Miracle Stair is similar to the disregard of the facts in the Art Deco stair above, neither is structurally sound or worthy of outsize praise just because they appear to be outside the common.
I like to sudy those "miracle" stairs in the churches of Europe.Could you tell me were they are?
One word "Bitchin". your mechanics are great, spilled water on joint with poly glue, yeah right! Keep it up.
Iam not and expert at all this kind of stuff. I studied the pictures very long and one thing really isnt right. If you look at them long enough you will find that the staircase is 5 INCHES OUT OF SQUARE. I will add that the sanding on this item is the best I have ever seen
I never let negative responses get me down -- I face that all the time with the work I do. Getting outside the box means that you are not with the norm. That is what makes life exciting, don't you think? If it takes being with the norm to be accepted then I'm not accepted-- what the 'heck'!
The world of new inovation was not built by people still in the box-- I kinda of call them square anyway! Instead, it was built by dreamers that dreamed up an idea and made it reality. Doing something different may rub shoulders-- it's just that they (the ones in the box) didn't think of it first. The inovators names are the ones that go down in history-- the others guys just get buried in a--the box!!!
Nevertheless, Its a great looking piece of work, Philip ---congratulations from another that stays outside of the box.
Great stairway, we did a kind of floating stairway with two steel runners and 8/4 ash treads. We tapered the treads so the actualy look kind of thin. Anyone of large size looks at it with some trepidation, but it doesn't even flex under a heavy load. People seem to underestimate the strength of real wood anymore.
If interested in other projects I've completed. Check out Alder Staircase posted 5/27
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