As joinery specialists we are always happy to be approached with new or unique designs that provide a challenge. We were not disappointed when we were contacted by RAM properties to construct and install the main feature staircase for a large dwelling that was under construction in Cheshire.
The staircase was to be made all in solid American oak, and although quite a standard “L” shape the client had requested that there be as much character in the steps and first floor gallery as possible. The design had already been drawn by the architect and showed a curved front to each and every step with oversized primary steps that would create a “Wow” factor as you enter the front door. The first floor gallery was to return 180 degrees from the right hand side and 90 degrees from the left then curve back a further 90 degrees to the gallery wall.
Despite the curving handrail and stair treads being a relatively simple operation that was carried out precisely by our CNC router, the real challenge was poised by the risers which would have to bend to match the curvature of the treads. However, as most timbers afford little or no natural movement before breaking, a solution to overcome this had to be employed. To accommodate the lack of natural flexibility we reduced the section of the risers to a mere 6mm which would facilitate the degree of curve required. This reduction provided the required effect and style but resulted in a severe lack in structural strength. The strength was regained by laminating flexible plywood to the back of the oak stair risers then gluing them together in a jig. The end product was a riser that held the required shape and didn’t need to be forced into place.
As a grand staircase the flight was manufactured at an overall width of 1200mm. Newel posts and spindles were 115mm and 55mm respectively with simple chamfers and flutes rather than the more traditional turned designs. The end product matched the architects design precisely and most importantly made the statement that Andy from RAM properties and his client had requested. Some months later when all the internal decoration and stair polishing had been completed we were invited to take photographs of the finished article.
Many thanks to RAM properties for entrusting us with the construction of such a beautiful staircase.