Stairs; Posts; Ribs and Iris’

How is your weekend going?  I would say mine is going way too fast.  Posting about the Dream House has been sparse as I haven’t been making a bunch of progress, but I thought I would give you a little update.

The stairs have really been a challenge for me.  A little back ground for all those that haven’t read all my posts.  My husband (Lynn) built the framework for the stairs which is sturdy and strong.  A mite complicated for me, but then I am only a novice and have been in this apprenticeship program for only 20 years. 🙂  Anyway, the contractor put down temporary treads and risers made from OSB.  They had a sub that gave an estimate for the stairs along with the railings.  What we got was the railings and just the stair overlay for the railings, with about a quarter of a stair.  A picture will help you get what I am talking about.

Railing and quarter step
Railing and quarter step

This was not what we thought we were getting.  We thought we were getting a full stair and installed.  Guess we needed to read the fine print.  Even the general contractor was surprised.  First by the fact that that was all we were getting, secondly, that the sub wasn’t installing it.  Which meant that the general contractor had to install it.  It was not what either of us thought we were getting.  The general contractor was awesome because they knew we were in a set budget so they did it.  They were the greatest.

I spent several unsuccessful days arguing with sub about this.  They said because I was going to have a runner that they thought the carpet was going to be from the 1/4 stair to the wall, so that was what their estimate assumed.  Unfortunately, I lost that battle.  When you think you are getting stairs, you don’t expect them to be a portion of a stair.  Hemlock was the wood that was used in their overlay and it was 1/2 inch.  They gave me an estimate of about $12oo to furnish the remaining false treads, and we still needed to install them ourselves.  It was very frustrating arguing with them because I truly felt like I was being talked down to as they told me that putting on the false tread, then putting the runner over it would not be as strong as just putting the carpet to the wall.  What!!  I know he was handing me a load of crap, and I told him so in a in a nice way, but it sure got my hackles up.  Made me bristle, so there was no way I was going to spend another dime with them.

Okay, now I am left with needing to find something that would match with what I had.  So, I went to my “go to place” Home Depot online and found false treads for stairs made out of oak.  Actually better wood, the only problem was that they were 11/16 inches thick.  I had concerns about the grains matching and how to get them to be flush with the 1/2 step ends that were already installed.

I ordered one-step-set to see if I could make it work before I purchased all of them.

They stained beautifully and they will match when I put another coat on the ends.  But the thickness was a real problem.  Here are more photos of what I am looking at:

Stairs with bottom step just laid on.
Stairs with bottom step just laid on.
A better look at the bottom step
A better look at the bottom step
The seem that will be covered up with a runner.
The seam that will be covered up with a runner.

I was only looking at the solution from one angle (taking that 3/16 off the OSB) until yesterday when I was doing massive amounts of work to make them mesh.  My initial thoughts were to take the OSB thickness and sand it down 3/16 so the seams would be flush.  I started out with a palm sander (easier for my small hands).  That didn’t do very well with 60 grit sandpaper.  Then Lynn has an orbital sander (heavy duty) with 40 grit, so I tried that.  That thing would get away from me.  I was covered in sawdust even with a face mask, then a scarf tied around my nose and mouth.  You know like the cowboys wear when they are robbing a stage coach.  It was still taking forever, plus it left the corners to be sanded.  Next I tried a Dremel tool that I bought just for this purpose, but using it a slightly different way.

Tools to handle the stairs.  Palm sander; rotary sander; Dremel Oscillating saw tool
Tools to handle the stairs. Palm sander; rotary sander; Dremel Oscillating Saw tool

I planned to use the oscillating saw to actually remove the OSB step and replace it with a thinner piece.  That was my first idea when my co-worker, Preston, said that it would weaken the stair because it wouldn’t line up over the stringer on the balustrade side when I replaced the OSB.  He understands my brain and how to explain things so I understand them.  Okay, that option out the window.  Besides they glued the steps down and they would be a challenge to take them up.

So yesterday, while covered in saw dust, I was seriously considering taking that mill sub-contractor to small claims court.  I am not a litigious person but the harder I had to work to get this done right, the madder I get.  Lynn and I were thinking of other options.  He thought about making a pass on the false tread with the table saw and then I could use my Dremel tool like a chisel and match it.  Which would have still been labor intensive.  While he was explaining that to me, I had an epiphany.  The idea was to take his dado saw on his table saw (which I don’t think he has ever used) and set it to take off the 3/16 to make it the same thickness.  I had discarded that option originally as the steps come with a bull-nose cove molding and a lip that hangs over about a 1/2 inch.  But by adding a strip to stabilize it, it can be run through the table saw and adjust the fence each time until you get it cut down.  That is doable.  I have used a table saw, but it was many years ago, so I defer all the sawing to Lynn.

Now we have a plan that will keep Lynn busy this week, cutting the boards to size and thickness.  I will then stain them and put them on.  Now the trick is to get Lynn to actually go out in the shop and do it.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

Also, today I decided to go outside and trim my Iris’.

Trimming the Iris'
Trimming the Iris’
What a job.  Love my Iris' in the spring.
What a job. Love my Iris’ in the spring.

Got a little bit of that done, but got sidetracked with replacing fence posts and cutting down star-thistle around the stock tank.  My son and grandson, Steven and Leon, did all the heavy lifting and digging on the posts.  Then they hauled some boards from the side of the porch.  Gotta put those boys to work when I can.  Can’t let that opportunity pass.  Now they are watching the Seahawks game and we have ribs in the oven.  So this is going to be a good day.  🙂

Okay, I’m back to finish what I started a few hours ago.  Had to take time to eat those ribs and fried potatoes.  The boys have gone home to chill out.  I tried to get some photos of them, but Leon really wouldn’t cooperate.  Wanted to get a picture of them with the posts that they put in.  All Leon wanted to do was show me his back side, as he said, his good side.  Kids they never cooperate.

Steven and Leon.  Leon's shirt has the letters DGK and he told me what it means, but I forget.
Steven and Leon. Leon’s shirt has the letters DGK and he told me what it means, but I forget.
What I really like is the story about the letters on the shirt, his mother bought for him, thinking the plants on the shirt were Japanese Elm leaves.  Um, nope, that not what they are.  Tae is such a sweetie.  Though the leaves really do look like Japanese Elm leaves.
What I really like is the story about the letters on the shirt, his mother bought for him, thinking the plants on the shirt were Japanese Elm leaves. Um, nope, that’s not what they are. Tae is such a sweetie. Though the leaves really do look like Japanese Elm leaves.
Having a hard time getting them to pose for photos.  Oh, well, Leon is studying his football plays.
Having a hard time getting them to pose for photos. Oh, well, Leon is studying his football plays.

Well, that puts me at the end of this blog post.  Thanks for stopping by for a visit.

Annie, the stair master.

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One thought on “Stairs; Posts; Ribs and Iris’

  1. Pingback: Stairs; Posts; Ribs and Iris’ | 15yearsandcountingdream

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