Saturday, 5 March 2016

Front stairs, part 2

Last weekend I very deliberately avoided moving any further with front stairs because I couldn't stand more frustration. I wish somebody shares their experience of building front stairs because I just cannot imagine how this can be done. I stopped two weeks ago in high mood because I had managed to sand the banisters and glue them on, but when, the day after, I tried to glue the steps to the front arch they came off, and I realised there was no way they would stay glued because there was not enough surface to support them. This was the source of great distress, and that's why I kept myself busy with something else. However, I know that I need to finish it some day, and I just cannot admit that some pieces of MDF can totally defeat me as an intelligent human being. Therefore I gave up on instructions (insufficient anyway) and started thinking in my own way, based on the parts I had in front of me.

I needed something to hold the stairs and the front arch together, and ideally it would be small metal angle-bars, but I didn't have any and I didn't feel like going to ironmongers' just for that. I tried to make my own from sturdy tin foil, but it didn't work. So I decided to use square dowel.


I know it looks tremendously unprofessional, but nobody will ever see it, and it works!

The seams weren't neat, but I was going to cover them with skirting anyway. 


And then I faced the problem of the back arch. There was no way I could attach the back arch using the same technique - there was not enough space to work in. It wouldn't have stayed on if glued. It wouldn't fit precisely and would have to be cut and sanded in all eternity. Then suddenly it occurred to me that, with my new design, I could discard the back arch altogether. It seemed completely unnecessary; moreover, it obscured the lower entrance door (another miss from the manufacturer).

I hadn't noticed this before, probably because I was preoccupied with other issues. None of the available pictures show this detail. I now firmly believe that all pictures of assembled houses are photoshopped.

So off with the back arch!

I covered the seams with skirting, but I how had a problem with upper banister, and this is why I hadn't cut the skirting, which looks a bit weird. It had to be mitred, but I could not figure out the angle.


The upper banister needs to be flush with side banisters so that the rail can go over the upper edges of the side banisters. But the upper banister was half a centimeter higher than the side banister. Don't ask me why. Maybe another miss from manufacturer, maybe something I did wrong, but that was a fact.  Feeling rather terrified by my own boldness, I cut off 0.5 cm at the bottom of the upper banister. I did it bit by tiny bit with mitre shears because I knew I would never be able to saw it evenly.

The rest was so much cheating I am not even sure I want to share it. I had to trim the landing to fit between the stairs.


Then I had to mitre the skirting and the rail at irregular angles, covering my failures with filler. Again, it looks so straightforward when you look at finished pictures.

And yet, looking at the final result, I am quite pleased. There are small faults that are only visible on close inspection, and who will ever do that? I think back to my Christmas party over a year ago when everything was just held together with tack and masking tape, and people didn't notice. But I also think of someone who might one day look closely at every seam and say: "What kind of a sloppy person built this house!"

1 comment:

  1. and i would say.... its my house so mind your own!! Fantastic job and you must have the patients of a saint! I often go to bed trying to get my head around whatever drama i have with my house.