Friday, 3 July 2015

Upper Stairs Repairs

The repair of the third flight of stairs was next on the list of jobs to be undertaken this week. I've no "before" close ups of the steps, but the pictures below reveal a grim sight:



The treads were worn down and the nose of each tread needed to be replaced entirely. The job at hand was to sand down each tread to see the condition of the timber, followed by cutting out the damaged noses (both the front and side noses where required) and splicing in new timbers. The ballisters are then repositioned in the existing tread and a new side nose attached. Further work will continue with the splicing in of new wood to any gaps in the skirting board and the replacement of missing or incorrect ballisters (more detail below).

Seamus Martin of Sash Window Repairs began repair work on the third flight mid week. This is work well underway, with the treads sanded back and new front and side noses visible:


It's important to note that the stairs will be painted when they are completed; the intention isn't to stain the wood so the colour differences between timbers aren't significant.



Interestingly, the timber used in these new tread noses is period pitch pine salvaged from sash windows that Seamus has stored from past jobs. So it really is a case of replacing like with like:


The ballister's dovetail joint before the new side nose is reattached:


Interestingly on this tread, the top surface has worn down so much over the years that there is a very obvious dip in the center. Seamus spliced in the new nose and sanded it to match the dip in the tread:


One of the dovetail sockets:


Once sanded back, the steps have a beautifully clean finish:



The lower step required a lot of attention, as it understandably received a lot of traffic:



Seamus begins cutting out the damaged sections:



The finished product:



The entire stairs will be sanded back to give a smooth finish for painting.


Seamus' friend Brendan is skilled at wood turning and agreed to reproduce 17 new ballisters to replace missing, damaged or incorrect pieces.

The results are fantastic:



They have been reproduced with great accuracy, with regard for dimensions, profile and detail:




The 17 new ballisters include 5 entirely new pieces which will be reinstated at the very bottom of the stairs, replacing the later added Victorian knewl and topped with a salvaged (if possible) Georgian era monkey tailed rail.



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