Mahogany Library Rolling Staircase


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We got both side frames all glued up today. The pictures I posted from the dry run clamp up came in handy. There were so many joints to get clamped up tight and perfectly aligned that already having the clamps ready for each angled joint was needed.

While I was waiting for the first half to set up for a couple of hours I tried out my new 3/4" radius Quadracut round over bit. Made a sample of the handrail and rounded the arches . The bit is 2" in diameter and has a max 16000 rpm so I grabbed my variable speed router from my little router table. It cut beautifully with no burns or tearout.

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Clamped up the second side and couldn't resist clamping the first one to the stairs just to take a look. Even with just a few clamps on it I could tell the railings are going to be quite strong .

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Got it delivered today!

After the fog dispersed I took a couple of close ups.

Finally got back to the staircase today. Had to flip it 3 different ways to get every nook and cranny stained. Only found 3 or 4 little spots where the glue had prevented the stain from soaking in. Sa

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Glad you understand the worry I had about them matching ! Cut each part to the exact same length . Marked each one the same and double checked, then triple checked ! Still almost put the lower cross member in backwards, twice ! If it rains tomorrow I think I'm going to go pull the clamps and see how well they match.

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Looks awesome Steve! Imagine having a huge horizontal bandsaw. That way, you could build the 2 railings as on in a thick block from start to finish. Then run it through the horizontal bandsaw and slice in half, revealing two identical railings. That would just be too easy though right?  :D

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I got the whole staircase dry fitted and clamped up today ! Took a few pictures but I need to crop and resize them for posting. Got a hot date tonight so it might be Sunday night until I can post them.

Everything came out rock solid. No flex in the handrails . I cautiously climbed to the top and felt very comfortable standing on the platform.

Between the relief of getting this assembled and my date tonight I should sleep very well !

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Great appetizers and then we went to dinner ! We got home early and I got the pictures edited.

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Standing on the platform I could almost touch the 16 ft warehouse ceiling. Of course the staircase is sitting on my outfeed/ assembly table.

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I like the way the arches look with the 3/4" round over .

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Thanks for the kind words!

Spent the day yesterday going over the entire piece marking for all the round over work to shape the edges. Handrails and arches are going to get 3/4" radius to be friendly to hands. All the posts just get an 1/8 radius to soften the corners. Then there is the transition between the 2 sizes on each post. That took some testing and careful layout of where to stop. I am going to clamp blocks on either side of the post to stop the bearing.

There were a bunch of places that needed to remain square for the final glue joints that bring the 2 side frames, staircase and all the crosspieces together. Those will have to be sanded and routed after the last glue up.

Not much to photograph at this stage.

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Really got the ball rolling today ! I had my girlfriend come by and try out the railings and general fit on the stairs. She is 4'8" tall and the client is about 5'2" so if Sue can be comfortable the client should be too !

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While she was there I got a picture of me on the stairs.

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Took it apart and went to town routing all the railings. You can see the upper part is routed, the lower part has the stop set up ready to be routed.

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Had to clamp on stop blocks to keep from rounding over too much of the vertical posts. So it was set up, route a short section, move and set up more stops and route again all afternoon.

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Had to make sure the router was supported to prevent it from tipping and gouging . It takes 4 passes with the router to get the round shape I am after. So after routing each post transition we have to flip the side frame and route the other side with the stop blocks in the exact same position.

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Side by side with a square stock side frame the effect of all the router work looks pretty good to me !

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Over 8 hours of sanding ! Had to to be done, wasn't fun. Pulled out every tool, grit and trick I knew and used them all.

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Blow all the dust off and found a few joints that were less than perfect . I am sure we all have those. Part of the joint slightly open or the edges were slightly chipped ? Time for the filler , but on open grained wood like walnut or mahogany if you are not careful you can end up with a section of smooth filled grain in an expanse of open pores which will stick out like a proverbial " turd in the punch bowl "

I tape off the area needing filler.

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And then use the filler

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Let it dry for 20 minutes or so before peeling the tape carefully (water based filler) and another 30 to 45 minutes and then it is back to more sanding( oh joy ! )

That's all I got for today guys !

With any luck we should be able to do the final assembly and glue up tomorrow.

I was curious how much this project was going to weigh. Brought in the bathroom scale and weighed up all the sanded parts, totaled up the numbers and 128 lbs of casters and mahogany surprised me. I was guessing closer to 300.

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