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Author Topic: spiral staircases  (Read 8174 times)

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Offline Thehardway

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spiral staircases
« on: December 06, 2007, 11:08:39 AM »
Any of you built spiral staircases?  Don't care if it was wood or steel, just trying to get some ideas and thoughts together.  Also did you run into any issues with code officials or things I need to watch?  I have looked at a number of pre-built ones on line and it looks like the min. radius is 3' 6" which would work fine for me. not sure how to calculate tread depth and nosing dimensions in a circular setup.  I need a compact stairway to get to the loft area.  Will have an open balcony so getting things up and down other than people are not and issue.  Rise is approx. 10' floor to landing.  Open staircase, no enclosing walls to attach anything too.  Here is a picture of approximately what I am thinking.
 
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Offline ronwood

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 12:21:14 PM »
Might want to take a look at this link. Might be of some help

http://www.postdiluvian.org/~mason/spiral/
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Offline Gilman

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 04:58:33 PM »
I think the carpenter in the link is related to the previous owner of my house.  :o

Looks like you could use some CAD software to layout those stairs. :)

 
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Online Don P

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2007, 09:36:02 PM »
This is a link to chapter3 of the '06 IRC. This is the building design chapter and is a good one to download and know pretty well for anyone in the planning stages. Stairways are under R311, 311.5.1.1 is spirals. This is NJ's but it seems to be pretty unadultered.
http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newjersey/NJ_Residential/PDFs/NJ_Res_Chapter3.pdf

Basically, minimum tread width is 26", max rise is 9-1/2", at a walking line 12" from the narrow side the tread must be at least 7-1/2", all treads must be identical.

We've got 2 sets going in the current house they'll be steel, oak was pretty spendy and I think still cheaper than I could make them and have anything left to sit on. You could have fun with a set for the right client.. yourself  :)
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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2007, 11:27:08 AM »
Here is a link to a stair way manufacturer's association that has a pdf file showing lots of great stairway info. Including a section on spiral staircases.

http://www.stairways.org/codes_standards.htm

You can save a copy of the pdf to your own computer to read off line....

Jim Rogers
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Offline anvil

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2007, 08:04:05 PM »
Thehardway,,

There are three types of basic spirals.. a sweep, a winder, and a spiral.  each fits a specific need. All have a few things in common.  All have a constant radius.  the spiral fits the smallest diameter.

I build a special case one with an ever changing radius out of forged iron and log. the center post was a large "Ugly" lightning strike log,,and the half log treads were mortise and tenoned into place.  No through joinery on the mortise\tenon.  I used forged iron wedges between the under side of the mortise and bottom of the log tenon. The bottom of the mortise and the top of the tenon were the surfaces that set the height of the treads to code.  If ever there was any movement or shrinkage within the logs.. just set the wedges deeper,,and  the treads would be set back to proper height and pitch(level).  The wedges were individually forged for each tread,, two each,, and had what we call rags on them... these are chiseled up edges that prevented the wedges from backing out.   

I forged three 1" square bars on the diamond and turned them into the outer matching(edge bent and twist) stringers.  One under the outside of the log treads, one just above the points of the treads and the third was the handrail.  The ends were attached to the walls etc,,and  all stringers were connected to each other via mortise and tenon iron joinery... I believe the bottom tread was 5-1\2' and the top tread was 3-1\2' wide. 

The end results was a free standing very unique set of stairs.

I had a very good working relation with the building inspector, and he, i must say,, bent over backwards working with me to make sure they would pass his inspection. 


By the way, I dug out some of my switch plates,,and will clean them up and send you pics in the near future

anvil   

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2007, 06:12:12 PM »
I have a few photos of some spiral stairs in a timber frame:



And:



And you can just see the railing on the left in this one:



He used copper pipe for the balusters between the hand rail and the threads. You can see the wedge shaped thread support coming from under the thread through the post and out the other side.

Very nice....

Jim Rogers
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Offline Thehardway

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2007, 06:51:38 PM »
Great posts, links and pictures and info,  I think just about everything is covered. I also got an email with some great pictures and ideas. Thanks to all!
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Offline anvil

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2007, 07:58:40 PM »
nice spiral.. no matter what your medium,, for me its the joinery that makes the project special..

my vertical column was about 14", so I decided to not use a pass thru tenon,, but a hidden one. 

I wonder if he used any mechanical connectiors other than the tenon on the treads?

anvil 

Offline Gilman

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2007, 08:55:21 PM »
Do you have any pictures Anvil?
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Offline anvil

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2007, 07:25:29 PM »
Gilman..

soon, i hope.. I have "too many irons in the fire" so to speak a the moment,,and the lowest priority is fixing my computer with all my pics and graphics programs...

it is frustrating tho...

anvil

Offline rcolmansr60

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2007, 01:37:12 AM »
I once knew a woodworker that built one in a barn he was turning into a house in Northwood NH. As I recall he got the plans from Fine Woodworking. That would have been over 10 years ago. It looked very nice.
Dick

Offline logwalker

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2007, 09:59:07 PM »
This is a good time to introduce the Miraculous Staircase to those who have never heard of it. Great story and good reason to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loretto_Chapel
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Offline pineywoods

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2007, 10:11:46 PM »
Been there. This is absolutely the most awsome piece of woodwork I have ever seen. Just designing such a piece bogles my mind.
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Online Don P

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2007, 10:35:56 PM »
Same here, I just stared. Heading out for TX in the morning, plan to be back sometime, that would sure be a nice side trip. Wish gas weren't such a pain right now.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Online Don P

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2008, 09:40:51 PM »
Thought you all might enjoy a set of spirals I saw last week.
Just south of the Alamo in San Antonio is the Mission San Jose, notice the doorway just to the right of the tree trunk.

The door leads to the bell tower's stairway.

The steps were hewn from solid timbers, I'm guessing live oak. Wooden pinned in the center, worked into the masonry on the outer edge.

Looking up from below.

That place was cool  8)

Leaving there James Taylor was singing about really wanting to go to Mexico. Nuff for me, I turned around when my feet got wet at the border... in a T shirt eatin tangerines  ;D
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Dana

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2008, 09:21:57 AM »
Another spiral staircase. This one is located in a light house at the South end of Beaver Island, Twenty five miles out in Lake Michigan.
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Offline Don_Papenburg

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2008, 10:15:37 PM »
Might want to punch in Nortern Sun woodworking  or Winterwoods.
The guy does fantastic work
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Online metalspinner

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2008, 09:14:56 AM »
Here is a spiral at the Pleasent Hill Shaker Community in Kentucky.

http://www.shakervillageky.org/photo_gallery/

It is a twin set and rises several floors.  It is beauty in a simple form.  In fact the whole village can be described in that way.  It's worth a weekend visit for sure. You can even stay on sight in a historically accurate room. The lemon pie is very good.  It really makes you pucker...you've been warned. :D
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline swampfox

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Re: spiral staircases
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2008, 11:13:14 PM »
Hello,

I have built one spiral staircase.  To the hardway's  question. 

We drew the entire stair in plan view full scale on a floor.  This would be a circle with the center newel and a stringer if you are going to use one (you don't have too).  Then with trammel points you can represent the centerlines of each tread on your drawing where they intersect the circumference.  Then from there add the dimensions of the tread off of the centerlines.  Your view of the drawing would look like a spoked wheel with the spokes representing the number of treads. Once you have the treads drawn on the floor you can actually take small strips of straight wood and place them along your tread lines and nail them together to make a template.  Attach the template to the piece of wood that will be your tread and run it against a table saw.  With the center newel you can even lay-out the dimensions that relate to your tread meeting the center newel.  All from Plan View.

As far as the center newel.  Lay-out using your unit rise for different level lines and refer to your full scale drawing.

I hope this makes sense.  This building stuff is hard to convey with words.

Sorry for bumping an old thread.  Great site!

Swampfox


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