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Old 04-17-2010, 05:14 AM
sydneybird sydneybird is offline
 
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Default Staircase Project and Newbie Issues

Hello. This is my first post and it is a long one by way of introduction to the EZ Smart system and my stair project. My real name is Paul from Portland, OR. As a newbie, I have been enjoying reading I think every post on the forum over the past two weeks to ready myself for my first purchase of an EZ Smart system for my hardwood stairs project, but I have dozens of 4x8 sheet dying to be made into bookcases and such. I have also enjoyed viewing almost all of the videos, enjoying Dino's demonstrations and laughing at his attitude towards unneeded components - toss to the ground!

I'm a patent attorney by day (don't kick me off the forum for being an attorney please, I'm just an engineer that gets inventors patents, I don't sue anyone) and a homeowner with lots of remodeling projects to do on the weekends. My projects don't come out half bad; hoping for better with the EZ system.

After going back and forth with myself (I'm an over-analyzer type; there are a few of us on the forum I see) trying to decide whether I really need (more like want) a bridge, and that router attachment really looks fun, and that bench really looks functional, and a repeater for making shelves... But after getting advice from the forum and other users from some other forum, and knowing that I have limited funds which is why I'm not hiring someone to do my stairs project (why not just hire HomeDepot?), I just put an order in for a SGS-114, STK and a sliding square fence (yes, after days of frustration I am finally learning the part names). This is basically the Smart Homeowner Package but with the 64 inch rail that so many recommended. I also ordered an extra 32 in rail, a few extra edges, an EZ Dust Shield and Dust Port to fit to my Dewalt DW359 7 1/4 inch CS. I need a new blade so I guess I'll get one of those 40 tooth Freud blades. Do I need a different blade for ripping and cross-cutting 1 inch thick Brazilian cherry?

I'm writing all these details down to encourage others to tell me where I might be going wrong. Like "don't even think about using the Dewalt on Brazilian Cherry stair treads", and if someone said, run, don't walk, to replace the Dewalt with the Makita 5008MGA or you will ruin your stairs, well, I guess I may just have to do that. I am totally open to advice. Why do I get the feeling that ripping is something different to worry about than cross-cutting? Now you know my limited experience. Darn plywood chip blowouts as I wrestle keeping the plywood sheet from moving and the saw from cutting off my toes as I use a flexing strip of MDF, braced by my foot, as a clamped fence.

Before I go on, the reason that I was introduced to the EZ Smart is that I was facing the need for a sliding compound miter saw (for cross-cuts on a miter and bevel) and a table saw (for the rips) for this project. I have a crappy cheap old Craftsman hand-me-down table saw, but I knew that was only good for practically nothing and dangerous as heck. I have a perfectly good Rigid compound miter saw but that was not going to do me any good on 12 inch boards. So I was looking at $550 for the sliding saw and at least $3-500 for the table saw that didn't look much better than what I got. I Googled "table saw alternatives" and voila, the toolcrib article with Burt's quote appeared! I was hooked.

My project - Cutting and Installing Hardwood Stairs

As I wait for my EZ order to arrive, I have been preparing my stairs. I ripped off the carpet and padding, and since there is no side skirting, I was able to pry off the OSB treads and risers revealing the three stringers. I put the treads back down with a single screw so that the stairs can be used and so that I will be ready to put down the hardwood. Since the wife does not want side skirts (the stair ends will butt up to the wall) the drywall needs paint touchup and some repair where the carpet covered it and the builder took some shortcuts.

The staircase has a landing two stairs up where it makes a right turn. I'll post photos tomorrow. I ordered Stairtek prefinished Brazilian cherry treads and risers from HD, all 16 pairs at $123 each, so my cuts have to be perfect and I can't damage the surface. The treads are 1 x 11 1/2 x 48 and the risers are 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 48. I need to rip and cross-cut the treads to about 10 x 43 and the risers to about 6 x 43. How will I get the correct tread width including any miter due to the drywall being out of square? I purchased the Collins Tread Template for $54 at HD. Use Google to see that it is. It is basically a sliding plate on each end of a 1x4, where the plates may slide and pivot a bit to butt up against the side walls to set the exact length and any miter (out of square) there might be. Then you simply hold the template on top of the tread to be cut and you can easily mark the two cuts. It turns out that I will have to trim one of the jig plates to clear some molding, not that I want to cut a $54 jig. I bet Dino could come up with a jig based on a two-channel extrusion, like the guide rail, and some sliding UHMW plates at each end to create an EZ stair tread template, although guide rail is a little expensive to cut to length for a one-time project compared to a 1x4. The landing is going to be covered with 3/4 in American cherry planks that are 4 in wide (I know, we are mixing Brazilian with American cherry for interest). Although a cute little PBB might be convenient to cut the planks to length, right now I only have about 14 to cross-cut and I'll have to rip one to width. I purchased a router bit to put in a tongue and groove in the ripped plank and boy would the SSRK be nice for that, but it is only one 5 ft board. I think I can handle that freehand. I was going to use the EZ "clamp and cut" method on my smart table for all of the cuts, although a PBB might be more convenient, but additional cost. The cross-cuts on the treads may need a combination miter and slight bevel on one end to help when rotating the tread into place between the two walls, although the bevel probably could be done with a belt sander, I would like to use the saw.

So that is the set up. I'll post as I go along so that others can learn from my mistakes. I'll post again as to my anticipated installation techniques to get your input. Let's hope I get a decent looking stair case out of this. The wood itself was $2500 so I'm hoping for the best.

Requested areas for comments/advice:

Is my Dewalt DW359 15 amp 7 1/4 CS going to work out for me?
What blade should I get for hardwood?
What should I watch out for when ripping and cross-cutting hardwood with the "clamp and cut" method? Should I hold it over my head like Dino when cutting?
I was going to clamp the sliding square fence at the free end to the board when I do the rips; what do you think? Rips come first, cross-cuts second.
Any better stair tread template ideas? I can still return the Collins jig.

Love this forum. Thanks

Paul

Last edited by sydneybird; 04-17-2010 at 05:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-17-2010, 07:09 AM
Dik Harrison Dik Harrison is offline
 
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Location: Evans, GA
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Paul,

Welcome to EZ and the forum. I'm getting ready to go back to bed, so my mind is not its clearest, so I'll just offer one bit of advice for now and get back later after some more sleep. Given the cost of the treads, I would try a trial cut or two with some cheaper wood, just to get the process down. Some years ago, I replaced some poorly installed stairs in my home and made my own jig (I'll try to get a photo to post), and I remember that getting the treads just right took some cutting and re-cutting (I cut long first and then worked up (or is that down) to a good fit).
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  #3  
Old 04-17-2010, 10:41 AM
Dino Dino is offline
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Location: Edison NJ
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Quote:
Is my Dewalt DW359 15 amp 7 1/4 CS going to work out for me?
The Dewalt is a powerhouse and well build CS.
Nothing to worry.

Quote:
What blade should I get for hardwood?
The blade that you already have or any 24 teeth $10.00 to $15.00
if you use a 40 teeth blade, go slow and easy.

Quote:
What should I watch out for when ripping and cross-cutting hardwood with the "clamp and cut" method? Should I hold it over my head like Dino when cutting?
You know the answer. Work like a machinist and secure the wood.
Then, you can cut anyway you like...but not like me.
That was a demonstration of the safety and accuracy of the DWC.
( Dead Wood Concept)
With the best available antichip protection in the markeet...rip and cross cuts are one and the same. Nothing to worry.

Quote:
I was going to clamp the sliding square fence at the free end to the board when I do the rips; what do you think? Rips come first, cross-cuts second.
Any better stair tread template ideas? I can still return the Collins jig.
Cross cuts first to reduce the length and extra work.
I never use the Collins jig but the idea is very simple and effective.
You can always use the red paper and copy the threads.
Tape the tamplate to the wood and make your cuts.
(if the collins jig don't work for all your cuts)
I thing, not sure, the Collins jig was made by another carpenter?
Trust tools made by carpenters. Pro carpenters want results and I don't think any carpenter is going to make and take in the market something that simply don't make your job better and easier...

Another thing about the Collins Jig. Modify it for other applications.
Why use it only on stairs?

Above all...take it easy and have fun.
Get ready for some applications if you have free time.
I like to give all my work to my customers/investors instead of buying new cars for patent attorneys that have no idea about ez.

Welcome to the forum and ez woodworking.
Where the projects get done faster than asking questions....

Enjoy the weekend.
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Last edited by Dino; 04-17-2010 at 10:45 AM.
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  #4  
Old 04-17-2010, 12:14 PM
Mel Beck Mel Beck is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 493
Smile 24 Teeth for Ripping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino View Post

Quote:
What blade should I get for hardwood?

The blade that you already have or any 24 teeth $10.00 to $15.00
if you use a 40 teeth blade, go slow and easy.
It's only a guess but I think Dino meant a 24 tooth blade for ripping and a 40 tooth for crosscuts.

P.S. in Southern Oregon
Mel
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  #5  
Old 04-17-2010, 01:29 PM
Dik Harrison Dik Harrison is offline
 
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I actually use a 40 tooth Diablo to rip red oak all the time.
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  #6  
Old 04-17-2010, 06:24 PM
sydneybird sydneybird is offline
 
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Default Stair tearout

Thanks for the welcome and comments so far. Love your blog Dik! What a dream setup. I like that you listen to your wife (light fixture). Me too; no arguments.

Attached are photos of my stairs after carpet removal and riser removal (pry bar and hammer). Fiberglass insulation between the stringers and drywall on the backside. The backside of the stairs leads down to the unfinished basement. I just painted the walls 2 months ago and now I have to repair and touch up; dang. Maybe I should reconsider 3/4 in MDF skirting that would cover all this up (the trim is 5/8 in); advice? If skirting, should it undercut or overcut the trim? Using EZ to cut all those triangle cutouts? Maybe a job for the sawzall.

The Collins template will have to be filed at an end to clear the spindle trim, or not if I use a skirt to fill it in.

I don't like the idea of screwing or nailing through the prefinished treads and using a fill-stick to cover. Thinking about some way to fasten from beneath (short of ripping off the drywall from beneath), maybe using framing angles and screws in the front and screwing from the top in the back to be covered by the riser (do I hear the wood splitting a half inch from the edge; drill pilot hole first yes, don't do it at all maybe), and lots of liquid nails adhesive.

The last step on the landing has a nice deep (18 in) square void which is begging for a drawer where the riser goes. Thinking about it. Good place to hide the family jewels, if we had some, or shoes.

The floor at the bottom of the stairs is laminate and has to go; what garbage; disposable flooring. One dog accident and the stuff swells at the seams. Future hardwood floor project (same American cherry as the landing) but not right now. Will have to either put down a temporary riser or be sure it will be oversized for 3/4 in flooring and stuck on to the stringer with velcro.

Will be replacing the subfloor on the landing as it is crap OSB that was rained on for months during winter construction back in 2002; this is Portland.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Stairs center carpet treads.JPG (99.8 KB, 57 views)
File Type: jpg Stairs left carpet treads.JPG (89.8 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg Stairs right carpet treads.JPG (93.1 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg template detail.jpg (83.2 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg tread removed.JPG (95.5 KB, 45 views)
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  #7  
Old 04-17-2010, 06:25 PM
sydneybird sydneybird is offline
 
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Default Stair tearout

A few more photos
Attached Images
File Type: jpg under stairs basement.jpg (69.6 KB, 25 views)
File Type: jpg wall repair needed.jpg (88.1 KB, 26 views)
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  #8  
Old 04-17-2010, 07:38 PM
Dik Harrison Dik Harrison is offline
 
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Paul,

Thanks, I enjoy doing it, just don't ever seem to have time to post, what with all the projects at home, the forum, and stuff for Dino... The shop is slowly getting into shape, but everything else takes precedence.

At least you don't have to replace stringers. The guy that built my house (the previous owner) did such a poor job with the stairs, that I had to sister stringers to the existing ones to get the layout of the treads and risers correct. I didn't want to remove the sheet rock from the bottom of the stringers since it was also the ceiling of the stairs to my shop and had already been repainted, which made the job even more difficult.

Forgot to take a picture of my shop built stair tread jig, but it is basically piece of ply with two dadoes, covered with hard board to make T-slots, four strips of wood with knobs at each end that connect two boards that actually make the pattern. I'll try to remember to take a picture tomorrow.
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  #9  
Old 04-17-2010, 11:01 PM
Bob F. Bob F. is offline
 
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Hi Paul,

I will only make a comment about the bridge, B-300, and point out that it is an opportune time to buy, 30% off, that bridge. You said that you have about a dozen 4x8's you wanted to use for bookcases and I am assuming that there are other projects beyond the stairs and bookcases you will construct.

If your intentions are to continue with woodworking for future projects and also because it gives you pleasure to work in your own shop, however small, than I must recommend the B-300 bridge as a tool your will enjoy and appreciate every time you find yourself in your workshop. The B-300 allows you to leave your cs on the rail and position your work piece under the rail and make your cut, I'm sure you know this, but, you will come to realize how much time you will save and relieve yourself the annoying necessity of removing the cs from the rail and finding a place to set it down, just leave it on the rail. The B-300 is a real time saver!

Regards
Bob F.
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  #10  
Old 04-18-2010, 05:17 AM
sydneybird sydneybird is offline
 
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Default B-300

Hi Bob, you're going to push me over the edge. You are making me want that B-300 after two weeks of convincing myself I really don't need it. But I really want it and I do like that sale price better than the regular price though and I don't want to miss it (the SSRK too) (the intro price was even better, darn timing). My intentions are to continue woodworking especially now after finding the EZ tools to make it EZ. I gotta get some use out of my router, biscuit joiner, framing and finishing nailer, and all the other toys I had convinced my wife to let me have. She is using half-finished built-in shelves in her office that I just can't bring myself to finish; she is threatening Ikea, so I had better get them done. The Smart Table will help with clamping the 3/4 in edge banding on the oak ply while it is drying.

Thanks, Paul

Last edited by sydneybird; 04-18-2010 at 05:18 AM. Reason: change title
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