For some reason, some stupid, hair-brained, ill-conceived reason, I decided to use my existing stair treads instead of buying new ones. I could have bought nice, perfect, new stair treads But noooOOOooo. I had to use the crap that came with the house. It’s actually really good wood – old growth douglas fir, very tight grain, and it has a few knots and fissures but they are otherwise brick solid. A little twisted here and cupped there, but they’re old enough that they’re probably done moving. Something to be said for that.
Still, this is old, worn wood. It’s not like using old reclaimed barn-wood, nothing so romantic. These are more like some old pallet boards found beneath a dumpster behind an Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips. Seriously, I’ve seen driftwood on the beach in better shape than this crap.
To lend a little perspective, here’s a Before Picture:
There’s the stairs as we first saw them. Please note the ancient wood spindles, the bio-hazard carpet, the splintery old paneling, the wobbly handrail. I won’t tell you what it smelled like.
We’ve renovated a lot of the house since that time but for some reason I saved the stairs until last. Even though it’s a centerpiece of the house, even though we stare at it constantly, even though I climb up and down those god-awful things ten times a day. And I’ve had a lot of time to think of how I want the stairs done, which is why it’s such a mystery to me that I couldn’t come up with a better idea for stair treads.
I do like the wood grain on these. Lots of natural detail, and they polished up pretty well despite all the repairs I had to make to them. I had to do everything: wood putty, epoxy, dowels, wine bottle corks. Sadly, I had to sand a lot of the natural patina off of it, but there wasn’t much getting around that.
They did take the stain well. I have all next week to slather on polyurethane before I install them, so they should be well sealed.
I’ve dry-fit the posts and a few of the iron balusters in place and they’re looking great. It all looks so different. When these stairs are done, it’s going to be so nice that it looks out of place in this house.
The cut trim pieces look like serrated jaws. Just in time for Halloween!