Stairs and Fencing in Cleft Sweet Chestnut

Rustic Stairs

This project involved working jointly with another company Quay Carpentry. The brief for their customer was to craft components to meet their outdoor stairs design, which would link a terrace and have fencing along the top of the terrace. The timber suited for the rustic look was Sweet Chestnut. After discussing design options with Quay Carpentry the individual components were crafted for them.

Crafting the Components

We planked the stair strings by cleaving from large rounds of Sweet Chestnut rather than milling. This was important for the stair string turn because cleaving naturally follows the grain, compared to sawing that cuts through the fibres. This helped with the next stage of processing, which involved steam bending and setting on a former to obtain the desired shape. Also, the handrail for the stair turn was steam bent and set on a former after steaming for a couple of hours. This can seen in the preceding photo, which shows the handrail in the former after steaming.

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We crafted two individual rustic gates. One would be used for the top of the stairs and the other along the fence line. These are shown in the next two photos.

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Each of the stair treads were cleaved from large rounds, similar to how the stair strings were produced. We split the newel posts, fencing posts and rails etc. from smaller rounds of Sweet Chestnut. The hand tools used were axe, froe, splitting wedges, draw knife, spoke shave, bit and brace.

Installed Stairs, Gates and Fencing

After the components were delivered to the customer, Quay Carpentry completed the installation. The result of finished work can be seen in the last photo.

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Our customer was very pleased with the end result that produced a unique rustic look that is perfect for its function and rural setting.