My wife took the kids to visit her parents in PA and they return tomorrow, so I took the holiday weekend plus a vacation day yesterday to get as much done as possible. My tasks were to
- Repair the finish on the newel post and railing
- Construct and install a curved stair, and replace missing cove molding under some stairs
- Paint the stairs, trim, and balusters
The curved stair was quite a project. Contrary to popular belief, inch-thick pine boards don't bend easily. To make the curved riser, I had to use the table saw to painstakingly cut 30+ kerfs in the back of the board which allow it to bend. To make the curve on the tread, I just used a jigsaw, but then had to buy a new router bit to match the bullnose profile of the rest of the tread. And finally, I needed curved 5/8" x 3/4" cove molding for under the overhang of the tread.
I called all over eastern MA to find someone that carried flexible molding, but no one did. I tried cutting kerfs in pine molding like I used on the other stairs, but because of the cove profile I couldn't take off enough material to make it flexible. Thus, I had to custom make my own cove molding from a 1" x 10". I cut out the outer edge of the curve with the jigsaw, bought a cove bit for the router, cut the cove profile, and then jigsawed out the inside edge. I popped it on and it fit perfectly! All told, the molding was much easier than I anticipated.
After all that, and then coat after coat of paint, this was the result (it's a phone photo, so the quality isn't great. Also, don't forget to check out my previous post for "before" pictures.)
One thing I learned this weekend is that painting balusters is a royal pain. If I never have to do it again it will be too soon. I'm glad I looked up tips for doing it, though. The tip I read said that using a paint brush is a bad way to go--it takes forever and the results aren't good--and instead one should use a painting pad. I just happened to have an old one that I cut in half, and it really did work quite well.
The last phase of the project--one which I will have to do in the next week--is installing a carpet runner on the stairs. The high gloss paint is rather slippery for man and dog alike, so this one can't wait a year.