staircase construction- solid wood??

nutellasandwichesOctober 23, 2007

I just interviewed a staircase maker....

and I know very little about stair construction.

He said he normally uses pressed solid oak for the treads, and an mdf type of material for the stringers (which is then veneered)

Does this seem right?

I thought staircases were made of solid wood...or maybe they are more prone to warping?

Here is a link to one staircase he has done.


I will call his references tomorrow.


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"pressed solid oak" is not meaningful. You don't buy "pressed solid oak" at the lumberyard and you don't make such a thing in the shop. I don't know what he could be referring to.

I'm not a stair builder, but MDF does seem like an unlikely choice for stringers. It's a fine material for certain applications, but stringers require some tensile strength that I doubt MDF can provide. I did a search on a professional woodworking forum for "MDF stringer" and got no relevant hits.

Having said all of that, the picture looks nice. He could be a fine stair builder and a lousy communicator.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 7:34AM
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Ok here is some clarification. Does this make sense?

Components to staircase-
The stringers are made of layers of plywood, regular plywood in the core and veneer plywood for the outer visible surfaces.
The risers would be made of either 1/2" veneered particle board or 1/2" veneered plywood depending on availability of species of wood chosen.
the treads will be solid hardwood and so will the trim.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2007 at 6:54PM
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Much better. I wouldn't have any problem with plywood stringers. I'd rather avoid particleboard risers, but I'd be fine with plywood there, too. Solid makes sense for the treads, since a veneer there would soon be worn through.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2007 at 6:19AM
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