View Full Version : More metalwork: Fancy steps

07-11-2007, 10:58 PM
I've finished the upper and lower levels decks and now I need to connect them. I decided to get creative and use a 1/4 turn spiral staircase to save space and because it will look cool.

This is a slightly greater challenge to design than the straight stringer steps I did. In this case especially so as I am not using a central column and so cannot work directly in polar coordinates easily.

I had to map out the locations of important parts in order to calculate the necessary dimensions. This was a bit more than my 3d visualization capability could handle. Converting polar to cartesian is best done on "paper", electronic or otherwise. The rest is all in my head, as usual.

The dimensions:


I have finished the main framework for the steps, jigged up in the shop. This wasn't easy to judge square and level by eye so I was forced to actually measure everything. :D


After tacking it all I took it out and trial fitted to the deck. Perfect! This will be an easy set of stairs as the wood steps will extend further than the frame by six inches giving an outer radius of six feet.


I have today welded the entire frame and now need to attach all the little brackets to allow the wood steps and outer siding to be installed. A neighbour gave me some excellent 2 x 10 x 8' fir planks that he has had aging for 18 years to use for the treads. Should work nicely.

07-11-2007, 11:18 PM
Evan, I don't think I have seen you use the word "cool" before. ;)

The staircase looks nice. You have definately been industrious of late. Gald to see you are getting around well!

07-11-2007, 11:26 PM
looks good, I know that type of fabrication is tiring, up down up down up down. you have been very industrious

07-12-2007, 01:49 AM
Tiring is right. My knees hurt. Worst is that I have hit a wall in building up my strength even though I still have the energy to do so. To build muscle requires your body to repair minor damage done by working them beyond present capacity. I have hit the limit because I don't get enough restorative sleep to repair much. My arms are killing me and I will be forced to slow down even though I could otherwise keep up the pace.

I never considered retirement as the end of work, just the end of slavery. I like doing what I am doing and will continue to do as much as my body will allow.

I still have more ironwork to do including another couple of gates
and some railing. I find the picket twister too much for my arms to take so the next item on my list is to motorize it. I have the needed parts and have already run some basic tests. I might just put an automatic turns counter with an encoder on it. :D

I am also going to build a small lookout tower for the Beardog. I think a small spiral staircase will be just right for her. She has no fear of heights at all. It won't be very tall, maybe six feet, just enough for her to look over the fence.

John Stevenson
07-12-2007, 04:41 AM
I am also going to build a small lookout tower for the Beardog. I think a small spiral staircase will be just right for her. She has no fear of heights at all. It won't be very tall, maybe six feet, just enough for her to look over the fence.

Why does she need to lookover ? Hasn't she been taught ESP ?


07-12-2007, 05:25 AM
Hasn't she been taught ESP ?

No need to teach her. She wants to look to confirm what she already knows.

Tin Falcon
07-12-2007, 07:44 PM
Evan : Good to see you enjoying your retirement. And being productive.

07-12-2007, 07:45 PM
Those steps need a handrail.

07-12-2007, 08:06 PM
Had spiral stairs in a house once. After everyone in our family of 5 took a tumble down 'em, we blocked them off so they couldn't be used... They were designed around a 4" post so the narrow end of the tread was so narrow as to be useless. SWMBO said never again, and I concur.

07-12-2007, 08:33 PM
I tripped on some stairs and broke an ankle one time. Steep stairs may save floor space but they will beat you up if you take one wrong step.

Any time I work on stairs I try and make them so my old mom can make it up and down them.

07-12-2007, 09:50 PM
They will have a hand rail. Also, the inner radius is 26 inches inside the rail so the tread width is 7 inches minimum and around 18" maximum each step at the outer rail. These are very easy steps. Code here does not allow spiral steps with a tread less than 6.4" deep at the inside radius. It will be a lot easier to judge in the pic when I get the steps in place, which I am doing now.

[edit] Also, on the other side of the deck is a very easy and wide set of straight stairs down for anyone that doesn't like spiral steps.

They aren't quite done in this pic, handrail goes on left side and I might put one on the right but it isn't really needed.


07-13-2007, 03:34 AM
Here is the frame with the wood steps being fitted. You can get a much better idea of what the steps are like. The average rise and run is 8 inch rise in 12 inch run. If you use the outer third of the steps by the handrail it is around 8 in 14.