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Practical Stair Building and Handrailing By the square section and falling line system.

Practical Stair Building and Handrailing
By the square section and falling line system.
Author: Wood W. H.
Title: Practical Stair Building and Handrailing By the square section and falling line system.
Release Date: 2018-06-18
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 22
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Transcriber’s Note

In the Table of Contents, the Plate numbers (left-hand column)are hyperlinked to the Plate illustrations, and the Page numbers (right-hand column) are hyperlinkedto the descriptive text that follows them.




E. & F. N. SPON, 125 STRAND

New York:


The following book has been written to assist those who wish toacquire a knowledge of the most practical and systematic methodsadopted in the execution of stair building and handrailing.

In compiling this work the author has kept steadily in viewthe absolute necessity of treating most fully the elementary parts.Therefore, if to some the details should appear tedious, he begs tosay they have been written to assist those who, being unable toobtain a correct knowledge of the methods adopted, seldom advancebeyond a certain and very unsatisfactory stage.

The plates on stairs will be found to contain much useful andvaluable information, all of which the author has practically tested,some of them many times over, and can therefore vouch for theaccuracy of the various methods shown.

The Plates 12 and 13 should be thoroughly understood beforeproceeding with the handrailing, as the diagrams showing problemsin solid geometry have been carefully selected, bearing directly onthe subject, and it should not be left until the “why” and “wherefore”has been reasoned out.

The system of handrailing is somewhat new, but the authorhas continually put it to practical test for the last five years,and he is convinced that it is only required to be known to beappreciated.




1 Elementary Problems 3
2 Close Newelled or Dog-legged Stairs, the Setting Out of Rods, &c. 5
3 The Construction of Various Parts of Stairs, showing the application of the Steel Square for Setting Out Strings, &c. 7
4 Plan and Elevation of Open Newel Staircase, with Spandril under Bottom Flight 11
5 Details of Construction 13
6 Details of a Newel Stairs, Starting and Landing with Winders 15
7 Half-space Landing, with a Straight Flight above and below, and a continued Rail, starting with a Side Wreath from a Newel 17
8 Details of Construction 19
9 Details of Construction 23
10 Details of Construction showing an Apparatus for marking the Length and Cuts of Balusters around the Circular Parts 25
11 Details of Construction 29
12 On Oblique Planes and their Traces 37
13 On Projection of Oblique Planes, &c. 41
14 Level Landing Wreath, or Half Twist 43
15 Level Landing Wreath, or Half Twist 45
16 Level Landing Wreath, or Half Twist 47
17 Half-space Landing, with Straight Flight above and below 49
18 From the Level to the Rake 53viii
19 From the Level to the Rake 55
20 Half-space Landing with the Risers in the Springing 57
21 Winders in the Half-space and Level Landing at top 59
22 Winders in the Half-space, with a Straight Flight above and below, Wreath to form its own Easing 61
23 Quarter-space Landing, Wreath in one Piece 65
24 Quarter-space Landing, Wreath in two Pieces 67
25 Quarter-space Landing, Wreath in one Piece, to form its own Easing into the Straight Rail 69
26 Winders in the Quarter-space, Wreath in one Piece, to form its own Easing into Straight Rail 71
27 Landing in an Obtuse Angle, the Wreath to form its own Easing into the Straight Rail 73
28 Half Twist starting from a Scroll, and a Side Wreath starting from a Newel 75
29 Winders starting from a Curtail Step 77
30 Winders in the Quarter-space, starting from a Newel 79
31 The Plan of Rail forming Part of an Ellipse, starting from a Newel over Winders 81
32 Showing the Moulding of Rails, and a Method of proportionately Increasing or Decreasing the Size of them 83




Stairs are a succession of steps leading from one landing to anotherin a building. Each step comprises tread and riser, the tread beinghorizontal and the riser vertical. The side pieces supporting theends of steps are called strings: that next to the wall, the wall string;the other, the front, outside, well, cut, open, or close string. Whenthe steps are narrower one end than the other they are called winders.The landing is a platform between the floors, and it is sometimesarranged to give access to a door. A succession of steps betweeneach landing is called a flight. It is not often that the stair builderis called upon to say how and where the stairs are to go, that beingthe work of the architect; but the former must do his best to carryout the wishes of the latter, who will leave to him the placing ofrisers, and all details necessarily belonging to the stair builder, whowill make the best possible job, having all easings and falling linesas graceful as it is possible to make them. An easing that is toolong is almost as objectionable as one that is too short.

He will take the dimensions off on to his rods, and from them setout the whole stairs, showing all doorways, landings, headroom, &c.,to 1½ inch scale if possible. All winders must be set out full size.




Fig. 1. Draw a straight line, equal in length to the semicircleA B C. With A and C as centres, and for radius A C, strike the twoarcs to intersect each other in S. Join S A and S C extended, to cutthe line through B in D and E. Then, D E is the length of therequired line, and if this was bent around the semicircle it wouldreach from A to C. This line throughout this work is termed thestretch-out of the semicircle.

Fig. 2. Given the length D E, find the radius to strike a semi-*circleequal in length to it. Draw a line from E at 60°, and fromB at 45° to D E, to cross each other at C. Draw from B square toD E, and from C parallel to D E to meet in O; then O B will bethe required radius.

Figs. 3, 4 and 5 show how to bisect any given angle. LetA B C be the given angle. With B as centre, strike the arc D D toany radius. With D D as centres, and for radius more than half thedistance D D, describe arcs intersecting in E. Then, a line fromB to E will bisect the angle.

Figs. 6, 7 and 8 show how to ease any given angle, that is toform a curve that will connect the two straight lines, from any twogiven points, on those lines. Let A B and B C be the two lines formingthe given angle, and it is required to connect those lines from A to C.Divide A B and B C into any number of equal parts, connect thoseparts, and the curve will be formed if A B and B C has been dividedinto a sufficient number of parts.

4Fig. 9 shows a semi-ellipse, A B being the semi-major axis, andB D the semi-minor axis. Let A B and D B, Fig. 10, equal A B andD B, Fig. 9. To strike the curve, move this rod around, keeping Don the major axis, and A on the minor axis, and mark off points atthe end of the rod all round.

Fig. 11. Given a semi-ellipse, draw a normal tangent. Determinethe foci of the ellipse F F. With D as centre, and for radius A Bstrike arcs of circles at F F. At any point on the curve, say at S,draw lines to F F and bisect the angle. Now draw through S, squareto this line that bisects the angle for the required normal tangent.




Fig. 1 shows the plan of a dog-legged stair. The first thing to bedone

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