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 fire honey 02-25-2012 07:05 PM

need help with simple stair design to work with my small scrap lumber

hey,
I live extremely remote, and am working on finishing touches to this little jungle cabin. everything had to be moved here by boat or helicopter, so i have to work with the materials i have available here in order to attempt to build a stairwell, or i have to wait until june to get more ideal lumber in by boat.

I want to build a stairwell from the ground to my deck, 7ft off the ground. I can calculate steps, angle, rise, etc, but I dont know how to do it with the materials I have.

I have 9 2x6's that are 12 ft long. i have a dozen or so 2x6s that have been ripped in half, long ways, so they are 2x3's, 12 ft long.
I have many many shorter 2x6s
6 or so 4x4's about 7ft long, and a few shorter ones,
I have a handful of short (less than 3 ft) 4x6's, 4x8's, and 4x10s
I am borrowing a generator and want to do this mostly with a handsaw and nails, because I am getting low on gas.
I am good with geometry and am very creative, but I would like help with this decision on how to best use the materials I have to build a stairwell or just wait till june.
I can nail/screw/lag together 2x6's to high heaven, but what is the best way to make a stringer with the materials I have? I was considering sandwiching two 2x6s together (to make a 4x6), then cutting triangle blocks out of 4x4's and nailing those to the saddled 2x6's, attempting to create the same effect of a notched out 2x10 or 2x12, but would this just fall apart? what about advice on a sturdy way to join the 2x6's together to make them be a 2x12? or i could even join 4 to be a 4x12. I obviously dont mind about looks or specs, id just like somethings sturdy thats not going to fall apart shortly after I assemble it. any advice is appreciated.
thanks!

 TarheelTerp 02-25-2012 07:11 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by fire honey (Post 863163) ...so i have to work with the materials i have available here in order to attempt to build a stairwell, or i have to wait until june to get more ideal lumber in by boat. I want to build a stairwell from the ground to my deck, 7ft off the ground. I can calculate steps, angle, rise, etc, but I dont know how to do it with the materials I have. I obviously don't mind about looks or specs, id just like somethings sturdy thats not going to fall apart shortly after I assemble it.
If you also don't mind wasting your time mucking about with make do solutions...
then cobble together what you have that gets you the closest you can to the 2x12's that you actually need.

Be sure to post some pictures.

 fire honey 02-25-2012 07:18 PM

muck i will

yeah I dont mind experimenting with it and taking longer than one would otherwise, thats part of the tradeoff for living a peaceful life in one of the most beautiful remote places in the world (hawaii)
unfortunately I cant post pics. hubby just left to hike out to town (takes 3 days) and took the camera.
have any tips on turning them into 2x12s?

 fire honey 02-25-2012 07:21 PM

better wood waiting

ps-
the wood I have in town that I plan on bringing this summer I salvaged from stairwells that a hotel build for "eco cabanas"
they are 4x12's, 4ft, tar and sanded, with 4x12 stringers. just right now I am using a ladder, and I haul water so its a \$%#ing pain to carry jugs up a ladder.

 Willie T 02-25-2012 07:48 PM

The first thing you may want to consider after splicing some of those to the lengths you need for stringers, is to get your mind on SOLID stringers, not cut stringers. Much more stable, carry lots more weight, and are easier to make.

We're obviously not considering inspections, but you should still build to what we can show you is generally accepted as "code"... or build even better.

Because you have to carry water up them, I would make these stairs at a shallower angle than most. (less steep)

And I would use at least 12 deep treads. You don't want to be half on and half off a narrow tread with buckets of water balanced in your hands.

I would also plan on extra strong railings due to the likelihood of having to trust them to hold you if you get off balance and sort of fall against one of them.

You might even consider a mid height landing to swing the buckets up onto, rather than carry them all the way up the stairs at one shot.

I, for one, will be willing to spend some time with you on this, drawing up detailed plans for you. I love doing this when the person on the other end is truly willing to also put in some serious effort.

So, give some thought to various concepts.......

Straight stairs? 90 degrees from the deck above? Or parallel with the edge of the building?

"L" shaped setup, turning 90 degrees at the halfway point? (This would incorporate a landing.)

Or anything else you've seen or can think of.

You have a clean sheet of paper when still in the planning stages..... draw up yourself some idea sketches.

 Willie T 02-25-2012 08:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is what I understand you have.... plus a couple of handsful of shorter scraps. Correct?

 joed 02-25-2012 08:18 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Leave the 2x6 whole. Cut triangles for the steps and fasten them to the 2x6. Overlap the triangle and the stringer with another 2x6 piece. Glue and screw them together. If you put a full riser and tread on each step and fasten each riser and step to each other it might work.

Possibly build each step as separate triangular box and fasten to the stringers.

Similar to this. The dashed line is the triangle part. Red is the extra overlapping reinforcement.

Attachment 46515

 fire honey 02-25-2012 08:26 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I understand solid stringers would be better, i just thought i dont have the right lumber to do so. I am hauling 7 gallon cube "aquatainer" jugs, not buckets, so they dont leak and I only haul one at a time.

we could design to add a rail which Id probably put in later, but i dont want it to be part of the initial design because its not necessary, I hold on to the edge of the deck as I go up the ladder- i know its haphazard and unwise to people that can drive to a hardware store, but I follow the path of least resistance and I am a homesteader so i have a zillion other things to do that take priority.

I built this cabin but havent stained it. framed the windows but havent cleaned them yet. moved kitchen in but havent installed the drain pipe, sink drains to a bucket. but hey, im happy here, and its a huge upgrade from living in a military tent! installed 1.5inch thick TnG salvaged cedar flooring but havent sanded or oiled/waxed it, and wont for a few years (cant afford to buy a generator yet, but im borrowing my neighbors and gotta give it back in a couple weeks.)

you are right, we are definitely not concerned about inspections

my "footings" for this would be large stones (the beach 1000 ft from my site is 1/2 mile long smooth rocky beach),

I dont want the stairs to be at a shallower angle, the water hauling is semi-temporary (by summer 2013 we will set up a solar/ram pump)

I dont prefer a mid-height landing, but if it makes design sense for sake of shorter stringers, sturdier design, then okay, but I was thinking that a landing would use more materials, which I am extremely limited.

I would REALLY like it if the stairs went parallel with the deck line, but I know that involves having a little landing at the top, and a more complicated connection with the deck. how hard could it be? (ha ha, im not a carpenter,... )
think minimalism. ive got one power drill, one cordless with a charged battery, one skillsaw, sawzall, lots of nails, ****ty SS screws, and lots of 6 and 8" lags. no lag washers :(
heck, i built this whole house this way, without sawhorses!

I dont think I want an L shaped setup

so what are the pros and cons of right angle off the deck vs parallel to it? (in terms of construction) how much harder is it, etc.

heres a pic of the cabin before it was "finished" with siding. it has a deck on 3 sides. the steps would be beginning on the right end of the front deck, meeting with the deck close to the first deck post (8 ft in), i figured the stairwell would start past the corner, so it could end 5-8 ft in.

 fire honey 02-25-2012 08:39 PM

ooh i like that idea, that sounds better than what i had in mind. you are correct about the wood i have.
what I am lacking in construction skills/experience I can make up for in having a quick comprehension of numbers, lumber, materials, etc. so i can accurately list materials.
scraps:

i think all together i have 100-150 LF of 2x6 shorter pieces, maybe 8 or 10 of those are 6 feet long.
about a dozen 2x3's (i ripped the 2x6s for purlins, this is whats left over), 12 ft, and 3 or 4 @ 8ft, and a whole pile of 3 footers, and shorter,
a bunch of random stubby pieces of 4x4, 4x6, 4x8, 4x10, very short, all less than 1 foot, except I do have 2 pieces of 4x8 about 3 or 4ft long
a 4x6 about 5 ft long
5 4x4's about 7.5 ft, a few 4x4s 3 ft, and shorter
and lots of other useful stuff that Ihavent sorted yet sitting under a tarp, but is most of the same short little stuff.

when you said " Overlap the triangle and the stringer with another 2x6 piece." did you mean vertical individual pieces, or one that runs the whole length of the stringer parallel to it? i guess either woud work. and you think just 1 2x6 on each end would be ok? i dont need to nail two together for reinforcement?

Ps i will be staining this, it wont be covered under the roof.

 Willie T 02-25-2012 09:22 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Here it is drawn at 30 degrees (a reasonably shallow climb, and within "code") and 6.5 risers with some nice deep 12.25" treads (2 2x6's and a 2x3 tucked under the next riser). Oh, and "Yes", stairs constructed this way meet code anywhere in the USA.

Obviously, without a top landing, you're going to have to go to probably 7" risers and a little steeper slope with shorter tread depths, (see the extra 12.5" at the top), but I drew it this way so you could consider possibilities of a dropped down landing on the top if these go parallel.

Notice how all your supports are made from your 2x3's? (The white pieces) Simply, straight cuts with a handsaw. I have deliberately kept this super easy to make.

The solid stringers shown are made from exactly 12' 2x6's. (I even trimmed off a little on the bottom ends to make them sit flat and solid.) Still..... all from your existing 2x6's.

BTW, <CONTROL> + will enlarge this drawing in increments. <CONTROL> - shrinks it back down.

 Willie T 02-25-2012 09:30 PM

If you have Google SketchUp, or can download it, I'll send the SKP file so you can work with this very drawing, changing anything you desire. With S/U, you can rotate, dissect, and explode this to your heart's content.

NOTE: The drawing shown is set up for 1" nosing overhangs on the treads (again, adhering to accepted "codes"), and is easily as strong as if you had made this from 2x12 lumber with the standard triangle cut outs. Remember, there is no strength whatsoever to the triangles in an "open" (cut out) stringer. All they do is give a place to fasten the treads and risers to.

 Millertyme 02-25-2012 09:37 PM

make a ladder not a stair, and wait for the proper materials to do it right

 Willie T 02-25-2012 09:40 PM

The good thing about going parallel, with a landing at the top, is that you can run (cantilever) the supports for the landing out from under your deck lumber (very solid and easy to attach from beneath).

 Willie T 02-25-2012 10:15 PM

Don't forget that if you need to "fudge" a little on the height to use your 12' 2x6's, you have that option by simply building up the stone base landing a few inches higher.

 joed 02-25-2012 10:43 PM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by fire honey (Post 863239) when you said " Overlap the triangle and the stringer with another 2x6 piece." did you mean vertical individual pieces, or one that runs the whole length of the stringer parallel to it? i guess either woud work. and you think just 1 2x6 on each end would be ok? i dont need to nail two together for reinforcement? Ps i will be staining this, it wont be covered under the roof.
I was thinking short pieces. Three stringers would be better. How wide are you thinking you want the stairs?

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