I had gone down to my folks’ place a few weeks ago and put up the floor framing, and after a lot of mental debate on the stairs, I decided to just do a straight run, and let the big limb interrupt the left stringer. Unfortunately, the lumber yard only had 14’s in the “garden box” cedar 2x12s I’ve been pilfering for all sorts of non-raised bed projects. The stuff is super cheap and this year the quality the mills are putting out is better than last. With the hypotenuse from the top of the deck to the footing at 14 feet, the last step up top would be basically zilch, not to mention no integrated handrail projecting past to help you up or down. So I poured the stair landing, and with my rise and run I could tackle the stairs at home and figure out some innovative solution there.
This is how I work, and usually I find some creative way to make it all work out and look halfway planned. The swoop was my solution, and although the stairs become slightly steeper and skinnier toward the top, it’s not too bad, and the hand rail projects past. As an added bonus, this doubles as the frame for the forthcoming gate, which will keep the kiddies safe.
So after two long wet days, I’ve got stairs to show for it. I’d been working on them in my workshop here in town on and off for the last week, which is always a little nerve-racking since you don’t know if all your math is right until the moment of truth. Luckily, I didn’t screw anything up, and they went in smoothly. The stringer on the left is interrupted by that large swooping limb, which means you have to cut this beautiful thing you’ve been laboring on in half. After measuring many more times than twice, I cut it in two, and started scribing the limb’s variable bevel geometry to them. It took a long time, but in the end I didn’t even have to throw a screw into the upper. Only four screws went into the limb – two for the stringer, one for the handrail, and one for the scribed step.
I finished off the day by bolting six log posts for the deck. Next I’ll make the railing, a jamb and threshold for the salvaged french door I’ve got, scrounge up some windows at the ReStore, and then it will be time to line out my friend who has a Woodmizer to come over and mill up the cedar I need for the rest of the treehouse!