How to Cut Stair Stringers – Learn how to properly cut stair stringers with this helpful blog post. Discover the best techniques and tools to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
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Measuring and Marking the Notches
The first step in cutting stair stringers is to measure and mark the notches. You will need a tape measure, a level, a pencil, and a square. First, measure the rise and run of the stairs. The rise is the measurement from the top of the stair to the bottom. The run is the measurement from the front of the stair to the back.
Measure the riser height and tread depth
Before you mark the notches, you need to know the riser height (the vertical portion of each step) and the tread depth (the horizontal portion of each step). Most risers are between 7″ and 8″ tall, but if you want taller or shorter risers, that’s OK. You can adjust the length of the stringer to accommodate. Tread depth is usually 10″ to 11″.
Once you have those measurements, you’re ready to mark the notches.
Mark the notches on the stringer
Before you make any cuts, it’s important to mark the location of the notches on the stringer. You’ll need a pencil and a tape measure for this part of the process.
First, measure and mark the overall length of the stringer. Then, using the tape measure and pencil, mark the location of each notch. The top notch should be located at the top of the stringer, and the bottom notch should be located at the bottom of the stringer.
Next, using a straightedge or a level, draw a line across the stringer at each marked notch location. These lines will serve as guidelines for making your cuts.
Cutting the Notches
The notches in the stringers are where the treads and risers will fit into. You need to make sure these notches are cut correctly so your stairs will be safe and sturdy. There are a few different ways you can cut the notches. You can use a power saw, a hand saw, or a chisel.
Use a handsaw to cut the notches
Use a handsaw to cut the notches, being extra careful not to cut into the top or bottom of the stringer. A mistakes here will make your stairs look wonky. If you don’t have a handsaw, you can use a circular saw, but be even more careful not to cut too deep. You may want to make a few practice cuts on some scraps before cutting into your good lumber.
Use a chisel to clean up the notches
Once you’ve cut the notches, use a chisel to clean up the waste wood from the center of the notch. For best results, start with a sharp chisel and hold it at a 45-degree angle to the stringer. Take small chips out of the wood until the sides of the notch are smooth.
Attaching the Stringer to the Stairway
The first thing you need to do is to mark the outline of the stringer on the ground. You need to make sure that the marks are level so that the stringer will be level when you attach it to the stairway. Next, you will need to cut the stringer to the correct size. Once the stringer is cut to size, you can attach it to the stairway.
Secure the stringer to the stairway
Measure the distance from the bottom of the stairway to the top, adding 2 inches to account for the riser. This is the total length of your stringer.
Cut a 2-by-12 to this length. Place it flat on the ground near the stairway so that one end sticks up at a 90-degree angle. This is your stringer.
Now you need to mark where each tread will go. To do this, measure out from the right side of your stringer the width of each tread plus an extra 1/2 inch for overhang. Make a mark at this measurement, then continue making marks at equal intervals down the length of your stringer.
You should now have a mark for each tread, plus two extra marks at each end of the stringer for attaching it to the stairway later on.
Attach the risers and treads to the stringer
Use 3-inch deck screws to attach the risers and treads to the stringers. At the top and bottom of each riser, use two screws. At each tread, use three screws. At the open end of each stringer, use two screws. The risers and treads should overhang the stringers by about 1 inch on each side.
Finishing the Staircase
The stringers are the main support for your stairs, so it’s important to get them right. In this article, we’ll show you how to cut stair stringers that fit perfectly and look great. We’ll also give you some tips on how to finish your staircase.
Install the handrail
To finish the staircase, you will need to install the handrail. The handrail is the vertical rail that you grip when going up or down the stairs. It is usually made of wood or metal and is attached to the stair treads with balusters.
To install the handrail, you will first need to measure the length of the staircase and mark out the positions of the balusters on the handrail. Then, using a drill and screwdriver, attach the handrail to the balusters. Finally, use a saw to cut the handrail to length and install it in position.
Install the balusters
After the newels are in place, it’s time to install the balusters. For this project we installed 30-in. tall spindles, so we cut the balusters to that length less 1/4 in. to allow for expansion and contraction. We also chamfered the ends of the balusters with a 1/4-in. wide chisel to give them a more finished look (Photo 11).