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close this bookStairmaking - Course: Timberwork techniques. Instruction examples for practical vocational training (Institut für Berufliche Entwicklung, 34 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreliminary Remarks
View the documentInstruction Example 8.1.: Taking off Dimensions at the Stairwell
View the documentInstruction Example 8.2.: Determination for the Ratio of Rise and Tread
View the documentInstruction Example 8.3.: Scribing of landing connections
View the documentInstruction Example 8.4.: Manufacture of Template and Angular Board
View the documentInstruction Example 8.5.: Scribing and Preparing the Stair Strings
View the documentInstruction Example 8.6.: Manufacture of Steps and Risers
View the documentInstruction Example 8.7.: Assembly of the Stair Flight

Instruction Example 8.1.: Taking off Dimensions at the Stairwell

A stairwell for straight mortised stairs two opposed branches of flights (180 degrees' turn) and with landing is to be measured in order to compare the dimensions with the drawing.


Hand tools

Hammer, hand saw

Measuring and testing means

Folding rule, water level, hanging plumb, straightedge, builder's square

Auxiliary accessories

Pencil, battens to transfer the sizes

Necessary previous knowledge

Reading of drawings, measuring, plumbing, levelling, aligning, scribing

Explanations to the working drawing

In stairmaking, it is never the stairwell that is shown in a drawing but always the stairs to be built into it.

Sequence of operations


1. Draw a hand-sketch.

Draw the dimensions lines only. Draw the plan view and sectional view.

2. Put the builder's square on the upper ceiling at the opening intended for the stairs to be built in and check for squareness.

Apply the longer leg at the stair range. If necessary, determine the right angle and note down in the sketch.

3. Measure a gauge size on the straightedge and scribe-mark.

Use a size corresponding to the decimentric system, such as 1.0m, 1.1 m, 1.20 m etc. Write the gauge size into the hand-sketch.

4. Wind up the plumb cord and fix it to the straightedge at the scribed marks.

Cord must have a sufficient length to extend until the surface of the half-landing.

5. Put the straightedge on the surface of the main top landing in the area of the wall string.

6. Support the straightedge by a batten to be held perpendicularly and move the straightedge towards the half-landing.

Saw a notch into the upper end of the batten or nail a projecting bearing block onto either wide side of the batten so that the straightedge will not slip off the cross-grained end of the supporting batten. Hold the batten perpendicularly and move it carefully together with the straightedge. Make sure that the straightedge is not released, otherwise danger of accidents! The plumb cord must not contact the front edge of the half-landing.

7. Put the water level on the straightedge and level ist.

Check the water level for accuracy first.

8. Put the perpendicular batten to the half-landing and scribe-mark the surface of the landing.

Identify the scribed mark with index "W" so that mix-up will be avoided when entering the dimensions into the hand-sketch!

9. Scribe the front edge of the main top landing on the straightedge.

Don't forget index "W"!

10. Wait until the pendulum movement of the hanging plumb stopped and measure the difference between the plumb cord and front edge of the half-landing.

Add up the gauge size scribed on the straightedge and the difference and enter into the plan view of the hand-sketch as flight length.

11. Move the supported straightedge towards the outer string and repeat WORKING STEPS 7. to 10. above in the area of the outer string!

Identify scribed marks on straightedge and batten with index "F"!

12. Retract straightedge with supporting batten towards main landing.

Make sure that the straightedge is not tilted or released!

13. Measure the scribed sizes on the batten and enter into hand-sketch.

Mind indexes "W" and "F"! Write into the sectional view as flight height between half-landing and main top landing.

14. Take a longer batten and put it to the front edges of the two main landings. Scribe-mark the surfaces of the landings.

Hold the batten perpendicularly! Apply the batten in the areas of the wall string and outer string.

15. Remove the batten and measure the size between the scribed marks, write into hand-sketch.

Write into sectional view as floor-to-floor height.

16. Check the landings for horizontal position.

Write any deviations into hand-sketch with "+" or"-".

17. Check the stairwell width, contact the wall with the batten and scribe inner edge.

Write stairwell width into hand-sketch.

18. Find out the stair flight length and stairwell width from the hand-sketch.

Base on determined angle.

19. Compare the dimensions taken off the stairwell with those in the drawing.

Stairs are to be built to the dimensions of the stairwell!

Taking off Dimensions at the Stairwell