The cats have lost their favorite hiding place. I finally got off my duff and removed the three bottom stairs today, in preparation for rebuilding them with a landing and a turn.
Clearly, the above is cobbled together, with what appears to be the original stringer serving the same purpose here, though not at all properly. The risers, of course, should be flush with the L-shapes in the stringer. If you look closely, you can see the chiseled curve on the stringer that matches the curve of the second riser…and that the full sweep of the curve on the tread and riser have been cut off (dammit) to fit into the wall that formerly blocked in the staircase.
I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to reuse that stringer, attaching it to the rebuilt support structure for the landing, after using it to lay out a matching stringer for the other side.
With a wrecking bar, I was able to pull that riser away from its rather precarious after-market joist enough to get a metal-cutting blade in between, and slice the nails.
I was both pleasantly surprised that a) it was so easy to then remove the bottom stairs and b) that they hadn’t fallen down in the last six months with me atop them.
After sweeping out the dust and a bit of plaster from under, I crawled in for a closer look at the construction that has remained – as far as I can deduce – undisturbed since it was built in 1906.
Now, I’m on the hunt for two planks of 120-year-old (or so) 1″ thick tight-grained yellow pine, at least 13″ wide and 60″ long, to make two bottom treads (my curses on whomever cut the original ones). I also need 13 or so 7/8″-thick x 3-1/4″-wide x 40″ long (or wider, that I can cut down) old-growth yellow-pine floorboards for the landing treads – though I can, if I must, scavenge those from the third floor.
I’ve already tried the architectural salvage yards within 125 miles of me,; no joy. (Apparently, not too many folks bother pulling stair treads and floorboards from tear-downs.) If you know of a source, please do let me know.
But I guess there’s no hurry. I need to knock together the joists etc. that will support the landing, and get to work on the spindles and railing.
I hope I remember to use only the back stairs for now; I really should put up some “Caution” tape at the top. I also hope I can find the cats’ new hiding place; it’s time for a visit to the vet.