Building a Future for Distributors and Dealers of Building Products

Volume 44,  Issue 6                                        July/August  2005

A New Look at Stairs
A Showcase of Products and Services from SMA Members

Westminster, Mass.-based Stairway Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) was formed officially in 1988 to insure the growth and prosperity of the stair industry. The issues central to the charter members focused on building-code development. Through the years it has grown to include stair part manufacturers, stair builders, installers, millwork distributors and related associated businesses that support the stairway industry. This is the first time SHELTER has showcased the members of the SMA. Here are some of the products they manufacture or distribute:

Company Maintains $1 Million in Inventory
Carolina Stair Supply of Uhrichsville, Ohio, is a family-owned business that has been associated with top-quality custom staircases and stair parts for over 25 years. Company officials say they are proud to be a current member of the SMA, and stock oak and poplar woods along with having a three-week turn around on cherry, hard maple, white oak, mahogany and Brazilian cherry. The company maintains a $1 million inventory and ships job-lot orders in 48 hours or less. 

The company is also a quality builder of curved, flared and spiral stairs to customer specifications.

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Stairs That are Limited Only by the Imagination
A new preassembled staircase has been released by North Atlantic Corp. of Somerset, Mass., and the company says it is considered the most efficient method of stair building for larger projects and production markets. The staircase delivers fast, accurate installation and job-site labor savings that combine additional enhancements.

The company uses a combination of old-world joinery, computers, production equipment and years of hands-on craftsmanship to create strong, beautiful, cost-effective staircases. 

Available in a choice of custom or stock pre-fitted rail systems, the company’s standard curves help limit the labor required to build the stair by allowing the standardization of many procedures, thereby reducing the cost. 

Custom-curved staircases are available in an array of curves and layouts, and is custom-designed with a computer-assisted design and manufacturing processes. Complete installation is offered upon request. or 508/679-6479.

Uneeda Enterprizes Introduces Brush and Sander Lines
Spring Valley, N.Y.-based Uneeda’s Edruflex brushes combine powerful sanding qualities with durability. They are designed for fine sanding and denibbing of all profile shapes and sizes. Constructed with sandpaper strips and Tampico set in one synthetic core, the brushes conform to different shapes and don’t distort the integrity of the profile, according to the company release. They dramatically reduce hand sanding and may lower abrasive and labor costs.

There is also an expanded line of sanders, including the random orbital disc sanders and orbital sheet sanders. The random orbital sander is long-lasting, light weight and produces minimal vibration.

The orbital sheet sander is available in 3-inch by 4-inch and 3.67-inch by 7-inch and can be configured to use PSA or hook and loop sheets. The company release says that despite the small size, they are powerful and durable sanders that feature a low profile and center of gravity for stability during usage. or 800/431-2494.

MAi Produces Stair Parts and Doorways
Exclusive turnings from Italy are the basis of the stair line offered under the Biltmore Estate® For Your Home brand by Moulding Associates Inc. (Mai) of Wylie, Texas. The company says its Busi-designed newels and balusters are unique and of high quality.

Constructed of furniture-quality European beech hardwood, they can be stained to compliment most woods used for handrails and stair steps, according to the company. Each baluster and standard newel are created from one piece of wood for strength and consistency. Iron and stone are combined in the stair design materials to create an elegantly consistent element in the interior architecture, design and decoration of a home. or 800/394-6680.

Designing Complex Stair Components Easily
AppliCad of Jupiter, Fla., has unveiled Version 3.5 of its FlightMaster software for the stair building industry. AppliCad’s FlightMaster is unique because it was developed for the professional stair builder—making the design of complex stair components easy. 

Volutes, turnouts, goosenecks on hand rails plus turned newell posts and balusters are all automatically and accurately created as part of the entire stair structure, according to the company. The operator defines the stairwell opening and the floor-to-floor height while the software does the rest.

It also allows the operator to build a stair by component. Once complete, the software generates working drawings, customer specs, a detailed costing and quotation. It also includes enhancements for the typical over-the-post style of staircase. 

The result is an accurate quotation and a detailed parts list. The software sits on top of a powerful CAD software package (included in the price) that allows access to a photo-realistic rendering of the staircase. This feature may assist stair builders in the sales process and bring an increase in sales volume and improved profits. or 800/966-1698.

Wrought Iron Gets a Finishing Touch
North Wilkesboro, N.C.-based Crown Heritage has introduced two new colors to its wrought iron collections of balusters, newels and accessories. The company’s hand-rubbed copper and brushed nickel are the newest distinctive finishes, designed to match the styles of changing trends in home hardware. 

The brushed-nickel finish allows the color of the balusters to match the hardware found throughout a house to create a uniform design flow. The hand-rubbed copper finish features subtle copper accents which show through a black finish. or 800/745-5931.

StairCon™ Revolutionizes Staircase Design, Drafting and Manufacturing
Smithfield, R.I.-based StairVision, a joint venture between North Atlantic Corp. and Computer Associates Inc., has released StairCon, an innovative Windows-based software package that simplifies staircase drawing, 3-D visualization, quotation, production and materials lists, and CNC manufacturing. From design through CNC production, StairCon provides robust automation for stair builders and manufacturers challenged to accelerate information-flow, eliminate operative wastes and reduce errors.

The software provides 3-D visualization specific to material selections, price calculation, bill of materials, shop drawings and CNC code generation, and provides the ability to export data to other systems. The company consults to provide complete solutions for fixtures and tooling related to stair manufacturing.

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Cut Four Stringers at Once
Merrick Machine Co. of Alda, Neb., has introduced the model OSS open stringer saw, which can cut up to four stringers at a time, according to a company release. The machine will cut 2 by 12 or 2 by 10 stringers and is PC-controlled with automatic indexing and cutting. The motorized soft-saw feed and soft-start motor delivers a smooth exact cut, according to the company.

Powered by two motors, the two 30-inch by 80-inch tooth carbide-tipped blades down cut with no over cut. The company says it can accommodate 25- to 45-degree stringer angles and infeed/outfeed roller conveyors are included with each unit. 

Also offered is a full line of stair equipment to complement any-size production shop. Other stair machinery includes the SSR computer numerically-controlled stair router, TSR template stair router, wedge cutter, staircase assembly clamp, bull nose saw and a rail boring machine. or 308/384-1780.

Variation of Styles Galore
L. J. Smith Stair Systems of Bowerston, Ohio, manufacturers 41 different wood baluster styles, 41 iron baluster styles, 53 wood newel styles, four iron newel posts and 32 handrail profiles in red oak, white oak, poplar, walnut, mahogany, hickory, beech, hemlock, cherry and maple.

The company’s iron collection of newels, balusters and accessories are available in four finishes including silver vein, bronze vein, primed matte black and primed textured black.
Also offered is a unique line of box newels and coordinating accessories to allow homeowners and builders to carry the millwork theme throughout homes to the stairway.

They are available in four different styles including fluted panel, raised panel, recessed panel and plain panel, and are offered in two different wood or iron inlay styles. The collection of box newels are crafted with a flat top and can be accessorized with finials, embossed carvings and rosettes, according to the company. or contact 740/269-2221.

Long-Standing New York Company Obtains Patents
Allwood Stillwell Stairs and Railings Inc. located in Westchester County, N.Y., is a third generation custom stair and railing manufacturer. Since 1946, its business has been built by supplying small home renovation specialists as well as many large contractors in the Westchester County area. The company says it attributes its success to the educated, enthusiastic and talented staff, along with a variety of long-term suppliers. 

Recently, the company obtained patents for designs in both risers and balusters, which are becoming popular with homeowners looking for something rare. According to a release from the company, the addition of a CNC router has expanded the company’s in-house capabilities. or 914/232-3114.

New Facility to Serve Ever-Expanding Market Share
Ideal Stair Parts has established a new 25,000 square-foot distribution center in Taneytown, Md., to supply products to the Mid-Atlantic states quickly. According to a company release, Ideal’s mission is to combine high-quality manufacturing with distribution to provide customers with the best source of stair parts available in the marketplace.

The company inventories a variety of high-end styles and profiles in red oak, maple, cherry and mahogany. Additionally, its manufacturing facility in Little Falls, N.Y., is expanding, with the addition of three new turning lathes to increase capacity and productivity. A manufacture-to-order program makes it possible for the company to provide special requirements. Engineered handrails and treads for stability, excellent color and quality are also being offered. 

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New Generation Stair Router Machine Gives Customers the Edge
Builders Automation Machinery Co. of Largo, Fla. is receiving rave reviews on its new servo-driven stair router machine, which features an updated design and high-tech components for the automation production of prefabricated stairs.

“It was time to integrate modern technology into trusted machinery design, since basic stair equipment hadn’t changed much in years,” said Robert Mitvalsky, chief executive officer.

The result is the CNC stair router, machinery that’s programmable to produce exact measurements. Working directly from CAD drawings, an engineer can download directly to the processor, or an operator can control processes through manual entry into a menu-driven touch screen. Input is fast and easy after fractional dimensions that define the stair configuration are calculated, according to the company.

The stair router is engineered with four axes that cut two stringers simultaneously. The machine makes the top and bottom landing cuts without removing or repositioning the stringers. It’s also capable of producing open, box and contemporary stringers and of making the return miter cut on open stringers.

“Even with our big expansion in 2004, we’re having to lengthen some lead times from order until guaranteed delivery and installation, because we’re near capacity production levels,” said Wolfgang Schusser, president. “We feel we’ve revolutionized the way manufacturers will be making stairs from today forward.” or 727/538-2180.

CMS Offers Machining Center and Software
Caledonia, Mich-based CMS North America manufacturers a machining center and software designed for the production of standard and custom-made staircases. The CMS PENTAX machining center is equipped with a five-axes working unit with a 20-place tool-changing magazine that allows the production of complicated stair components without sacrificing the rigidity required for producing stair components that only require three interpolated axes. The high performance 16 HP spindle has a maximum speed of 24,000 rpm and is equipped with pneumatic brakes on the rotating axes to increase the rigidity during heavy three axes machining. Additional optional working units include drilling units, a saw blade group and mechanical aggregates. Twelve-, 17- and 25-foot table lengths are available to satisfy all staircase manufacturers. The CAD software, POWERSTAIRS, is for the design and production of standard and custom-made staircases and can be used to make sales quotations. STAIRSCAM is the CAM software that works with POWERSTAIRS. Benefits of the machine include reduced design time and production phases, increased productivity, and reduced training time and costs, according to the company. It also simplifies the use of the machining center. Knowledge of CAD design is not required, and the company guarantees quality and precision of the finished stair components. or 800/225-5267.

Stair-Trends Offers Three-and Five-Length Baluster Systems
StairTrends of Bedford Heights, Ohio, is a manufacturer of quality wood and iron stair parts. The company believes it offers one of the most complete selections that you will find in the stair industry. You can choose from the traditional five-length baluster system or the newer three-length baluster system. 

StairTrends hardwood parts are manufactured in cherry, maple, red oak, poplar, white oak, hickory, mahogany, walnut and Brazilian cherry. The company offers ten rail profiles with matching fittings. Iron balusters are offered in seven unique finishes. 

Quality, selection and a large inventory have been the company’s keys to success for over 40 years. or 216/292-6555.

PC-Products® Announces Magical Epoxy formula for Stair Parts
PC-Products of Allentown, Pa., offers a high-end epoxy formula which is used in bonding and anchoring metal balusters into stairways.

PC-SuperEpoxy® is designed for multi-purpose applications. It has a gel or paste-like consistency, so it will not drip or run when applied to a vertical surface and is translucent in color. It sets in 15 minutes with a cure time of three to four hours, according to the company. The product’s strength is a stand-out feature and it is known to handle tough jobs such as anchoring rebar into concrete.

PS-SuperEpoxy is commonly sold in a static mixing system which is designed for larger projects such as stairway balusters. It is available in 50-, 300- and 600-milliliter sizes. or 610/432-3543.

Getting Wise Means Saving Labor
Largo, Fla.-based WISE Corp.’s 5200 double stringer routing machine is a heavy-duty and labor saving workstation. It automatically feeds and routs left- and right-hand stringers simultaneously.

The clamping and feed system has been upgraded to help increase production.
Dual heavy-duty 2 HP direct drive spindles rout tough woods, such as oak.

The tread and riser template is a field-proven and time-tested method of producing high quality and error-free stringers.

The WISE 5200 also offers built-in jump dado function, a no riser feature, AMP meters to determine resistance and bit sharpness and an automatic riser counter.

The WISE 5210 staircase assembly clamp table is an efficient way to complete the modern stair building operation, according to the company. It is designed to clamp the stringers, treads and risers in position securely for nail, glue and wedge application. or 800/237-8440.

Wooden Stair Remains Timeless
Kitchener Ontario-based George Guenzler and Sons Inc. provides high-quality wooden balusters, newel posts and railing components to North American stair builders. The company offers a range of standard balusters from plain to fluted and roped styles.

Standards are available in red oak, hard and soft maple, poplar and knotty pine, and available for immediate shipping. 

The company says it turns custom balusters for many customers looking for something different. They can also match an existing pattern from the past, according to the company. Custom balusters and newel posts are available in almost every species.
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Automatic CNC Stair Router is a Cinch
Cordes Machine Division of Mountainside, N.J., will be entering its 65th year of building equipment, and is currently offering many products for the stair-building industry.

The fully-automatic CNC stair router, a 3.5-axis, 10-HP dual direct drive machine, routs stringers used for box stair construction, various types of steps including open stringers and requires very little operator training. The ready-to-run machine requires no programming, according to the company. An operator can enter fractions and see a to-scale picture of the step prior to cutting. Automatic Kerfing Saw for bullnose 0.25 and 0.5 rounds, a single 10-inch blade enables operator selectable depth and pitch of kerfs on the backside of risers or other, solid wood products which need to be bendable. The automatic wedge cutter enables wedges to be processed continuously from blank wood blocks, consuming all the board. Easy-to-use knob adjustments allow use with a variety of board sizes. All equipment is built here in the U.S. and comes with a factory warranty. or 800/233-4780.

Stair Parts Design with Stairbuilder in Mind
Builders Stair Supply Inc. of St. Louis was founded in 1985 under the name West County Stair, a custom-stair installation company. Today, operations cover all areas from stair part sales and custom installation to wholesale distribution of the company’s trademarked “Comfort Rail.”

The company is currently developing a line of highly contemporary stair parts, utilizing architectural elements from the mission and art deco eras. Company officials say that the stair parts will offer a unique design feature unavailable on the market today. or 314/963-9217.

Ravenwood Stairways Offers Easy Spiral System
Bloomfield, Prince Edward Island-based Ravenwood Stairways offers a brilliantly-packaged wooden spiral staircase available for delivery anywhere in North America. The product is available in a variety of sizes, wood types, newel and handrail designs. 

The spiral staircases combine style and functionality to provide additional living space for the discerning homeowner. Also available for delivery across North America is the Victorian Newel Collection which bring elegance to the home, transforming any staircase into a conversation piece, according to the company. or 902/853-3037.

SP Partners Expands Rainbow Attic Stair Line
Stamford, Conn.-based SP Partners released five new attic stair products earlier this year. The product line includes: Star—a mid-range telescoping attic stair, SteelFold—an entry level steel folding attic stair, ProTech—a 30-minute fire-rated unit, WallAccess—a specialized side-entry (wall-mounted) stair that is also fire rated, and Lofty—another specialized unit that can be mounted to the face of a loft.

All Rainbow products are heavy-duty steel and have a 350-pound capacity.

Rainbow Attic Stairs, with nearly 400 dealers nationwide is quickly becoming the standard by which high-quality attic stairs are measured. It has been featured by HGTV and DIY Network on television and will appear again on an upcoming episode of Weekend Handyman; the episode will highlight the ease of installation of the Prestige model, according to company information. or 800/658-2433.

Helping Builders Sell More Homes
South Florida based-Symmetrical Stair focuses its attention to detail on products that help builders sell more homes, according to owner AJ Cheponis.

The company designs, engineers, builds, delivers and installs staircase and railing systems from Central Florida to Key West. Products range from standard straight stairs and railings for apartment complexes to exquisite unique designs for prestigious oceanfront estate homes. Designs range from timeless and classic styles to the cutting-edge, and utilize steel, glass, wood and various exotic materials not associated with typical staircase designs, according to the company. or 954/974-7879.

Choice Makes All Types of Wood Stairs
A Southern Maryland-based company serving all of Maryland, Northern Virginia, Delaware, Washington, D.C., and parts of Pennsylvania, Choice manufactures all types of wood stairs from production box to circulars. The rail department fabricates pre-assembled/pre-finished products to compliment the product offering. The company will install any rail product it offers including glass and metal. Choice services all types of builders from custom to large production, according to company officials.


Old World’s Unique Place in the Market
Old World Millworks of Maple Park, Ill., has been supplying knowledgeable stair builders with material and parts for over 20 years, and has carved out a unique niche in the marketplace, according to a company release.

The company offers 20 available species, 14 rail profiles (each with a full line of fittings), custom box newels, reproduced turnings, and one-of-a-kind grain-top bending rail, which can be made up to 24 feet. or 877/653-9753.

UBS Offers Wall-Rail Brackets
Minneapolis, Minn.-based Universal Building Systems (UBS) manufacturers any piece of hardware required to assemble a staircase. The company is well known for developing the patented Sure-Tite™, which has become a widely used newel-post fastener among stair professionals, according to company information. With the Sure-Tite™, a newel can be installed securely in as little as ten minutes. It will not loosen over time and it can be installed directly over any finished floor, according to company officials.

UBS has announced that it now has more than 40 wall-rail brackets in its offering. The company continues to add new designs and/or finishes as the needs of the marketplace increase. or 800/200-6770.

Anderson Wood “Makes Wood Work” 
For more than a quarter of a century, Anderson Wood of Louisville, Ky., has provided handrail and other lineal products to the stair industry.

From its manufacturing facility in Louisville, the 100-year-old fourth-generation family-operated company supplies a full complement of profiles, styles and species to a group of customers that includes stair-program accounts, millwork distributors and stair professionals.

Its recent multi-million-dollar plant expansion incorporated up-to-date manufacturing technology, which allowed increased capacity, greater efficiency and much more flexibility to service the stair industry, according to company officials.

According to company information, with Anderson Wood, you can expect short lead times, low minimum quantities and dedicated trucks delivering a diverse mix of high-quality products. Along with this comes the company’s strong commitment to your success, according to company officials. or 502/778-5591.

Coffman Adds New Finishes to Forged Iron Collection
Coffman Stairs of Marion, Va., long recognized as a manufacturer of quality stair parts available in popular, premium and specialty wood species, has added two stylish finishes to its Forged Iron collection. The new options, Oil Rubbed Copper and Antique Nickel, join the four original finishes, Powder Coat, Matte Black, Satin Black and Antique Bronze. 

Each option is available on all scroll, basket, twist, hammered and feathered baluster styles. The company’s Forged Iron line offers hand-crafted collections, newels, medallions and brass baskets that help builders, stair installers and remodeling contractors build sales by satisfying homeowners’ desire for design flexibility and distinctive looks. 

Plus installation and proper alignment is simple, helping save both time and money.
In addition to providing a full range of stair-system parts and styles, Coffman Stairs offers innovative products that solve distribution and installation problems. For example, the Tru-Line Balustrade System has reduced inventory requirements and offers architecturally correct alignment at any angle and cost-effective, perfect alignment on inside and outside curved stair applications. 

Coffman Stairs is a company of VISADOR Holding Corp. VISADOR also supplies quality wood and synthetic columns, decking and railing through its Crown Column & Millwork company. or 276/783-7251.

Finding the Right Fit
Berkshire Millwork Sales operates in Pennsylvania and sells directly to the stair-building trade of the Mid-Atlantic states. Its mission is to have a small nucleus of products that can be sold to the stair builder, to keep a high standard of service to both manufacturers and customers.

The company’s leaders attribute their phenomenal growth to absolute, non-ending attention to detail and service to their customers. 

Along with this ideal, the company focuses on searching for products and manufacturers that match. According to a company release, the products and companies must be of superior quality, fairly priced and be able to sustain the rigors of exceptional service levels.


Wrought Iron Stair Components Offer Hidden Protection
Fitts Industries Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., has introduced a sixth finish of wrought iron stair components with a high corrosion resistant e-coating for exterior use. Satin black is the latest addition to the company’s extensive iron offering which includes textured black, silver black, antique bronze, antique nickel and oil-rubbed bronze.

Cathodic electrophoretic deposition, or e-coat, is an electrically-applied paint undercoating developed originally for the automotive industry as a substitute for galvanization. It offers superior coverage, adhesion, and corrosion resistance and provides wrought iron stair components durability, and an added advantage for interior stair installations in coastal environments. The e-coat process also has adhesion qualities to provide an excellent prepared surface for powder-coat finishes.

Fitts manufactures quality stair parts in hardwoods, hemlock and many alternative species such as Brazilian cherry, black walnut, white oak and knotty pine. There are also six finishes of wrought iron stair parts including black, satin black, silver-black, antique bronze, oil-rubbed bronze and antique nickel. or 205/345-5188. 

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