Volume 415, Issue 6 - August 2006

Stairway Manufacturers’Association’s 
Special Section

Climbing to the Top
SMA Products

Westminster, Mass.-based Stairway Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) was formed officially in 1988 to insure the growth and prosperity of the stair industry. The association has grown to include stair part manufacturers, stair builders, installers, millwork distributors and related businesses that support the stairway industry. This is the second year SHELTER has showcased the members of the SMA. Here are some of the products they manufacture or distribute:

A New Twist on a Classic Design
Moulding Associates Inc. (MAi) of Wylie, Texas, has introduced Florentine flair to its La Scala Collection, a line of fine stair components licensed by Biltmore Estate For Your Home. The seventh offering in the collection, Florentine’s twists are distinguished by a continuous-raised ribbon motif inspired by an Italianate fireplace surround in Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C.
Like all La Scala designs, Florentine components are crafted of unfinished European beech by master wood turner Giacomo Busi of Sedrina, Italy. Newels may be accented with over-the-post pieces or a choice of finial styles. Matching architectural components are also available.

Fitts is the Right Fit
Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Fitts Industries Inc. manufactures one of the most comprehensive lines of high-quality stair components in the millwork industry. The company offers stock product lines in northern red oak, hard maple, soft maple, steamed beech, steamed American cherry, hemlock, alder, poplar, knotty pine, as well as a full line of wrought iron stair components in six elegant finishes, including black, black satin, silver, antique bronze, antique nickel and rubbed bronze. Custom turnings are available in alternative species such as Santos mahogany, black walnut, hickory, Brazilian cherry, white oak and more. 

The company says its success is based on a vertically integrated structure that includes: the process and storage of green lumber, on-site kiln operations, computer-rip operations, and moulder operations, a custom turning operation, in-house tooling department and East and West coast warehousing facilities that effectively supply its North American and Japanese customer base.

Realize Greater Sales
Coffman Stairs, headquartered in Marion, Va., is a leading manufacturer of quality stair systems with a long tradition of delivering innovative products and programs to the stair building industry.

A new pre-finishing program reduces installation costs and eliminates jobsite finishing and sanding. Available on every SKU in the Coffman line, builders can choose from four popular finishes: natural, golden oak, provincial and early American. Stain kits and colored putties are also available. Matching Minwax® stains from Sherwin-Williams® help coordinate interior millwork.

The company says customers can realize great sales and high margins with an expanded box newel program. New mission, true raised panel and recessed panel newels tap into popular style segments. A full complement of intermediate newels increases design possibilities. New primed newels, available with any choice of hardwood tops and moulding, enhance customization capabilities.

MAKA Has Multiple Axis CNCs
MAKA distributed by JRM International of Loves Park, Ill., manufactures three-, four- and five-axis CNC routers. The typical machine is supplied as a five axis with a 16 horse-power spindle, an HSK 63F tool acceptance and a 12 to 32 tool magazine. While the machine has no table, it has support bars where the vacuum pods are mounted. 

The support bars move in the Y direction, the vacuum pods move in the X direction. Pneumatic lifting bars aid in the loading of stringers and larger winder treads. There are retractable pneumatic stops for locating parts quickly, pneumatic clamps for posts and handrails and a laser positioning system. 

Get Help from Symmetrical Stair
Symmetrical Stair Inc. of Florida is a full-service designer and provider of stair and rail systems for both the residential and commercial sector.

Symmetrical Stair has designed, built and installed stair and rail systems for major developments throughout the state. The company says its commitment to precision and excellence impresses developers—so much so that the top executives of numerous major development companies have contracted Symmetrical Stair to design, build and install the staircases for their own private residences.

Add Some Character with StairMeister
StairMeister Log Works LLC of Boulder, Colo., specializes in handcrafted log stairways, railings and mantels. StairMeister offers many styles of straight run, spiral and circular stairs, utilizing log and timber construction. The company’s craftsmen also build many one-of-a-kind stairways. Special character and flared root base logs, wild-life carvings, decorative metal panels and hand-forged iron or copper balusters can be incorporated into any stair and railing system. The Millennium stair features tapered half-log treads scribed into curving full log stringers below. The stairway is integrated into the structure with matching straight and curved guard rails.

Light Up Your Stairs
Lighted Landings of Defiance, Mo., has hardwood newel posts and matching balusters. The company carries several styles of lighted newels along with matching balusters available in a variety of species and sizes. 

The company says lighted newel posts and matching balusters are helping custom home builders and stair installers craft new ideas into their existing work with little to no change in standard installation procedures. 

No More Over-Cuts with the OSS
Alda, Neb.-based Merrick Machine Co. (Triad/Ruvo) recently introduced its Model Open Stringer Saw (OSS). The company says the OSS was designed to increase productivity safely. This one-of-a-kind machine cuts open profile stairs, four stringers (2 inches by 10 inches or 2 inches by 12 inches) at a time with no over-cut.

The saw is powered by two soft start motors that run two 30-inch by 80-inch tooth carbide blades. The straight down, no over-cut feature eliminates the conventional method required to finish-off corner cuts. The OSS will handle 25- to 45-degree stringer angles.

The machine is PC-controlled and has automatic indexing and cutting. An in-feed and out-feed conveyor comes as standard equipment with the unit.

Get All the Trimmings with Ply-Trim
The Ply-Trim stair stringer product is an engineered wood product that is manufactured in a structural 1-inch and non-structural ¾-inch net thicknesses. Available in stocked lengths from 14 feet to 20 feet in both sizes, the company says Ply-Trim is the only product on the market that offers the versatility and flexibility to meet engineered stair needs. 

Available in widths of 9-1/4 inches and 11-1/4 inches, the company can produce custom sizes, depending on building codes requirements. 

Products come primed on all four sides and straight length trucks are available.

The company has manufacturing and distribution facilities in Tacoma, Wash., and Youngstown, Ohio.

UBS Offers More Than 40 Choices
Minneapolis, Minn.-based Universal Building Systems (UBS) manufactures any piece of hardware required to assemble a staircase. The company is best known for developing the patented Sure-Tite™, which has become the most widely used newel post fastener among stair professionals. 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.

UBS has more than 40 wall-rail brackets in its product offering.

WISE Up with the 5200
The WISE 5200 double stringer routing machine is a heavy-duty and labor saving workstation, according to officials of the Largo, Fla.-based company. It automatically feeds and routs a set of stringers simultaneously.

The machine’s heavy-duty clamp and feed system helps increase production, and the dual heavy-duty two horse-power direct drive spindle routs the toughest woods. 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 the following standard features:
• Built in jump dado function;
• No riser feature;
• AMP meters to determine resistance and bit sharpness; and
• Automatic riser counter.

The company says the WISE 5210 staircase assembly clamp table is an efficient way to complete the modern stair-building operation. It is designed to securely clamp the stringers, treads and risers in position for nailing, gluing and wedging applications.

Increase Your 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. 

Making Wood Work
For more than a quarter of a century, Anderson Wood Products has provided handrail and other lineal products to the stair industry. 

From its manufacturing facility in Louisville, Ky., this 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.

A recent multi-million dollar plant expansion incorporates current manufacturing technology allowing increased capacity, greater efficiency and much more flexibility to service the stair industry.

Stair Parts Offers Many Wood Species
Stair Parts Inc. of Adairsville, Ga., prides itself in being an innovative leader in the design and manufacture of architectural stair components. By combining technology and dedicated craftsmanship, the company says it creates unique, technically-advanced, hardwood newels, balusters, handrails, fittings, treads, risers and stair accessories. 

Finished goods inventory includes six different wood species: red oak, American cherry, mahogany, hard maple, lyptus and poplar. The company also manufacturers a wide variety of exotic wood species that includes Brazilian cherry, white oak, alder, hickory and walnut.

An Ideal Company
Berkshire Millwork Sales, with offices in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, sells directly to the stair-building trade in the New England and Mid-Atlantic states. Its mission is to have a small nucleus of products that can be sold to the stair builder, to have a high standard of service to both manufacturers and customers.

The company’s leaders attribute Berkshire’s phenomenal growth to absolute non-ending attention to detail. Along with this ideal, the company focuses on searching for products and manufacturers that match. 

CMS Offers Machining Centers and Software
Caledonia, Mich.-based CMS North America manufactures a series of machining centers and software designed for the production of standard and custom-made staircases. The CMS AVANT machining center series is available in four different widths (from 5 feet to 9 feet) and seven different lengths (from 11 feet, six inches to 32 feet) of vacuum tables to accommodate a large range of part sizes. 

Many accessories are available for the vacuum table including a removable vacuum pods, reference stops, vertical and horizontal vices. A wide range of working units are available and include four-station and eight-station revolvers with 11.4 horse-power spindles, three and four axes 16 horse-power automatic tool-changing spindles, five axes 16 horse-power automatic tool-changing spindles and saw blade groups.

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, reduced training, time and cost, according to Steve Hillis, chief executive officer. It also simplifies the use of the machining center. Knowledge of CAD design is not required.

Sweet Carolina Stairs
Carolina Stair Supply of Uhrichsville, Ohio, is a family-owned company in its second generation of providing stair parts and custom wood stairs. 

The company has rotary head lathes, a hydraulic copy lathe, moulders, CNC routers, shapers and much more in its plant. Carolina produces stair parts and custom stairs in red oak, poplar, white oak, cherry, walnut, hard maple, soft maple, hickory, yellow pine, ash, Brazilian cherry mahogany and other wood species. Its balusters and newels are available plain, fluted or twisted or octagonal. The company also recently introduced reeded balusters and newels in the Savannah and Carolina series. A full line of wrought iron balusters and newels are also available in flat black, grey speckled, matte phosphate, satin black, copper vein or custom powder coating. 

The company has 23 styles of handrails and a complete line of wood mouldings.

Revolutionize Staircase Design with StairCon
StairVision Inc., an affiliate of Computer Associates, offers to staircase designers and manufacturers StairCon, an innovative, Windows-based software solution that enables stair builders to accelerate information flow, eliminate operative wastes and reduce errors. 

StairCon offers visualization, quotation, production and material lists, and CNC manufacturing of straight, circular, spiral, L-shaped, U-shaped and other custom staircases.

StairCon’s powerful 3-D visualization lets the user create and view staircase designs from different perspectives while configuring stringers, risers, treads and balustrades as well as raw material and labor. 

Get Comfortable with BSSI
Builders Stair Supply Inc. (BSSI) 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.

Ravenwood's Special Delivery
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.

A Broad Line of Stair Parts
L. J. Smith Stair Systems of Bowers-ton, Ohio, offers a broad and comprehensive line of quality interior stair parts. In all, the company manu-factures 41 different wood baluster styles, 41 iron baluster styles, 53 wood newel styles, four iron newel posts and 32 handrail profiles. L.J. Smith’s wood products are available in the following species: red oak, white oak, poplar, walnut, mahogany, hickory, beech, hemlock, cherry and maple.

Explore the Galaxy
SP Partners LLC of Stamford, Conn., continues to offer attic and other space access solutions with its first remote-controlled attic stair. The Galaxy model, unveiled at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando this year joins the expanding line of Rainbow Attic Stairs. The line offers telescoping and folding stairs, a fire-rated stair and two specialized stairs—one for wall access and one for loft access. 

Known for their height range versatility, high-weight capacity, space saving features and insulation value, Rainbow Attic Stairs sales have increased dramatically every year since their introduction in 2002. 

A Premium Product
Since 1979, Menuiserox Inc. of Beauceville, Quebec, has been providing its growing clientele with premium hardwood stair components. The company offers handrails, bending rails, landing treads and laminated squares.

Menuiserox also ensures its customers perfect color match and top-quality finger joints. White hard maple, red oak, cherry, beech and many more species are available. The company even offers handrails up to 24 feet long. 

Attention to Detail
Spring Valley Custom Millwork Inc. of Sinking Spring, Pa., offers a variety of wood products in oak, Brazilian cherry, American cherry, maple, walnut and other hardwoods. The company offers custom mantels, interior columns, reproduction and replication of mouldings and millwork along with custom curve, flair and winder stairs. Established in the year 2001 by Fiorino Grande and Gregg A. Lonaberger, president, the company recently celebrated its five-year anniversary with more than 50 employees whose experience spans years of excellence in custom woodworking and quality craftsmanship.

A Solid Stair Reputation
Family-owned, Sierra Stair of Loomis, Calif., has been in business since 1978. The company manufacturers curved/winding, free-standing, open and closed riser stairs.

Licensed in California and Nevada, but ships curved stairs and components world-wide, the company says it has built a reputation on quality and service with a high percentage of returning customers.

Getting Higher with Stair Risers
The Kerfkore Company of Brunswick, Ga., offers a stair riser that is made from its patented Kerfkore product line. The risers are available in either single- or double-nosed, and it comes in an 8-inch wide (step height) so that it can be ripped down to match the needed step-rise height. 

The stair risers come in a variety of substrates including red oak, pine and maple veneer. Substrates include plywood, particleboard and medium-density fiberboard. The fabricator can add dado cuts to position the shaping ribs and obtain the exact radius or shape required.

Stair Stringer Automatically Done
Cordes Machine Division of Mountainside, N.J. offers a fully automatic CNC stair router, which has a 3.5-axis, 10 horse-power dual direct drive machine and routs stringers used for box stair construction. With the machine, various types of steps including open stringers can be cut with the push of a button. 

The company says no setup or programming is needed, and the machine is easy to operate and maintain. An operator can enter fractions just like they are written on work orders and see a to-scale picture of the step prior to cutting.

Super Long Bending Rails
Old World Millworks of Maple Park, Ill., not only manufactures bending rail up to 24-feet long, but it also will do it in more than 20 species and in more than 15 profiles. The product arrives at the customer already “topped off” (top is finish-profiled) even in standard lengths. 

But the custom and off-species work (custom box newels, S-fittings and bendable landing tread) is only a portion of the company’s full capabilities. Along with its complete sets of newels and balusters, Old World has been manufacturing a full line of standard oak products for more than 20 years, and runs more than 75,000 feet of oak handrail a month. Fittings for each profile are readily available.

Get Some “Curve Appeal”
As a complete staircase resource, Staircase and Millwork of Alpharetta, Ga., strives to lead the stair industry in innovation and the integration of new technology with old world craftsmanship, according to company information.

The company employs some of the best designers, fabricators, estimators and installers to assist you in component selection, system design, fabrication and installation of your staircase projects. 

Thinking Out of the Box
Crown Heritage® Stair Co. offers patented, factory-primed box newels in the same finish as its primed balusters. Because the Crown Heritage box newels are offered finished and stained, this means significantly less time is needed for installation, according to the company. The box newels are available with unstained trim which allows them to be finished onsite to match surrounding woodwork or painted to accent a home’s décor. 

Crown Heritage is a complete manufacturer of high-quality stair systems and components. Crown Heritage’s manufacturing facility in Lenoir, N.C., produces thousands of components in several different wood species. The company’s large inventories allow most orders to ship within 48 hours. 

Get to Work with AppliCad
What sets Victoria, Australia-based AppliCad’s FlightMaster apart from other software for the stair building industry is the fact that it has been developed for the professional stair builder. According to a company release, no other program makes the design of even the most complex stair components as easy. 

Volutes, turnouts, goose necks on hand rails plus turned newel posts and balusters are all correctly and accurately created as part of the entire stair structure—automatically. The operator defines the extents of the stair; that is, the stair well opening and the floor-to-floor height, and the software does the rest.

BAM is Revolutionizing
Builders Automation Machinery’s (BAM) field-tested, servo-driven stair router machine (model CNC-MFSR) is revolutionizing the way customers do business. With fast, precise cuts made directly from a vast library of programs or engineers’ downloaded CAD drawings, the company says the automatic production of prefabricated stairs is now truly automated.

Exact measurements can be reproduced from the drawings, or parameters can be manually selected from a library of programs and entered into a menu-driven touch screen. The machine utilizes four axes that cut two stringers simultaneously and make top and bottom landing cuts without removing or repositioning the stringers. It can also produce open, box and contemporary stringers and make the return miter cut on open stringers.

Finnforest Has a Sure Solution
Finnforest USA’s Engineered Wood Division’s Master Stair LVL structural stair stringers offer a new, cost-effective solution for stair distributors and manufacturers. Manufactured from tight grained Finnish spruce for strength and performance, the company says the stair stringers resist cupping, twisting or bowing—eliminating shrinkage and costly adjustments. Straight and dimensionally-stable, this product provides 100-percent usable stringer material and a consistent substrate for routing machines. 

Offering a wide range of technical specifications, the stringers are available in lengths from 14 feet to 20 feet and prime coated. Standard depth is 9 1/4 inches and standard thicknesses are ¾ inches and 1 inch. Long lengths and special orders are also available.

Turn to Guenzler & Sons
For nearly 100 years, George Guenzler & Sons of Kitchener, Ontario, has been creating unique and eye-catching balusters and newel posts. The company ships them quickly from inventoried product in seven different standard turning patterns using premium red oak, maple, poplar and knotty pine. It also provides custom turning using unique designs in most common hard and soft woods available in North America. 

The company’s production lathes are capable of producing large and small quantity orders as required, and its CNC lathe has the capacity to turn support columns up to 13 inches in diameter and 11 feet long.

Stairs that Stand Out
When you see Somerset, Mass.-based North Atlantic Corp.’s custom curved or straight stairs with pre-fit rail systems you immediately notice something different—something that stands out in a foyer. 

The company says its commitment to its customers is taken very seriously, and that’s why its Cooper Stairworks are found in some of the most prestigious homes in North America. The completed unit can be installed fast with jobsite labor savings. 
The company continues to add to its woodworking facility. Along with adding a second CNC to its shop and a new moulder, the company says its continued efforts with lean manufacturing have really helped expand production capabilities.

Wreathed Fittings within Your Grasp
Located in Newark, Del., Brandywine Balustrades LLC specializes in custom stair and handrail components. Because all parts are developed for their unique application, they can be made from a wide variety of species and profiles. Parts are custom crafted to exacting specifications, allowing experienced stair builders to install them quickly. 

Custom products include: curved sectional handrails, wreathed (twisted) handrail fittings, newels, balusters, treads, curtail steps and stair packages. Services provided include design review with troubleshooting solutions and technical support for installers.

The company offers its products and services for small by-the-part orders or larger by-the-job projects.

Wreathed Fittings within Your Grasp
Located in Newark, Del., Brandywine Balustrades LLC specializes in custom stair and handrail components. Because all parts are developed for their unique application, they can be made from a wide variety of species and profiles. Parts are custom crafted to exacting specifications, allowing experienced stair builders to install them quickly. 

Custom products include: curved sectional handrails, wreathed (twisted) handrail fittings, newels, balusters, treads, curtail steps and stair packages. Services provided include design review with troubleshooting solutions and technical support for installers.

The company offers its products and services for small by-the-part orders or larger by-the-job projects.

Stairs of All Kinds
Schutte Stairs of Cincinnati builds stairs of all kinds—from traditional straight stairs to custom curved. The company says it’s a single source for all stair needs. Schutte not only creates beautiful stair cases but also supplies quality parts. 

The company measures openings for stairs and installs them, too.

Stairs with Southern Charm
Since 1983, Southern Staircase of Alpharetta, Ga., has been manufacturing and installing curved stairs, straight stairs and spiral stairs for builders and homeowners. The company has manufacturing facilities in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, from which it ships stair parts and staircase systems all across the country.

Using the latest in CAD design software, three-axis and five-axis CNC capabilities, Southern Staircase says it combines old world craftsmanship with technological innovation, allowing it to meet the huge demands of the high-volume builder.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.