Volume 46, Issue 6 - July/August 2007


Stairway Manufacturers’ Association’s Special Section

On the Up and Up: SMA Products

The 19-year old Stairway Manufacturers’ Association (SMA) was formed to ensure the growth and prosperity of the stair industry, and includes stair-part manufacturers, stair builders, installers, millwork distributors and related businesses that support the stairway industry. This is the third year Shelter has showcased products and services of SMA members.

Forging Forward
Eureka Forge designs and creates distinctive custom balustrades and staircases of forged iron, bronze and stainless steel. Working with local stairway manufacturers, architects and designers, Eureka Forge will furnish custom balustrades to the jobsite or install complete on a national basis. Its one-of-a-kind projects adorn the homes and businesses of those who seek the finest craftsmanship, according to a company release. www.eurekaforge.com 

Iron Tough
L. J. Smith Stair Systems offers the broadest and most comprehensive line of interior stair parts available in the industry. In all, they manufacture 41 different wood baluster styles, 41 iron baluster styles, 53 wood newel styles, four iron newel posts and 32 handrail profiles. The Bowerston, Ohio-based company’s wood products are available in the following species: red oak, white oak, poplar, walnut, mahogany, hickory, beech, hemlock, cherry and maple.

The L.J. Smith iron collection of newels, balusters and accessories are available in four finishes: silver vein, bronze vein, primed matte black and primed textured black. www.ljsmith.net

Coming Full Circle
Stair-Pak Products of Pine Grove, Pa., is a manufacturer of wood spiral and circular stairways, many of which are in stock and come in custom configurations. A variety of wood species are available as well as many rail and baluster profiles. www.stairpak.com

Customize It
For nearly 100 years, George Guenzler & Sons has been creating custom balusters and newel posts for the stair and railing industry. The Kitchener, Ontario-based company says it is proud to be part of the Stairway Manufacturers’ Association and providing its fellow members with quality balusters and newel posts from its standard inventory or a custom-designed item to meet specific needs.  www.guenzler.com 

Notice the Difference
As you approach a Cooper Stairworks PreAssembled Stair, North Atlantic Corp. says you will immediately notice something different. The Somerset, Mass.-based company manufactures these stairways and says its workmanship reminds many of a different era.

The company also distributes the Zipbolt UT-Railbolt. It uses the same configuration for bolts commonly used in the industry, but offers a difference: a one-piece totally integrated gear system that replaces the old nut and washer.

Using a 5-millimeter hex head driver, installers no longer have to fit a nut and wrench into a 1-inch hole. The hex is inserted into any adjustable torque drill and makes tightening the gear head easier. www.northatlanticcorp.com

A New Prefinish Program
Coffman Stairs, headquartered in Marion, Va., has a new prefinishing program that it says 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 also are available. Matching Minwax® stains from Sherwin-Williams® help coordinate interior millwork.

An expanded box newel program offers a broad offering in one of the industry’s fastest growing product categories. Mission, true-raised panel and recessed panel newels tap into popular style segments and are all offered with a full complement of intermediate newels to increase design possibilities.  www.coffmanstairs.com

A Machine to the Rescue
Caledonia, Mich.-based CMS North America manufactures a series of machining centers and software applications designed for the production of standard and custom-made staircases. The CMS AVANT machining center series of moving-bridge/fixed-table machining centers is available in four different widths (from 5 to 9 feet) and seven different lengths (from 11 feet 6 inches to 32 feet) of vacuum tables to accommodate a large range of part sizes.

The company also offers its CAD software, POWERSTAIRS and CAM software, STAIRSCAM.  www.cmsna.com 

It’s Adjustable
Carolina Stair Supply, a family-owned business located in Northeastern Ohio, is excited about its new product offerings. Ole Iron Slides balusters can be installed easily without replacing wood rails or newels. They feature: design capabilities, slip-on castings, a new swivel top and new base shoes. These new adjustable balusters are available in flat black, satin black, copper vein and grey speckle.  www.carolinastair.com

It’s Automatic
Porter Machine Works in Chesapeake City, Md., recently introduced the AutoRouter automatic stair stringer router. The AutoRouter mortises a pair of stringers simultaneously in 5 to 10 minutes without operator involvement. Dust collection and thorough guarding are standard equipment. Heavy-duty construction includes a tubular steel frame, a 6-foot live fence, four 2-inch clamp cylinders and high-frequency routers.  www.portermachine.com 

King of the Hill
King Products and Services in Summerville, S.C., is a domestic manufacturer of stair treads, risers, skirt boards, edge-glued panels and newel blanks. The company distributes to stair manufacturers, wood flooring distributors and building-supply chains. Stocking more than 32 species of domestic and exotic hardwoods, orders can be made to customers’ specifications in truckload to job-lot quantities in less than two weeks. www.kpswoodproducts.com

Clamp It Down
Officials of Bessey Tools North America in Cambridge, Ontario, say its staircase clamp has been designed to improve productivity in the workplace and reduce wrist and hand fatigue. For use either by hand or with an air tool, the Bessey staircase clamp features an all-steel sliding arm, profiled rail, large Acme-style thread and an unbreakable aluminum handle with hex nut. This versatile clamp makes for quick and easy adjustments on virtually any-sized piece of wood and can be quickly tightened. Beyond staircases, this is a great clamp for any project requiring repetitive clamping. www.jamesmorton.com   

Wise Up
The Wise Model 5200 automatic stair router is designed to simultaneously route both stringers with ease and efficiency. Company officials of the Largo, Fla.-based machinery manufacturer say the machine’s continuous automatic feed and automatic shut-off eliminate the need for high-skilled labor, and the tread and riser settings produce error-free operations for time-tested and field-proven stair building.

Exclusive features include a built-in jump dado function, 2 horse-power speed router spindles, an enclosed valve bank and a heavy-duty clamp and feed system. www.wise-corp.com 

Making Wood Work
Anderson Wood in Louisville, Ky., supplies a full complement of profiles, styles and species to a group of customers that includes stair program accounts, millwork distributors and stair professionals.

The company says it has short lead times, lower minimum quantities and dedicated truck routes delivering a diverse mix of domestically manufactured products. www.andersonwood.com

Finding the Right Fit
Berkshire Millwork Sales, with offices in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, sells directly to the stair-building trade of the New England and Mid-Atlantic States. The company says its mission is to have a small nucleus of products that can be sold to the stair builder and to keep a high standard of service to both manufacturers and customers.

It focuses on searching for products and manufacturers that match. 4 413/528-1160

All Stocked Up
Newmeyer Lumber in Rahway, N.J., has a large selection of rail profiles, fittings, newels and balusters. While stocking railing components primarily in oak, maple, poplar and mahogany, the company says other species like Brazilian cherry, Southern yellow pine, white oak and walnut are available without waiting six weeks or more. www.fjnewmeyer.com

Fill in the Gap
Young Manufacturing Co. in Beaver Dam, Ky., offers treads, risers and related products. This family-owned American manufacturer says its Moisture Compensating Return® tread (US Patent #4,730,425), designed with a tongue-and-groove construction, eliminates the unsightly problem of gapped miters. Young’s full product line is offered in red oak, white oak, poplar and hard maple. www.youngmanufacturing.com 

Easy Install
Old World Millworks manufactures handrails and bending rails in more than 20 profiles and wood species. Using innovative production techniques, the DeKalb, Ill., company bends rails that it says have exceptionally continuous color and grain. The company supplies 20-, 22- and 24-foot lengths to make longer curved runs easier to install and more compliant to building codes than shorter lengths. The bending rails also come with a finished profile to eliminate the labor of shaping the top of the rail during installation. www.oldworldmillworks.com

Wreathed Fittings Within Your Grasp
Located in Newark, Del., Brandywine Balustrades LLC specializes in custom stair and handrail components. Company officials say, because all parts are developed for their unique applications, 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 handrail, wreathed (twisted) handrail fittings, newels, balusters, treads, curtail steps and stair packages. Services provided include design review with troubleshooting solutions, as well as technical support for installers.

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

On the West Coast
Specializing in residential and commercial stair building, Woodland Stairs in Modesto, Calif., supplies and installs floating stair cases built to custom specifications. The company says its central location allows it to serve the West Coast from California to Washington. www.woodlandstairs.com

A Prime Example
Ply-Trim South Inc. manufactures a stair stringer, engineered wood product that is produced in structural one-inch and non-structural ¾-inch net thicknesses. Available in stock lengths from 14 to 20 feet in both thicknesses, Ply-Trim also comes in standard widths of 9 ¼ inches and 11 ¼ inches, though custom sizes also can be produced to meet building-code requirements. With manufacturing and distribution facilities in Tacoma, Wash., and Youngstown, Ohio, the company says it can service a company’s needs regardless of location. Ply-Trim also offers a complete engineered stair program to include oriented strand board treads and risers as well as a complete cut-to-length program. www.plytrim.com  

A Valuable Tool
The Cordes Machine Stair-Clamp™ is a valuable tool for box-stair construction. Most users report a nine-minute assembly time for a typical box stair, according to a company release. The company says this machine is solely pneumatic and built rough and tough to last a lifetime. All steps align true and square to stringers, without separating, as wedges are driven in. Stair-Clamp™ is available in various lengths. www.cordesmachine.com

Making the Cut
Largo, Fla.-based Builders Automation’s servo-driven stair router machine (model CNC-MFSR) makes it possible to take exact measurements from drawings, or to use parameters 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. It is also capable of machining down the middle of a 24-inch stringer billet to eliminate waste and provide two or four open stringers at a time. www.buildersautomation.com

Longer Rails Available
Fitts in Tuscaloosa, Ala., introduces stock 18-foot handrail lengths in red oak, hard maple and American cherry in 6010 handrail profiles. As traditional building evolves and 10-foot ceilings, as well as engineered floor joists, become more prevalent, so has the need for longer sections of handrails. To answer this need, the company also offers 22-foot long bending rails and says it will also run long-length handrails and bending rails in other profiles and species on a custom basis. www.fitts.com

In Control
Menuiserox Inc. says it has been providing a growing clientele with premium hardwood stair components since 1979. These products include: handrails, bending rails, landing treads and laminated squares that correspond. Company officials say it rigorously controls all of its product processing and handling steps. White hard maple, red oak, cherry, beech and many more species are available, and handrails are available up to 24 feet long.  www.menuiserox.qc.ca

On the Axis
MAKA manufactures three-, four- and five-axis CNC routers. The company represented by JRM International in Rockford, Ill, has delivered more than 500 machines to the stairway and stair-parts industry. 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. There is no table; instead, there are support bars where vacuum pods are mounted.  www.jrminternational.com 

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