Volume 47, Issue 6 - July/August 2008

We’ve all seen movies and television shows that depict a woman descending from a beautiful staircase. And many builders and contractors want to be able to provide these beautiful stair ideas to their customers. Members of the Stairway Manufacturers’ Association build stairs and provide stairways, stair parts, machinery and more that can make “picture perfect” stairs a reality for your customers. Read on to see what they have to offer.

EPOXIESA Super Application
PC Superepoxy, manufactured by Protective Coating Co. of Allentown, Pa., is a translucent paste epoxy with a viscosity similar to Vaseline. Unlike conventional liquid epoxies PC Superepoxy can be applied to both vertical and overhead surfaces without dripping or sagging and, according to company officials, is perfect for installing iron balusters with no mess and has incredible strength and flexibility even in a thin layer. 

PC Superepoxy has a working time of about 15 minutes and cures for service in three to four hours. It is available in a 50 milliliter cartridge that comes with two static mix nozzles. The cartridges are to be used with the company’s PPM-50 dispensing gun (durable metal) due to the viscosity. www.PCEpoxy.com

Stair Parts
Create Stair Systems with Ease

Crown Heritage®, a manufacturer of wood and forged iron stair systems based in North Wilkesboro, N.C., has created a new line of forged iron balusters in 30-inch lengths for knee wall installations. The new size provides a perfect fit and adds visual style to knee wall installations, according to company information. The balusters are specially designed with tighter dimensions that are code compliant to fit between the rail and knee wall. 

In addition, the company has also created new 44-inch styles for traditional landing heights that let your customers create a unique look with 30-inch and 44-inch basket and twist styles. All of the new iron baluster designs are available in flat black or rubbed copper finishes. Crown Heritage’s complete collection of stair parts is available in its Design Library where you can create stair systems with ease. www.crownheritage.com  

Take Flight

AppliCad’s FlightMaster has been developed for the professional stair builder. Officials of the Victoria, Australia-based company say no other program makes the design of even the most complex stair components as easy. Volutes, turnouts and goosenecks on handrails as well as turned newel posts and balusters are all created accurately as part of the entire stair structure automatically. The operator defines the extents of the stair; that is, the stairwell opening and the floor-to-floor height, and the software does the rest.

Once complete, the software generates working drawings, customer specs, a detailed costing and customer quotation. The result is a more accurate quotation and a more detailed parts list. The fact that the software sits on top of a very powerful 3D CAD software package, which is included in the price, means that you can do all your regular drawing and also get a photo-realistic rendering of the staircase, which can be used to assist the stair builder in his sales process. www.applicad-usa.com

Not All Attic Stairs are Alike

The moment anyone first sets eyes on the Prestige model Rainbow Attic Stair, the reaction is “Wow!” That’s because it looks nothing like the wood folding stairs you’re used to, according to officials at its Stanford, Conn.-based manufacturer, Shelter Products LLC. The all-steel, scissor-like design folds neatly into itself and is self-adjusting for height. There are many features not found in any other attic ladders—such as a 2-inch thick insulated and melamine finished door, double weatherstripping, a 4-foot steel telescoping handrail, safety handles at the top, built-in steel trim, specialized steel hangers for easier installation, a 350-pound weight rating and a height range from 7 feet 4 inches to 11 feet 6 inches.  www.rainbowatticstair.com 

No Preassembly Required

As you approach a Cooper Stairworks PreAssembled Stair, you immediately notice workmanship that reminds you of a different era—a time when pride was part of every single step in the process of building a stair. Cooper Stairworks are manufactured in Somerset, Mass., by North Atlantic Corp., and are offered in both straight and curved staircases and are available in your choice of custom or stock pre-fitted rail systems. PreAssembled stairs limit the labor required to build the stair by allowing the company to standardize many procedures and thereby reduce the cost. The final result is a first impression of uncompromising quality. www.cooperstairworks.com

Beautiful and Durable
With a combination of exquisite hardwoods and impeccable craftsmanship, Arcways of Neenah, Wis., creates a focal point with its stairways that are both beautiful and durable. Company officials say the company works closely with designers, architects and homeowners to create a stairway that integrates perfectly with the surrounding space and expresses a unique vision. Arcways’ stairways are found around the globe in homes of distinction, urban condos and row houses, historical buildings, mega-yachts and more.  www.arcways.com 

Two New Sizes

Merrick Machine Co. of Alda, Neb., has introduced two sizes of its new stringer cart to be utilized in any size stair shop. Triad’s Heavy-Duty Stringer Cart assists with easy handling of stringer material between its Smart Stair Router (SSR) or Template Stair Router (TSR) and the Staircase Assembly Clamp. The cart can also be used to stage material to be fed through Triad’s Open Stringer Saw (OSS). 

Company officials say the stringer cart is ideal for use in manufacturing facilities of any size. The Heavy Duty cart has a capacity of up to 2,000 lbs. Each wheel is equipped with bearing and grease zerks in the axle and swivel assembly, providing for ease in movement.

Triad’s Standard Stringer Cart is to be utilized much the same way as the Heavy Duty Cart; however, maximum weight capacity of the Standard Cart is up to 1,000 lbs. www.merrickmachine.com 

One-of-a-Kind Stairs
StairMeister Log Works, LLC of Boulder, Colo., has been creating handcrafted stairs since 1992. The company recently created the two story Millennium staircase—a log centerpiece that serves as the main focal point of the barn’s interior while graciously satisfying its primary function in granting access to each floor comprising the multilevel structure. The Millennium circular staircase consists of half log pine treads hand scribed onto full-log stringers.

In addition, the company was recently commissioned to design, craft and install a custom log staircase within an entertainment sanctuary. www.logstairs.com

Cut Box Stairs Quickly
Builders Automation Manufacturing (BAM) of Largo, Fla., engineers and builds automated equipment for the construction of prefabricated stairs. 

The company’s Multi-Function Stair Router CNC/MFSR allows the download of CAD drawings directly to the processor. You can select programs from a large processor-stored library or manually enter data into a menu-driven touch screen. It’s fully programmable to cut any combination of box, contemporary or open stairs and the CNC/MFSR is the only machine in the market that cuts top and bottom landing cuts on the stringers while still in the machine, at a favorable cost to competitor’s equipment, according to company officials. 

The stair machine is also capable of cutting down the middle of a 24-inch-wide stringer giving four open stringers with no waste. The two, five-horsepower, variable-frequency spindles cut box stairs quickly and the Windows-based processor allows the ability to download customers’ orders wirelessly to the machine on the shop floor. All new and reconditioned equipment comes with a one-year warranty. www.buildersautomation.com 

Stair Parts
A Young Look
With 100 percent of the strength of solid wood but 60 percent of the cost, Young’s Moisture Compensating Oak Reveal Return® tread is an alternative to expensive, time-consuming false ends, according to a company release. The entire tread is hardwood while approximately six inches on the return end is furniture-grade red oak designed specifically for stairs with carpet. Officials of the Beaver Dam, Ky.-based company say their products offer you a way to save money and guarantee no gapped miters with Young’s patented tread. www.youngmanufacturing.com  

Years of Experience
Colonial Woodworking Inc.’s master stair builders have been in business for more than 33 years. Its team of craftsmen have more than 150 years of combined experience designing, producing and installing custom free-standing radius, circulars and multi-helix stairs and rails; custom and stock spiral stairs and rails; straight, box and utility stairs and rails; ship’s, loft and library ladders; as well as attic stairs.

Located in Bradford, N.H., the company’s production facility, sourcing specialists and affiliated artisans can work with any material specified including any species of wood, metals and cables, glass and composite materials, salvaged or ‘green’ materials, as well as manufactured stair parts and fittings from all major producers. www.colonial-woodworking.com

Turn-Key Solutions
“It All Starts With Design” has been Seattle Stair & Design’s focus for solving clients’ needs and providing turn-key solutions for both individuals and contractors for nearly 30 years. 

The Seattle-based company uses both wood and metal in its designs, and uses new and emerging materials in designs involving historic restoration and modern projects. www.seattlestair.com

The Power of Three
Stair-Pak Product’s spiral stairways are available in three models, each with a variety of rail, baluster and material options. The Pine Grove, Pa.-based company’s stairs are made to order and pre-assembled in its factory prior to knock-down and shipping to insure ease of installation.  www.stairpak.com

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 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.4 www.brandywinebalustrades.com

Con 5.0: Custom Stairs Made Easy

From design to production, StairCon, manufactured by Consultec System AB of Skellefteå, Sweden, simplifies custom staircase manufacturing. If you can conceptualize it, StairCon can draw it, estimate it and get it to the production floor fast with shop drawings, bill of materials and, if necessary, CNC code.

StairCon provides automation for stair builders and manufacturers challenged to accelerate information flow, eliminate operative wastes and reduce errors. Easy to use stair building utilities let you design and view even the most custom stairs from different perspectives, while configuring stringers, risers, treads and balustrades without any prior CAD experience, according to company information. In addition, StairCon’s built in quoting tools accelerate the delivery of accurate, detailed estimates, and comprehensive floor plan, elevation and 3D views let customers visualize and approve their staircase on the spot. www.stairvision.com  

Making Wood Work
Anderson Wood has been a key provider of handrails, bending rails and other lineal products to the stair industry for more than 30 years.

Located in Louisville, Ky., this 100-year-old, fourth-generation-owned company manufactures a wide assortment of rail profiles in various styles and species for a diverse group of customers that include stair system accounts, millwork distributors and stair professionals.

Company officials say a recent multi-million-dollar plant expansion incorporates manufacturing technology which allows increased capacity, greater efficiency and much more flexibility to serve the stair industry.4 www.andersonwood.com

Making Life Easier
Ornamental Iron Works Inc.™ in Franklin Park, Ill., makes life easier for stair builders with its “Ready-to-Install-Iron”™ , a product line of iron panels that are finished and ready for installation. 

The development of “Ready-to-Install-Iron”™ is a result of years of feedback received from stairway companies, builders, architects and designers. This product line is designed for all applications, including open and closed stringers, and it can be used on interior or exterior, and straight or curved areas. www.ornamentalironworksinc.com

Measure It Right

ETemplate Photo, manufactured by ETemplate Systems of Raleigh, N.C., is a precision digital measuring system for the custom stair building industry. It measures to a typical tolerance of +/-1/32 inches. Curved stairs and railings, multi-angled and complex curved rooms and other architectural millwork jobs can be measured with a few photos. 

Using digital photography as the means for collecting the measurements, company officials say it is an efficient end-to-end system that lets you measure once and cut once, and it processes to a finished DXF/CAD file in minutes. Once the CAD/DXF template is complete, it can be overlaid, to scale, on the jobsite photos for visual inspection of design and fit before it goes to production. www.etemplatesystem.com 

A Premium Choice
Menuiserox Inc. of Beauceville, Quebec, has been providing its customers with hardwood stair components since 1979. It offers handrails, bending rails and landing treads that correspond to your specifications. Menuiserox Inc. also ensures its customers a perfect color match and top quality finger joints. White hard maple, red oak, cherry, beech and many more species are available and the company offers handrails up to 24 feet long and Forest Stewardship Council-certified products. www.menuiserox.qc.ca

Tons of Options
L. J. Smith Stair Systems of Bowerston, Ohio, manufactures 41 different wood baluster styles, 41 iron baluster styles, 53 wood newel styles, four iron newel posts and 32 handrail profiles. The 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, satin black and flat black textured. In addition, the company manufactures a patented line of handrail fittings called Conect-A-Kit. www.ljsmith.net

From Traditional to Fancy
George Guenzler & Sons Inc. of Kitchener, Ontario, provides turned stair and railing components to the residential and commercial building industry. Whether you are looking for traditional, classic, contemporary, plain or fancy, Guenzler officials say their company has the baluster profile needed to create a unique staircase for your customer’s home.

Only kiln dried, select red oak, hard and soft maple, poplar and knotty pine are used in turning the company’s standard baluster profiles.

Company officials say it offers the highest degree of manufacturing consistency by using a combination of old world craftsmanship and state of the art technology. Its lean focus enables Guenzler to produce small orders with short lead times, allowing you to reduce your costs and improve your performance.  www.guenzler.com

Stair Parts
A Number of Advantages

AinsworthEngineered® SteadiTred® offers builders and dealers alike a number of advantages. Greater spanning capability than particleboard, for example, allows for spans of up to 45 inches in closed-riser stair system assemblies. More dimensional stability than solid sawn lumber means the panels are consistently flat and straight, with no twists or wanes, resulting in better yield and fewer call backs, according to company information. SteadiTred comes bull-nosed or square-edged and won’t crack and splinter.

From an environmental point of view, SteadiTred plays its part. Because it’s APA Rated Exposure 1, it will withstand temporary weather delays and temporary stairs will not be necessary. Officials of the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company say this reduces waste. Multiple lengths and widths mean less time cutting and measuring onsite. Pre-cut materials can be delivered directly to the jobsite, further reducing waste. www.ainsworthengineered.com 

Big, True, Plumb and Fast
With plants in Chicago and Kansas City, Mo., Chicago Metal Rolled Products supplies steel fabricators with steel stair stringers and railings for circular stairs. The company can form the most challenging helixes, from the smallest to the largest sizes of plate (3 inches by 60 inches), channel (C18 by 6), pipe (20 inches), or beam (W30 by 99). Turn-around times are from one and one-half to two weeks, according to company information.

In addition to its unrivaled heavy bending, Chicago Metal also bends sections as small as ½-inch by ½-inch by 1/8-inch angle and curves some of the largest and the smallest sections.  www.cmrp.com

Stair Parts
Tons of Stair Parts

Fitts Industries Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., manufactures more than 9,000 stair components—with stock lines in northern red oak, hard maple, soft maple, steamed beech, steamed American cherry, hemlock, rustic alder and poplar, as well as a full line of wrought iron stair components in six finishes. Custom species are also available.

The new Routed Arts & Crafts style balusters are Fitts’ latest offering, which are patent pending and company officials say they add depth and detail to standard square balusters. These balusters are a stylish option, work well with Fitts newly-expanded box newel post line and are available pre-primed and in hemlock. Alternate species are available by special order. www.fitts.com 

Maka Difference

Maka builds 3-, 4- and 5-axis wood routers for staircase manufacturing. The company offers single-table, tandem-table and moving-bridge machines to accommodate every application from the smallest rosette to the longest handrail. You can use the machine to route winders, volutes, risers, mitre stringers, treads, turnouts, caps, hand rails, stringers or any other part of the anatomy of a staircase.

The 5-axis machine allows movement simultaneously over all five axis. The control allows standard programming online or offline in conjunction with CAD/CAM systems packages specifically designed with the stair builder in mind. JRM International Inc. of Rockford, Ill., is the exclusive North American partner for Maka CNC routers. 4 www.jrminternational.com

No Programming Needed
The Cordes Machine Stair-Rout™ Model 40 fully-automatic CNC stair router, a 3.5-axis, 10-horsepower dual direct drive machine, routs stringers used for box stair construction. Officials of the Mountainside, N.J.-based company say this machine allows companies to cut various types of steps including open stringers with just the push of a button. There is no template to adjust and no setup or programming needed, and the ready-to-run machine is easy to operate and maintain yourself. An operator can enter decimals or fractions just like they are written on work orders and see a to-scale picture of the step prior to cutting. www.cordesmachine.com 

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 ARES Series CNC machining centers from CMS are equipped with a 5-axis, liquid-cooled, 16-horsepower, 24,000 rotations-per-minute working unit, with an automatic tool changing system (with eight to 48 positions) and an optional drilling unit. Work areas range up to 19.5 feet by 7.7 feet by 4 feet with single or multiple work zones and twin shuttle tables are available.

In addition, the company offers CAD software, called Powerstairs, which 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. www.cmsna.com 

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