Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stairway to…Hades

Our stairwell is 1.5 meters wide and 2 meters deep. The distance from the downstairs floor surface to the upstairs floor surface is about 3 meters. So the stairs were built as a switch back with a landing about 60% of the way up. The original steps were designed with a 20 cm (8 in) rise and a 15 cm (6 in) tread run with overhang bringing it to 17.5 cm (7 in) tread depth. Normal stairs have a 17.5 cm (7 in) rise and a 25 cm (10 in) tread run plus 2.5 cm overhang for 27.5 (11 in) tread depth. It was like climbing a ladder to a loft, not a stairs to a second floor. We needed new stairs as part of our renovations.

When we priced out custom made stairs in Dnipropetrovs'k they quoted us $4000, which was pretty steep for our budget but certainly would have been beautiful. We found a woodworking shop in Zhovti Vody which would make a new stairs (20 cm rise, 25 cm tread run) for $1500, using the existing landing, plus another $300 for railings.

It took over six weeks before the stairs were ready to install. Two days ago I got a clue as to why. I was waiting at the shop and started snooping. There was no supply of finished dimension lumber. There was a supply of rough cut 5 cm pine planks with untrimmed edges. Sergei had to manufacture each piece of lumber for the stairs from these planks. No wonder people in this country have no money. Low labour productivity.

The stairs arrived, were installed about a week or so ago and looked good. Then the bottom fell out of the bucket. The mirror finish was a plastic of some sort which I initially thought was Verathane. It peeled off like MacTac, leaving perfectly clear wood. Tanya was not a happy camper. Two days ago they came and took them out, replacing the old stairs and took the new ones back to the shop for refinishing with a stain of some kind. Another two weeks.

1 comment:

  1. I took pictures of your stairs when I was there because they are THE SCARIEST STAIRS IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. I swear, I nearly died like, 7 times. I hope you get your new ones soon.


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