9th October 2016
The Orchard is a two-and-a-bit storey house. The bit is our minstrels' gallery (for bookish minstrels only) and our loft. Over the past two years, we've been using a rickety old builder's ladder to get up there, which I have fallen off twice. It's about time we had something better.
Cue a tidy piece of joinery in solid oak, purpose built to fit the space and screwed in tight. The steps still need a handrail but it's a great improvement. It wasn't a complex task but it was a lot of work, especially the routing and chiseling. Here's how I made it:
1. Make two angled jigs to ensure that the marking out of the steps is spot on and consistent. Measure and mark out with great care.
2. Using the jigs as a fence, rout out the mortice holes into which the steps will slot (about 20mm deep into the 45mm deep stringers.
3. Chisel out the corners and edges of the holes to make them square.
4. Cut the steps to just the right size and make sure they all fit their holes.
5. Glue up and cramp tight. Leave over night.
6. Sand and oil. Then get into position and screw into place using some seriously long and chunky screws.