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Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.

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Angle of Stairs

Question

How do we get the correct angles to cut the stair stringers and handrail posts?

Answer

When laying out or cutting the stair stringers, don't think of angles. Your steel square, set to the rise and run, gives you the correct angle automatically. This is covered in How to Cut a Stair Stringer, section The Layout.

For the angle on top of the handrail post, lay a 2x4 down the steps, resting on the nosing of each stair tread and touching the handrail post. Scribe the vertical angle of the post onto the 2x4. Then set your miter saw or circular saw to that angle or just cut the 2x4 along the line you just scribed and use it to set the angle of the saw. Cut each handrail post with this same angle. For the ends of the handrail itself, use this same angle. Just be sure when cutting the ends of the handrail that you cut on the same side of the board so the ends are parallel to each other. In other words, don't flip the handrail board over between the end cuts.

Dave

(Ask Dave) (About Dave)



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