Thursday, April 23, 2009

97 Orchard - Stabilizing the Stairs

Entryway staircase in 1988, and about 20 years later, with much more wear

At first, we weren't sure what was causing 97 Orchard's hallway staircase to show visible signs of wear: visitors' toes striking the risers on the way up, or their heels bumping against them on the way down. Turns out it was the latter. To prevent further damage, we hired a local construction company to repair the risers and treads. In January 2006, after studying how the staircase was originally constructed (it was made of douglas fir and fitted with dados, or grooves, among a number of other features), the contractors went to work sealing cracks, adding wedges and strips of wood to help stabilize the structure, and installing wooden screws to anchor it to the wall. All of this helped preserve the historic fabric of the staircase without changing its appearance. Only the handrail, made of either mahogany or walnut, required no repair.

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