Restoring Victorian cottage staircase

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11 Jan 2011
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Hertfordshire
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United Kingdom
I need to restore the Victorian staircase in my home as the treads are cracked, worn and not level.

I took the facade off under the stairs and the stairs have been built in a manner I’m not familiar with. As you might be able to make out there is a message from a long gone carpenter saying ‘Repaird in 1876’ so these stairs have been there a while. I would like to save as much of the original stairs as possible.

It seems the treads are just nailed to the risers with no notch in the treads. I’m surprised it’s managed to stay together this long (if the message is legit). The stringers are just a straight length of timber and it appears the treads have dropped as the edges have worn where they’ve rubbed against the stringers.

I was thinking to drive some long wedges between the back of the treads and the stringers to re-level them, then reinforce the treads with 18mm ply. Also, reinforce the risers and add glue blocks. Basically rebuild a ply skeleton of the stairs from below.

Then to cut away the timber that has worn on the top front edge of the treads from a million footsteps and glue in some new timber, cut and sanded to look original.

Thoughts?
 

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Looks like you are taking a step in the right direction!
 
Well my stairs looked similar to this, but were better put together, stringer etc.

What I will say, is get the hot air gun out, and sander, and the treads will probably come up a treat, mine did, used hard wax oil finish and I clad the risers in thin plywood and painted them.

Although a bit long-winded, wondering if you could make cardboard templates to size and make triangular blocks to go under the steps, screwed to wall (keep under stringer intact).

Be a pity to over clad them all, if the wood comes up well.

Good luck (y)
 
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Well my stairs looked similar to this, but were better put together, stringer etc.

What I will say, is get the hot air gun out, and sander, and the treads will probably come up a treat, mine did, used hard wax oil finish and I clad the risers in thin plywood and painted them.

Although a bit long-winded, wondering if you could make cardboard templates to size and make triangular blocks to go under the steps, screwed to wall (keep under stringer intact).

Be a pity to over clad them all, if the wood comes up well.

Good luck (y)

Thanks, not a bad idea, could be pretty quick with hammer fixings.

Yeah, don’t want to lose them if at all possible.
 

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