STAIRWAY CONSTRUCTION. - Page 19 - Section 11 - Stair Building

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of both stringer and rail; and, as above mentioned, the center of the riser adjoining the newel is to be placed at the center of the latter.


19. Balusters are small columns, generally turned, set vertically on the ends of treads, forming an ornamental guard, and at the same time supporting the hand rail. When the front stringer is a closed, or housed, one, the balusters are fixed to the stringer, instead of to the treads, a grooved molding, called a <I >cap</I>, being prepared to receive them; the lower end of the balusters in this case are cut to the pitch of the stairway, and the top is either cut to the same pitch as the rail, or mortised into it. This applies to balusters having square ends. Frequently they are made square or round at the bottom, and turned to a spindle shape at the top, being then termed <I >pin balusters</I>. Balusters with square bases are preferable to those with round bases, as the square base gives bearing surface and resistance to movement almost double that of a round base. Holes are bored about an inch deep into the under side of the rail to receive the balusters, and the lower ends are either cut to the pitch of the stairway or dovetailed to the ends of the treads, depending on whether the stringer is housed or cut and mitered.

In ordinary stairways, two balusters are used to each tread, but in the better class of stairways, the number is increased, adding thereby to the beauty and strength of the balustrade, and general appearance of the stairway. With two balusters on a tread, they are placed half the width of a tread apart between centers, the short one standing close to the nosing and the long baluster being placed midway between the adjacent nosing balusters, so that it is exactly one-half the rise of the steps longer than the short one on the same tread. The usual height of pin balusters is either 2 feet 4 inches or 2 feet 8 inches, of which 1 inch is allowed at each end for insertion into rail and tread.

In extra fine stairways the space between the balusters is filled in with brackets of various designs, or the space is paneled; in either case the number of balusters is reduced

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