WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Stairs  -  The Best of Fine Homebuilding

Stairs - The Best of Fine Homebuilding
Collected Articles from Fine Homebuilding Magazine

Taunton Press: 1995
Paperback, 125 pp., $14.95
ISBN 1-56158-131-3

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    Quite frankly, this book made me feel like giving up on fine furniture and going out to apprentice in construction. It made me aware of two new ideas: the term 'designer-craftsman' should not apply to furniture designers alone, and there ought to be a 'stairways museum' somewhere, so viewers could just wander around in awe. Reading about "forty-two straight days" of adding on bent laminations using two-thousand pounds of Honduran mahogany, and then cutting into it with a chainsaw to form stair risers, went beyond amazing. My only wish with the writing of this book, was that someone could have listed how much these intrepid stairbuilders were paid for their creations.
     Here are thirty reprinted articles from Fine Homebuilding magazine, with everything from fold-up and sliding stairs for attics, to double-helix spiral stairways, to laying dry stone outdoor stairways. There are one dozen designs for spiral stairs, with construction tips and the problems solved by builders in their fabrication. There are storage-stairs, concrete stairs, glass and maple stairs. Several articles emphasize basic stair construction, modified tools and custom jigs. Kerf-bending is explained, in reference to four-quarter stock wrapped around built up D-blocks to form a double bullnose starting step.
     Photographed in color, black and white, and with excellent two-color illustrations, this is one of the best of Taunton's very informative 'Best of' series.

. . . Barb Siddiqui