How to build and install staircase winder

 Installing a hardwood staircase winder will bring out the true carpenter in you. You can purchase pre-made slabs then cut them in. If, you make a mistake, it will be an expensive mistake. Slabs start $150.00 and goes up from here. I prefer building my own, this way I don't have to wait on special orders - particularly exotic hardwood species, and I'll save money for both my customers and myself.

Tool and Material List

Tools and material you will need are:

Hardwood Stair Treads - You will need 2 1/2 stair tread to create 1 staircase winder. It's easier and quicker to use hardwood stair treads, to construct your winders. It takes very little work to square them up. For a set of (3) winders, you will need 8 stair tread.

Scotia Molding - Measure the front of the existing tread to determine the linear footage needed.

Block Planer or Power Planer or Jointer - Squaring up the edge, it will be easier with a power planer, for working on site.

Kreg Jig - Using a Kreg jig will be <b>quicker to assemble the slabs. Otherwise, You can glue and clamp, you'll need 3 36"clamps each.

Template Paper - I normally use left over, flooring underlayment (rosin paper). You can use any type of material for tracing.

Polyurethane Liquid Nail

Utility Knife

2" Scribe Block - You can use any size greater than 1 inch. Use a scribe block not a scriber.


Measuring Tape

Pry Bar


Table Saw

Jig Saw and Belt Sander

Wood Putty

Brad Nails

Winder Construction Procedure

1. Start by making a rough template of your existing staircase winders. Use the rosin paper, for your template. This does not have to be exact. It's only a rough template, for our slab. Label each template, top1, top2, and top3. Don't forget to label the front.

2. Starting with your largest template. Line up 3 stair tread together. The middle piece, should be sq. 4 sides, first.Do that by ripping it on your table saw. Only remove the rounded edge. Afterwards, use a block planer to square the cut edge. If, you have a power planer, use this tool with it's guide, to keep this edge square to the top face. If, you have access to a jointer that's even better.

3. After you've squared up the middle piece. Re-assemble the 3  treads. Place the template on top, align the front edge to the front label. Adjust your pieces accordingly to minimize waste.

Note: You maybe able to use a good size piece of waste for your other slab.

Now, trace your template onto your staircase winder material. Make marks on the face of the winder to locate your fastener. This mark should be on both sides of the joining joint. Example: edge 1&2a, 2b&3, 1 represent front piece, 2 = middle, 3 = back piece. They should be 1 inch minimum away from the cut edge and 6 inches apart.

4. Using your Kreg Jig, pre-drill your mounting holes for your staircase winder tread. Pre-drill holes from the underside of your tread. Holes should be drilled on edge 2a and edge 3.

5. Apply a generous amount of wood glue to joining edges 1 and 2a, then fasten with screws. Then apply glue to joining edges 2b and 3 and fasten with screws.

6. Repeat steps 2 through 5 for remaining 2 winders.

Cut and install staircase winder

 7. Remove existing old stair winder. Clean, check for level and adjust if necessary, then prepare for installation

Tip: It maybe easier to remove tread in small broken strips than 1 large tread.

8. Make triangle cut-outs in three locations. Preferably, near the corners of template. Using the cut-outs, tape your template onto winder frame.

Leave roughly 1/2 to an 1 inch of spacing, between template and scribing surfaces. This should be any surface that the winder must rest tight on. Secure the template good. You need to get an accurate scribe in order to have a proper cut staircase winder.

9. Using a utility knife, trim off, any template material hanging off the front edge. Trim it flush to the front edge of your riser.

10. Using the scribe block, scribe and make reference lines along all surfaces. In our photo we used a bullet level.

11. Remove template, then attach it to the proper winder slab.

Tip: Before attaching your template. Make a overhang reference line to the front edge of your winder. You can get this dimension from your existing stair tread, This should between 1 and 1  1/2".

Align the front edge of your template with this reference line. Secure down template with tape. Place your scribe block on the reference lines you've made on the template and trace it onto your hardwood staircase winder.

12. Cut out your winder, using a table saw or jig-saw. It will be more accurate on the table saw, becareful of kick backs.

Tip: If, you make your cut with a jig-saw, leave a little material, then finish it with a belt sander. You may need to make relief cuts on some edges, set your blade at an angle to make your cut.

13. Test fit your hardwood stair winder, adjust if necessary. Apply a generous amount of polyurethane liquid nail on your winder frame.  Glue should be applied to all nailing surfaces. If you have a plywood winder box frame. Apply a generous dob of adhesive in any areas, that maybe a void.

14. Mark location of your stringers onto adjacent risers, front and back.

15. Install your hardwood staircase winder, and apply nails along stringer locations.

16. Repeat steps 7 through 15. for remaining hardwood staircase winder installation.. Then cut and install your scotia molding with brad nails.

17. Fill nail holes, sand and finish.

Enjoy your new stair winders! Plenty of carpentry knowledge to learn here. Now, you have the know hows of constructing and installing a hardwood staircase winder.  If, you have questions, contact us. Did you find this article helpful? Don't forget to click "Like" and "Share", so we can bring your more helpful information.

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