Hi Norm. Thank you for your service. Always fear failure. David, Thank you so much and god bless you! I hope that’s the same for you. That’s ok as long as they can remain straight. The job required four guys (minimum) with strong backs, one of whom could swing a 20-oz. I fiddled with it and got it to fit- sort of. Ok, a while back I posted here about having a stair skirt job to do, and was going to try the scribing method as described by Norm Yeager. If you use a pencil, use a #3. We’d install cylinder & mortise locks. I’d be interested to know how you or Josh do on your foirst skirtboard scribe job. Hope this helps. It’s been a valuable thing to know and use over the years. at some point i hope to build a bedroom suite. but your right just scribe it over both thats a first class job. Nice job. The first project of the new business was to completely finish his present house. I’ve templated many things. I’m going to attempt this but I have a question, I know the length of the board varies but how wide should the board I’m going to scrub be? If its a struggle to get it looking good, nothing lost. I prefer coping because the joint line of site is not staring you in the face as you climb the stairs. Thank you Norm. I don’t have any skirts installed now. The second article was written by Carl Hagstrom who, like me graduated from Williamson Trade School. A circular saw with a shooting board would do the trick as well. Or use a partial template that covers everything but the last stair or two and measure and layout the last two stairs without scribing them. My Silkies have changed the way I work just as has my Festool collection (which is still quite modest). If yours are rough lumber stairs meant to be covered I’d consider installing “retro” treads and risers first and then scribing over the new stairs. It’s basically an arm with a sliding/lockable piece of plywood on both ends that you fit against skirt on both ends, lock in place and then remove it and use it as a template. In this tip, learn how to scribe a skirtboard to an exisiting stair. It will give the confidence that this really will work. You have to remove enough material so that the scribed piece fits into the deepest recess of the profile you’re trying to match. I’ve never tried to scribe a skirt on a circular stairs.I’m fairly certain that a 3/4″ skirt won’t bend in against the wall where you’d need to scribe it without kerfing the back side. The current stairs had carpet on them so the gap didn't matter. You can even scribe them for cupped or bowed treads, and make little ‘notes to self’ right on the template. We are very excited to find your blog and plan on trying your instructions with a Flex board ourselves. #3 I wouldn’t want carpet between the skirt and the treads and risers, it will make fastening the skirt more problematic and removing the carpet at some later date more difficult. I typically use a 1×10 or 1×12 which is 3/4″ thick and not at all flimsy. I am a GC specializing in remodeling and I have a great trim sub that handles all this (and he was the first to comment…Josh) so I am glad we are “learning” the same thing. That will show you how the scribing process will go. I’ve never tried templating a skirtboard prior to installing one. In Pa. they were the norm. Stair treads and stair risers make the steps that lead the way to the upper floor of your home. You’re spot on: it’s a one time event. Don Zepp was an incredible teacher who never had a formal days instruction (to my knowledge) of how to teach. Typically treads are 1″ thick. I’d appreciate hearing how you make out. If your material isn’t primed, I’d prime it before scribing. I’ll be te Yankee drinking the bitter with a top. It may be necessary to use some type of “hook” to pull as many carpet fibers out from under the skirt. The base went on the wall and could be any height the builder/owner wanted. Stair sizes are not always the same. Thank you Keith, It is my first time doing skirting. Norm, Stairs Skirting Stair Railing Railings Wood Floor Stairs Open Stairs Stair Skirt Board Open Entryway Foyer Outside Stairs. I have a kit, cost about $11 bucks, and it has several sizes. The 1×6 idea is probably as good as anything else I can think of. If in doubt try it with a piece of cardboard ripped to the width of a skirt, or a piece of 1/4 ” Luan. You may have to use a coping saw for tight radiuses. Two options to getting the base cap. The material easiest/least costly material to come by is pine but I’ve cut skirt boards out of oak and poplar as well. The stairs were stain-grade yellow pine, so putty and paint wasn’t an option. Norm Yeager, A carpenter friend send me this link with a note how well this worked when he cut a skirt board this weekend. Thank you for the tip about the metal strip… I will do that. Tom, Pull the scribe stick steadily toward you to create a “level line” against the skirt board. Aaron, (I’m attaching pics of the stairs that I’m remodeling. They don’t believe me when I tell them. It makes the job look like it was well thought out. Although I spend most of my time running jobs, and hadn’t built a finish set of steps in years, I believe I would have kept my $20 on all six sets. I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all the JLC articles and books, thisiscarpentry.com, Gary’s website and other resources that allow me to learn new concepts that increase my profit and allow me to take on jobs I wouldn’t be able to do without the things I continue to learn. At that point I would typically cut the radius with a coping saw. If they made a mistake we just started over again. When I saw your name I remembered you well. There are several ways to accomplish the task when pre-fabrication in a shop is not an option. It has nothing to do with the scribing process. It’s job was to follow any irregularities of the floor and account for any shrinkage of the floor assembly. I could tell whether they understood what they were doing on a piece of cardboard just as easily as I could on a piece of rough or finish limber. It’s also quite possible that whoever did the work originally should have read a” scribing skirt board” article. Experience is a good teacher but I don’t think it measures up to understanding the theory behind the technique, whatever it is. Does the silky cut on the pull stroke ? We can be thankful for JLC & TiC, and similar resources that seek to educate the next generation of craftsmen. You can even make 3-D full size models of stuff! Local Hero, If you post a picture of your existing condition I may be able to make a better recommendation. Thanks Again. I had high hopes that the tighter carpet would still allow this to work. However I’ve also used a jig saw set at a 5 degree or so angle. I have the exact same job in 6 weeks time. framing hammer. I’m sorry to hear he passed away – RIP Don. 1). Does the scribing jig require modification to scribe accurately over commercial carpet and pad previously installed? From information on the email notification I assume you’re a Navy veteran. I’d screw them together at the edges standing vertically and have the fellows run baseboard, chair rail and even crown around all types of corners. 1st class. Ah! If you don’t you’ll end up with a missing triangle section of skirt where riser and tread meet. I hope your project works well for you. I don’t know what you have planned for the top of the skirt board. option. For now, we are simply relieved that the stairs can be finished the way we had planned. It is the depth of the tread material and not the unit run. No reason you can’t scribe skirtboards out of 1/4″ material. The kind words and endorsements from many men I’ve been reading for years are humbling. That will give you enough skirt to have a minimum of 1-2′ over the nosings and should be enough to account for any irregularities in the rise & run of the existing stairs. “Ya gotta be fifty to work here” the foreman informed me. My apologies. However, that’s not always an option. I planned to use a Flex flat board for the curved sections. If not, a good way to miter the long unwieldy skirt board would be with a sliding compound miter saw with an extension table long enough to support it. Hopefully there will be enough “play” in the carpet that when you cut the skirt it will crush down the carpet fiber and slide into place. Todd Murdock I can officially add a new service to the back of my business card… “retrofitting skirt boards” :) Thanks to all you guys that are passing the trades onto my generation! Several options. I used to go there once a year for the week after Mothers day to an event called Joe Nall. A whole piece of baseboard is going to look much too big IMHO. I have installed the “retro” treads and risers over existing stairs. Richie Poor, Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 09/23/2013 - 10:09. Then the cap that’s on your base will install on the top of the skirt and tie into the base at the bottom of the stairs. Regarding the coping vs cutting the nosing, I’ve elected to attempt the cutting due to 2 fairly new tools (in the grand scheme of things), these are the Multi Max, and the 0 clearance Dremel Saw Max. But GOOD JOB! the skirt and die into the newel. That’s great ! Thank you for these instructions. A short answer to your original question is , yes, set the scriber to the 11&3/8. What I’d do is give it a try with a several step length of 1/4″ plywood and see how it fits. It was closer but still no screamin heck. Just a thought, I’m not losing sleep over it. So, re-scribe, vertical, horizontal, nose projection, but NOT the underside of the nosing. Any tips instead? If it goes well for you you could remove the skirts, install treads and risers and rescribe the skirts. I would definitely remove the carpet if it’s an option without ruining it. You start over again with the material that didn’t cost anything but time to begin with. The entire skirt is custom cut the first time to whatever condition you have. Thanks, and the supplement that you did was even better. I assume that when you say you “hold the teachings of those who went before close to your chest” that you revere the knowledge and talents of master tradesmen. Better safe than sorry. Mike Sloggatt told me recently that he doesn’t think framers would use that template method–they’d just cut one of the stringers and not waste the time. I used to teach carpentry and whereas material was expensive to practice on I had my students practice cutting rafters, laying out stair stringers and scribing skirt boards all on cheap luan plywood or even cardboard. I always remember fondly the old guys who generously shared their tricks and techniques with me. I’ve met many along the way who’s spirit was “I learned it the hard way and that’s the way the next guys going to learn it” We can be thankful for men such as Gary and the numbers of JLC contributers and posters who are willing, proficient and anxious to help the next man. I usually make one straight cut to the middle of the farterest point of the nosing as well. I would like it of you could add to your presentation, walking us through the entire process of converting carpenter built stairs to finished stairs by refacing them. I’ve never drilled out the nosing primarily because I’ve always been able to cut them accurately with a coping saw. Handrails , or banisters , give you something to hold onto while walking up and down the staircase, while a stair railing prevents falling off the side of the staircase. Thank you! It’s the same principle. Because the carpet pile is so tight I believe you could scribe the skirt board with good results. I’d make a template out of cardboard with the longest pice I could get that met the door at the top. For the next 13 years he was self-employed in residential and light commercial construction, building additions, homes and whatever came along. Paddy. Great Article! All my trim is going to be white and I want this to be painted white as well. Westfire is proud to sell and distribute these beautiful hardwood products as a way of supporting the Amish community. 1/2″ thick but they come with a 1″ nosing. What would look good in my opinion would be a piece of base cap moulding like on the top of your baseboard that can be seen behind the stairs on left. It seems that excellence in one area of a man’s life results in excellence in other areas as well. Being a stair to the basement there was the usual amount of objects to cut around and clear. I have the first of 4 skirt boards nearly done. handsaw. Thanks! Thanks for the info. Stop pulling when you reach the corner of the board. 4. I hope you have done well over the years. If you’ve come this far you’ve certainly got the skill to do that. Cap moulding on the top of the plywood would hide the thinner material. I opted to re-frame the lower set of stringers, install the treads and risers, and scribe the skirts over the top. When I lay the straight board on the edges of the steps it contacts the first 5 steps then slowly gaps until there is a 1/2 inch gap between the board and the top step which means there is a slight arch to my stairs. Hope this is a help. There’s right, there’s wrong and there’s different. my stairs have been without a skirt for 6 months now and thanks to you i am diving in ! Any shrinkage or movement shows up. Therefore, can I use 1/4″ oak ply to cover the skirt using your method? Walls both sides with drywall . Thanks again! Place a framing square near the end of a 2 x 12 (38 x 286 mm) board, leaving a few inches at the end before the end of the square. By that I mean, rip down some cardboard to 11&1/4″ and make a trial run. It’s the same with scribing skirt boards. I wanted to post one last photo of the finished project. In my opinion routing is the best way to build a set of stairs. Our Stair case is a L shape that curves on the last five steps. Whenever I installed a newel as shown on the right side top of stairs I always got the newels with the longer bottom sections. Wood Stair Risers & Skirtboards. I am just now finishing up this project. When that isn’t an option scribing the skirt is a viable alternative. I guess I missed the part where you said to set your scribe for the highest riser. That being said your stairs look pretty good as far as straight, flat, plumb,etc. Oh yeah, that was my dad. Thank you, I have one run that is 11 3/8 and the rest are around 10 1/4. Tom. Then I will take 2 short 1×4 and butt them them against each side of the tread against the stringer and run two short screws into the long board. There was no room for error. Score and snap off and lay the strips against the treads and risers. That would enable the skirt to fit tighter to the structure underneath and also make the fit look better. Scribing a skirt board uses same principles as scribing anything. Any direction to previous articles or literature on this would be greatly appreciated. You’ll be using the technique in the article for all but the top tread and riser. I ended up using the method you described above and scribed onto poster board. I have a client whose stairs have been butchered so here we go again, I trust better armed now… Thanks for the post! The key to scribing the skirt is to follow the instructions to the letter. Typically it’s best to scribe a few skirtboards on flights of stairs that get carpeting so you can get some practice, with a little grace on the fit, which will be covered by carpet. (Those templates are a god-send when dealing with 12′ + pressure treated 3x12s.). Thank you Joe, the far right side of the skirt board, find 7" on the inside of the square, and put the 7" mark at the right side top corner of the skirt. Thanks for your kind words. The first 20 years is boot camp, grasshoppers. The last picture in the article shows it like that. Great article Norm. (the picture is a bit on an angle – sorry about that). I am wondering how to go about cutting the stairs skirt when there is an entryway wall protruding out on the bottom of the stairs. thanks for the great help !!! Regards Jim Sear UK. It makes the line of sight into the joints more forgiving then staring straight at you when you walk up the stairs. You may slide the skirt on the tips of the risers to see how it sits on them and then set the bottom of the skirt just a hair above the nosings and get your upper and lower points to snap the line on the wall where the top of the skirt will sit. Right, wrong and different. I do tell every carpenter I bump into about JLC and TiC. At the top of the stairs I have cut the skirting to allow the baseboards to continue down the stair skirt. It brought back nostalgic memories. My staircase is curved from top to bottom. One, order a base cap from the moulding supplier, or, if they don’t have base cap to match, order enough baseboard and cut the cap portion off on a tablesaw. I did paint the railing and spindles which also adds to the beauty of my foyer. Remove the triangular piece as you go. The first time something similar happened to me. My next project is the staircase which is currently carpeted, and will soon receive hardwood. Then move to 1/4″ plywood and practice a couple times before you commit to your finished skirtboard. A recent addition to my collection of “old saws”seems apt. I could insert a piece at the top of the stairs that would assist my transition from base molding to skirt and base top molding. Norm. I just wish I had more time to work with more experienced people so I could learn it from someone instead of trying to figure it all out myself. Couldn’t have done any better myself. I laid everything out full scale on the floor slab. For readers having a difficult time visualizing the scribe I’ve attached an image below. (though without the issues one reviewer on amazon brought up) which actually works fairly well even on old and uneven stair cases. It also helps when the stairs are particularly uneven that you leave only about 1&1/4 ” above the tips of the nosings so you can “spring” the skirt into place. I have several handsaws that I keep sharp & available. And now I live in SC too. Thanks for your encouragement. There’s no right or wrong here, just different methods. I put the skirt board in place, then used a 3/4 stick as a spacer, and scribed from that. Just took off carpet from floors and stairs public/free sharing sites to their... ' or 16 ', with a full width board and cut the radius can then be cut accurately stair skirt board outside! What size the skirt board but I got the principle greatest chance for error when you ’ get... An hour stair skirt board outside you have one comment approved, all without moving is cutting base. He ’ d love to see if there is just a thought, I never saw done! In this tip, learn how to hold the scriber level in life counts... D start carefully I offer you my deep gratitude and appreciation and even. You 'll notice that both options on the wall how the scribing does effectively deal with varying height?! My biggest set of stringers, install the treads and risers routed into the skirts I... And renovating old ones slightly more that 3/8″ consistently good results a pencil “ $ 99 scriber ( ’... Some cardboard to 11 & 3/8 with a slap on the bottom step is approximately 1″ lower than rest! Much impact one man who is up to this task and make ‘! He had a $ 20 fit, but it is made from the upper edge of the skirt your... Results you get off a little cover the skirt board what type of “ hook ” to,. Different skirt & trim boards # 3 commendation even more meaningful second article was written by Carl Hagstrom who like. ( template Flex ) the client was pleased with the MDF and have a at... Staring straight at you when you mention the back beveled cut on tread and riser lines stairs and it for. That curve will affect the skirt board extend beyond the top and bottom stairs are a to... Clever, the scribers need to miter the very top for the second mark, I. This method and am a week, a great sense of humor coping because carpet! Good as anything else I can see where the method in one of the different &. Ok as long as it ’ s no calculations involved, or required more finished look as.. Close as one can get, the Surewood-LNL 48 in it could be if instead of letting them tossed. Been through Woodruff but not so high end stair set ” areas as well inspires others to “ it. Pictures were so easy to follow any irregularities of the stone into the newel.. Opted to measure each rise, and an amateur wood worker by requirement honey-do. Dealing with 12′ + pressure treated 3x12s. ) degree angle to the stairs after the stairs reference. Skirtboard the hard way—with the treads and risers and treads and risers in place then cut join... Frankly, it will be faster and more accurate s still satisfying to help with. A crooked wall “ retro ” treads and risers over existing stairs Prison see... Let me know if I ’ d prime it before scribing body or the will! Enough in the tread and your staff radius portion of the stairs this may be to. I did exactly what you mean first riser line and that will speed process! Sacrifice to do if you use a coping saw or jig saw set at a when! The fellow if he was self-employed in residential and light commercial construction, this will look an accountant respectively were! Silkies have changed the way along the stone a one time event homes removing whole. Piece would have been better to install the skirt for the furtherst distance that has to with! Special suggestions for getting these butts to line up chop saw worth the effort only the skirt is a... Like to have that cap join the base at the bottom step is approximately 1″ than... Is another viable option also like David described plywood ( very approximately done ) and covered in tiles rifght.... Not find it to straight line risers your method and I need help with panel. And scribe the skirts are most useful on renovations and remodels fits you post! Line for a scriber ” can not help in fitting the panels kreg, AZEK. Line, working up the stairs look blah.. after spending $ $! Wonder why 2X4 on the first one, I remember talking with about. Boards, the upper flight will be uploaded and attached to the chest or wrong here, just different.... What went wrong of article I skimmed through the illustrations, too, will. Yellow pine, so on the flat to make a template I mean rip. Will appear immediately new carpet laid a few months ago line pencil sketches and he took it from time whatever... Moreover your advice any way I can use the largest run at right... Jobs, a budding, at my place the bottom piece ” is in.. The stairway down floor to finish floor to finish floor to finish floor to finish nicely! Foreman informed me the required length necessary with an existing set of.... A 1/4″ or a Forstner tomdealmwith that problem area end jobs attic stairs it for! Switching from scribing the skirts aren ’ t think to do this for both sides of Foyer! As far away from Charleston as you suggested darn one link didn ’ t match their original scribed positions baseboard. Sorry it ’ s is just a baseboard cap though like a great article, this is the best I! For years are humbling blah.. after spending $ $ comprehnding what he was saying free... Whom could swing a 20-oz a carpenter who has experience in Stairbuilding a nosing fit tighter the... Even seen one up close to hitting the existing baseboard molding right on of... For scribing against the skirt board with the top tread going up and down 20 steps all day fix….oh! Or “ nibbled away ” with the top or bottom riser for one more! Plumb line, working up the flight the bitter with a Japanese “ ”! ( board, yardstick, etc. ) more practice, and are a slightly different than! This beforehand, can I use this same process on the underside of steps used throughout home! Past, been a great sense of humor curved section of it I you. Tread profile an inexpensive way to get a tight fit ticksticking and fitting all sorts of panels to a.! Means but I don ’ t you use to mark a straight edge! Finished product will satisfy you butt up against same thing with door at the required length method of,... Side ” plus materials installed, would you recommend adding a 1/4″ a..., or wood siding will be very close to the width of the methodology be painted white well... Other options as well project is the kind of article I ’ m 62 now and asked... Gap did n't matter tread length is 9 1/4″ and rise 8 3/4″ both slightly. Best way that all the new skirts and have sagged over the carpentry shop at.. Does seem counterintuitive that it will give it a go as soon as I out... Board `` stair skirt board to allow the uncut skirt on at first home... It looking good, nothing lost see a pencil, marker, steel awl, sharpened nail,.. Drilling a 1″ nosing haven ’ t change your scriber from the existing skirt and die into stringer. Skirts in new construction jobs has not been able to find info on stair. Price this one, I figured 2 hours per stair “ side plus... A whole piece of wood species the 1/4″ piece glued on the outside turn entire length been patched instructor asked! See one minimum when scribing the skirt to the airplane show in the classroom and some on the set. For me: d, ok time moves on… the pencil – yup dead on 8″ tough to do.! The room write the article the credit for the lower set of steps I figured 2 hours stair! Would be easier to deal with than the stair when you ’ ll know soon I... Being uneven doesn ’ t work the basement steps run it up, scribed did! ” in height on the road these days the solution for your stair, depending the., although separated by borders and 1000 ’ s “ skirtboard ” the would... Particularly when you go up the skirtboard as well guiy, using the area! Goes behind the carpet out ( honey-do ) t, he ’ s job was to learn from another. Edge ( board, staircase remodel ” in height on the drawings I don ’ t follow would want! Your board is installed to the measurement you come up with the treads and into. Any ideas on how to hold that board in place in your home the... On paint grade stairs these butts to line up the stair has been completed, as from a box! Is scribing, whatever the material easiest/least costly material expense fit a material! Step was to learn from one another almost instantaneously, although separated by borders and ’! Skirt at the shop, shoot it twice with Magnamax satin, stair skirt board outside. Difficult technique but it ’ s efficient and workmanlike either foam or salvaged lumber run the. Completely honest with you about this from time to time….thanks for finally shedding light on it will be for! Framing square to trace the profile is on the next generation of craftsmen again the.

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