It’s been a crazy week around here.
I’m sure many of you feel the same way. However, unlike many of you, I attached the stair stringer to the Keeper’s House staircase!
It’s the little things these days, no matter how little they are.
Once I located the stair stringer, I kind of figured it was mission accomplished. Sure, I needed to paint it, but other than that, glue the thing on, right?
Ha. No. Nothing is ever that simple with this.
Not Lost Then Found. Kind of
If you go back and review my previous stair stringer musings (here and here), you’ll notice that at first, I thought I was missing a stair stringer, then decided I wasn’t. It never was missing it. I just didn’t know what I was looking for.
When I did my research on stair stringers (mostly because I didn’t know what the heck one was), I was under the assumption that I should have two stair stringers. This is due mostly to the fact that the parts list says I should have two. If you recall, a stair stringer in real life is a safety feature. It supports the weight of the stairs (and people). Unless you put a stair stringer in the middle of the staircase, you need two stair stringers, one on each side.
As you know, this is a dollhouse, so even if I put people in it (I won’t) and they fall (they could), it’s not like they’ll die. So, technically, I don’t need a stair stringer at all. It’s more of a style thing.
That said, it was bugging me that I was short one stair stringer. If nothing else, the parts list says I should have two, and I don’t, so what else am I missing?
Fitting Things Together
I gathered up the parts (the staircase and single stair stringer) I do have to dry-fit everything together. Technically, it’s not a dry-fit as much as it is a hold it up and figure out which direction it goes thing. But, you get my drift. Here are my parts:
You’ll notice the picture is not blurry. I got a new camera. And a tripod! (Total off-topic side note. The tripod has changed my life!).
These are not oriented a specific way. I just threw them on the counter for the picture. But, as you can see, the stringer is angled on both ends, telling me it is directional.
This can’t possibly end well.
There are instructions for lining up the stringer on the staircase (more on that in a moment). But, here’s the stringer on the staircase with the correct orientation.
For the record, the instructions specifically say to orient the stringer this way and to have the top of the stringer just below the top bevel of the step, like so:
The bottom lines up like this:
That’s not exactly lined up. I moved the stringer over so you could see the stairs. The end of the stringer is too long for this set of stairs, so you have to cut it, which is why you wouldn’t be able to see the bottom in the picture.
Also, this camera captures a lot of details, and yes, that is a coffee ring on my counter.
Here’s a side view of the stringer and stairs. It’s on the wrong side on purpose, so you can see what it looks like from the far side.
This is the “right” way.
It’s not lined up exactly right because I haven’t cut the bottom yet. I was just playing around with everything.
Now the Hard Part
Here’s a picture of the staircase with the stair stringer lined up on the correct side. Please ignore the terrible paint job on the back. We all knew it was uneven.
I admit it’s not perfectly lined up top to bottom (meaning side to side in this case). But, as you can see, because of how the stairs are lined up in the middle, I’ve got a problem.
The instructions always showed this staircase as one continuous piece, meaning that once you attached the two stair pieces, you wouldn’t have that “bump” in the middle as I do. For the life of me, I couldn’t ever figure out how to make that happen, so I went with what I’ve got.
Here’s an extreme close up (I really love this camera) of the bump with the stair stringer correctly aligned.
From the back (or bottom, I guess), it’s not a big deal. In front, though, that’s a different story.
As you can see, it doesn’t line up properly in the front either.
I thought that maybe it was because I was holding everything so I laid the staircase down and lined up the stair stringer on top.
Please ignore the coffee marks. I drink a lot of coffee.
As you can see, I have it lined up on one part of the staircase and not the other. One half is perfect the half, not so much.
If I line it up the other way, it’s a little better, but not great.
As proof I’m not crazy, here are the instructions.
I didn’t glue my stairs together like that, so, of course, my stair stringer won’t match the picture!
Time to improvise, I guess.
Paint First, Cut Later
I figure the next thing to do is paint the stair stringer. The painting part isn’t exciting. The stair stringer is MDF, so the paint didn’t take so well. I didn’t prime either, though. Lazy, I suppose. Here’s the end job.
Yeah. That’s all me. Honestly, though, I don’t mind. I feel like it gives it a “used” look like people actually live there and go up and down the stairs.
Here are the stair stringer and staircase ready for action.
I check the instructions one more time to make sure I get this right, and I consult with the picture from the instructions.
I’d like to point out there appears to be only one stair stringer in this photo.
So, I line up my stairs to match the picture, then the stringer, then start lining things up to try and fit.
It’s fine to try and play with it outside of the house, but I only get one chance to get this right. So, I place the stairs inside then start lining up the stringer.
And that’s when I realize I only ever needed one stair stringer.
A startling revelation
Honestly, I probably realized this a while back. It just didn’t process in my brain. Everything makes more sense now.
As you can see, the staircase is snug against the wall. And if you look in these pictures, you can see how it’s also snug in the upper floor opening.
Also, I need to fix my paint job.
But, the important part here is that everything is snug. There’s no room for extra “stuff” like a second stair stringer. I guess the parts list is wrong!
The stair stringer, as you’ve seen, is too long for the staircase. I’m assuming that’s by design, though I have no idea why.
Knowing how not awesome I am at this stuff, I don’t measure a “where to cut” line on the stringer. I start by measuring where the staircase disappears into the opening. This is where I need the top of the stair stringer to be.
Then I line up the stair stringer with said line. This is the top of the stringer and the staircase. No need to cut on this end.
The bottom of the staircase and stringer look like this:
That’s the part I need to cut off.
Then I make the mark, so I know where to cut (pic).
I know it’s MDF, but I decided the miter box was best for this project. If nothing else, I need a way to hold everything steady and in place. Plus, the stair stringer is pretty flat. I need it on a raised surface if I’m going to cut it.
Into the miter box, then I cut the stair stringer straight across.
OK, not the greatest cut, but mission accomplished. I can sand that down.
Only, on closer inspection, it’s not so perfect.
Eek. OK. I’ll flip it over and cut again.
And I get this:
OK. Whatever. I’ll sand that down and no more cutting! For real.
Attaching the Stair Stringer to the Dollhouse Staircase
Here is a close up of the lined up and newly cut stair stringer:
It’s not perfect, but it will do.
I was going to use my plain old craft glue for this but can’t find it. Odd. Maybe I used it up and didn’t realize it. No worries though because I have this:
Wood glue should work just fine on MDF. Right?
I laid on a bead then lined up the stair stringer as best as I could.
Honestly, I don’t think it gets much better than this.
Then, like always, I watched the glue dry. Kidding. I cleaned up and did other stuff.
Here’s a close up of the glued-on, sawed-off end. It’s actually not too bad.
Still don’t love the way the stairs look, though.
Here are the stairs with the attached stringer in the dollhouse:
I don’t think I cut the bottom right. But I can live with it. Or maybe fix it later.
Here’s a close up.
Bad cutting aside, I’m certain that’s not right.
To check my work, and gauge how bad it is, I placed some wood floor under it.
Yeah, something isn’t right.
From a distance, though, it’s not too bad.
Since it’s my first project, I’m not too worried. It wouldn’t be mine if it didn’t include a newbie mistake!
So, what did I do wrong? I’m sure it starts with the stairs. Any advice? Would you leave it? Let me know!