# Stairway from Hell?

You don’t think too much about stairways, but they’re a bit tricky to get right, and I have been thinking about and planning this stairway all week.  There are several websites that will do the math for you so I bought the wood, grabbed my pencil and speed square and got to work – yeah, right. So I started looking at the data from the website and I just can’t seem to figure out how you get started. I mean, really, who can measure 35.4 degrees?  So I thought – no worries, I’ll lay it out on AutoCAD and fill in the blanks.

So with printout in hand, I start off Sunday feeling like the master of my domain – until I laid out the first dimension and realize that the 2x12s I purchased the night before were only 9-1/2″!  Yep, I picked up 6 – 2x10s instead of 2x12s. Some schmuck put them on the wrong shelf – really!   So I head back to Home Depot to exchange them. Well it turns out they don’t have any 12ft ones, only 16ft. I need 2@16ft, and 4@12ft (for the 3ft wide runners – less waste). So I ask if they’ll sell the 16 footers at the 12 foot price. Bonus – I save \$42! Almost makes up for the time I wasted.

So 2 hrs. later I’m back at the saw horses ready to get on with it. I try to lay out my critical dimension and realize that a 2×12 is only 11-1/4 wide (all the other dimensional lumber is 1/2″ short – why are 2x12s 3/4 of an inch short?)  Yeah, yeah, rookie mistake, but all the dimensions I had from AutoCAD were based on 11-1/2″ lumber.  Then I remember I have a Starrett protractor and square (good quality measuring tools) so I go about trying to layout that ever elusive 35.4 degree angle. Fortunately after some trial and error, and a “practice run” (thank goodness HD didn’t have any 2x12x12fters) I finally get something that will get me to the second floor.

And even after all that, I still managed to screw it up. All the steps are 7-1/2 vertical except the top one. It’s only 5″.  It’s not a big deal, but just one of those things that will remind me forever that I’m still just a rookie.   I’ll go back and try to find my error, but to one things for sure – I’ll never look at a set of stairs the same way again.

And that “practice run”?  I ended up using it to replace the trailer tailgate on my father-in-laws truck.  That’s a saga for another day.

I accidentally deleted the picture of the finished product. This will have to do for now

My “practice run” that ended up replacing the tailgate I lost somehow