Curved Trim at Base of Stairs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 5 Old 02-26-2017, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
Senior Member from MN
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 221
View Daveb's Photo Album My Photos
Curved Trim at Base of Stairs

This winter, we pulled up the old carpeting from the stairs (and entire upper floor). Our house was built in 1939, so all the floors are hardwood. The stairs are a beautiful mahogany. The trim is painted white upstairs, and the the contractor installed new painted trim along the baseboards upstairs. But he bailed before finishing the sections needing mahogany trim. Also, the original mahogany is some species that is illegal to sell now.

So I made some trim from Honduran mahogany. The straight pieces were fairly easy to make with the table saw and router. But the curved piece was a challenge. I decided to make strips an bend it. This is my first time attempting to bend wood. A 1/8 inch test strip was too thick for this radius and broke. So I cut a batch at 1/16 each, while keeping track of the order for grain matching. I made a form and was advised at the cabinet shop where I bought the wood that it would bend back quite a lot when I take it out of the form. It didn't. I made the form so that one leg was bent inward 1/2 extra inch. It bent back only about 1/8 - 3/16 inch, and I planned for 1/2 inch. But it will still fit OK once nailed in. I did not soak the wood in water before bending because I wanted to be sure the glue bonded well with the strips. I suppose I could have used thicker strips if I would have soaked the wood in water.

The other thing I learned was when using thin strips to use a solid form. Instead, I used spaced supports placed along the radius to which I clamped the lamination during glue-up. The thin strips bent inward slightly between the supports. This will result in slight unevenness after install. But no one should notice but me. I debated sanding the inner diameter out with a drum sander but decided I would only make things worse. It fits fine.

For an amateur weekend hobbyist, I am happy with the result. The bending was fun. There are a few things I would do differently, and always wish I were better at stain matching. A friend with a trim nailer will be coming over to help me nail it in place next week.

And .. one of these days I'll figure out how to get my phone photos not to rotate (it seems the portrait view gets rotated, I'll have to try landscape view)
Attached Images

Last edited by Daveb; 02-26-2017 at 06:01 PM.
Daveb is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 5 Old 02-26-2017, 08:42 PM
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 25,995
View Steve Neul's Photo Album My Photos
Looks good. I think it's a little easier to run the profile on the molding before I cut the back side to fit the stairway.
Steve Neul is offline  
post #3 of 5 Old 02-27-2017, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
Senior Member from MN
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 221
View Daveb's Photo Album My Photos
Yes, I think you are right! I was thinking I could get a better inside edge by bending than by cutting.
Daveb is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #4 of 5 Old 03-24-2017, 03:32 PM
Senior Member
nywoodwizard's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Lindenhurst,NY
Posts: 182
View nywoodwizard's Photo Album My Photos
Many years ago, i needed to bend a piece of trim, used a steam jenny. Worked better than i expected.

"You must become one with the wood grass hopper"
nywoodwizard is offline  
post #5 of 5 Old 03-24-2017, 05:54 PM
Senior Member
Catpower's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Frognot Texas
Posts: 2,267
View Catpower's Photo Album My Photos
It looks good

I never have gotten very much "spring back" when bending laminated wood, but if I used thicker wood and steamed it there would always be some spring back, and seldom were any two pieces alike, so I had to improvise
Catpower is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Whiteside Ultimate UDC9112 Flush Trim Router Bit Marv Tool Reviews 12 03-06-2018 03:09 PM
Puppet Theater Design - Help with Trim Thorn495 Design & Plans 2 11-20-2016 07:01 PM
Banister trim complicates stair tread install DIYIndy General Woodworking Discussion 12 05-08-2016 12:15 AM
Base trim finish nwoodward Wood Finishing 2 01-02-2016 11:39 PM
Help identifying curved corner block ghoustro Trim Carpentry & Built-Ins 7 10-27-2015 02:18 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome