Curved Trim at Base of Stairs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-26-2017, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
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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)
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Last edited by Daveb; 02-26-2017 at 06:01 PM.
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-26-2017, 08:42 PM
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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.
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post #3 of 5 Old 02-27-2017, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, I think you are right! I was thinking I could get a better inside edge by bending than by cutting.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-24-2017, 03:32 PM
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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"
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-24-2017, 05:54 PM
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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
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