I just wrapped up a staircase project and would like an opinion of how other folks would approach this type of work. My treads are Brazillian cherry with a natural finish. Risers are poplar, painted white. Skitrboards are 3 pieces of domestic cherry, the middle piece being stained dark. Since I have different finishes on some components, I decided to prefinish everything prior to installing. After the skirtboards went in, I cut the treads and risers to fit, and then painted or stained. Where the white risers meet the stained wood is a very clean look, no paint slopped around. That was one of my main goals. (I hate painting)
Would you good people have installed everything raw, and then finish afterward? Or prefinish like I did? It seemed like it took a lot of my time to prefinish everything.
Lastly, what size of a gap would most customers tolerate? As a tool and die maker, I work in thousandths all the time (when I work, that is
). I understand wood contracts and expands width-wise, and concessions need to be made for this. But, some may be surprised how big just a 1/32 gap looks when a dark tread butts up to a white riser or skirtboard. I took my time and made it all fit without gaps, but how tightly do customers expect their work to be constructed?
Luckily, I wasn't under any sort of a time constraint, since I'm 'in between jobs', this is a good time to knock down a few items on the honeydew list. All in all SWMBO is happy, and we did save a lot by doing it our(my)self. I'm mainly looking to learn the best way to approach problems like this, in case I do another staircase. Thanks, CH