Dressing up a stairway


There are a lot of poor quality contractors and carpenters out there, when people sign up for having handrails system installed on a stairway. They are surprised as to what was built. A Lot of contractors build a knee-wall 2”-3” above the tread, covered by a wood trim board and then the handrail system on top the trim board, because they don’t know how to install a exposed tread system.

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A cheap exposed tread system looks like this photo. What makes it look cheap is the skirt board. The reason is that it does not match the baseboard joining up with it.


If you have to put in an inexpensive knee wall over a handrail this is a quiet but elegant way of going about it.


If you have a smart carpenter use a 1”x 8” board and a piece of 5” tall base to make a custom make skirt board. Join them to together with a biscuit jointer and glue. Than run it through a surface planer and bring them down to the same thickness. A few minutes of light sanding, and your new skirt board is ready to be custom cut.


Not only can it be custom cut into the base, but you can make it follow up the staircase to the 2nd floor enhancing the look of staircase.

Dewalt DW718 12″ double bevel sliding compound miter saw

Items to look for in a miter box.
1. Is the backrest high enough to do crown molding as lest 3 1/2″?
2. Does the turntable move freely or can the dust and cut offs get under the
backrest and the turntable?

3. Can you lock the turntable at 1/10 of a degree at a time?

4. Does the miter box allow you to set the blade depth as to kurf a board
or notch the backside of a baseboard?

5. Are you able to set the turntable as 69 degrees both ways, all the miter
boxes I know of can not do this yet. When you are doing beam ceiling
with 45degree boxes the miter angle is 67 1/2 degrees this angle is used
a lot on a 6 ply beam build up?

6. Can the bevel turn to 50 degrees both directions?

7. Does the slide arm have a second dairy lock for custom cutting?

To date I have used several different types and brands of miter boxes not one is perfect but the Dewalt Series of miter boxes are a delight to work with.