Stairs For Church Basement

Old Church

This church had not been taken care off for a good length of time, and the stairs for church basement had rotted away on the bottom of the stringers.Old Church


The old stairs were more of a ladder then anything else, and very difficult to go up and down.

They also went down so that you had to walk into one of the walls, not good.

The best thing to do in this situation was to take the old stairs right out and replace with new ones that would go out into the church basement.Ladder for temporary stairs


As the floor in this basement is still dirt and rather uneven the total rise could not be overly accurate, but after measuring in a few places you can come up with a figure that is fairly accurate.

Stair Calculators

There are many automatic stair calculators on the internet you can use once you know the total rise.

A comfortable step height is usually seven inches, but can be a little one way or another and the thread depth is often ten and a half inches with the thickness  being inch and a half in this case.

Stair Gauges For Your Square

Once you have all the calculations figured out you can use a square to mark off the stringers. The stringers are usually two by twelves or two by tens.

A set of stair gauges that attach to your square work very well, putting them at the height of the riser and width of thread.Stair gauge


Also remember to cut off the inch and a half for the thread from the bottom of the stringers, which will make each step equal in height.

If your stairs are three feet wide is best to put another stringer in the center at the eighteen inches.

You can use the cut outs from the first stringer to make this extra stringer with a two by six. Just line it up against the first stringer for accuracy, and screw your cut out pieces into it.Stair stringers

Attaching Stringers

Now that you have three stringers cut out and made it is time to fasten them below the finished height of the upper landing.  In this case it is eight and a half inches down, and once the inch and a half thread is screwed in you have a seven inch step.

You might have to add a two by six for support where the stringers will come. Also at most hardware stores today there are metal fasteners that can be used to support the stringers.


The next thing is to cut out the threads the planed width of your stairs and install them with screws.

Usually the top two by six thread and the bottom are installed first and screwed down, as this is to insure the stringers are lined up right.

You can also leave an inch overhang of the thread nose on the steps, and can be rounded off if you like.Putting threads on


After your steps  are all screwed down then its time to put up the handrail.

It can be supported with four by fours or two by fours that are attached strongly to the stringers, if there is no solid wall for this.

The desired height of the handrail is thirty four to thirty eight inches measured from the top of the threads on your stairs.

Handrails can be bought premade at most hardware stores, or you can make one out of a two by four if you do not wont something to fancy.Handrail for stairs


Another thing to remember is to keep about eighty inches headroom where the stairs descend below the top floor, can hurt a little when your head hits the top floor.

So you might have to extend the opening at floor level to give you the right amount of clearance.Finished stairs


If the opening to your stairwell does not have a railing around it, then probably best to buy or make one and install. You can save someone from having a bad day.

Any comments are always appreciated,



Making Maple Syrup at Home

Syrup Season

Its that time again in southern Quebec for the maple trees to start producing  some sap, and giving you a chance for making maple syrup at home.Making Maple Syrup at Home


For the sap to run really well we need cold nights below freezing, and warm days with temperatures up to ten celsius or forty to fifty Fahrenheit.

Amount of Sap for Gallon of Syrup

It takes about thirty to forty gallons of sap to produce a gallon of syrup, so lots of work involved in the process.

Buckets to Plastic

When I first started making maple syrup it was buckets on the trees, where as today its all plastic tubing working by vacuum pumps.

The tubing does save a lot of work and not nearly as much work as gathering sap from the buckets.

Many today also use reverse osmosis, which removes most of the water from the sap, and thus reducing the boiling time.

Tapping and Boiling

If you wont to make a little syrup for yourself, then just tap a maple tree with your drill and hammer if your lucky enough to have one on your property.

You can gather the sap and boil it down on the kitchen stove, but just keep the windows open or stove vent running for steam to go out.

If your making just a few small containers for yourself it works ok. But if you don’t wont to get your house and kitchen messed up, you can boil it outside using a propane stove as this works well also, and just might be a little more family friendly.Making Maple Syrup at Home

When Syrup is Ready

To tell if your sap has boiled down enough and reaching the syrup stage use a large spoon to see when it starts to drop off in flakes, and also when the syrup is turning a brown color and boiling up in your pot.

There are also thermometers for this to tell when its ready. But if your just doing a little for your self, you can tell how thick it is by watching it skim off a large spoon or other metal utensil.

With a little practise you can get it just right for your own taste.

You might also wont to filter it when hot  by straining it through a cloth, which removes any sugar sand from the syrup.


Syrup has also been tested to show that it has healthy benefits with over fifty four antioxidants plus high amounts of zinc and manganese, that help the immune system.

Some people also just save the sap, putting it in containers and freezing it, then use it as a drink year round. With all of its health benefits is most likely a good idea.


Any syrup you make can be stored in your freezer, and will keep for years. Just don’t fill your containers too full as they will expand a little when freezing.

There are also many different recipes where maple syrup is used, and on pancakes for breakfast is a favorite.


The only tools you will need for this home project would be a battery drill and hammer, and a few buckets or pails and spouts.

If interested in any tools for this project have a look.

Best of luck to anyone wishing to try this, and comments are always appreciated.