Posted on

Spiral Stair Case

Testimonial From Customer – Mr Ken C (Edinburgh)


Timber : American White Oak

Finish : Matt Clear Lacquer

Thickness : 30mm


This was a project to convert an industrial spiral stair which was being used in a domestic setting into something more pleasing to the eye. It had been intended to replace the stair completely, but space and legislation constraints made this impractical.

In plan view the stair was a circle sitting tightly within a square of walls.  Each step, comprising of a plywood tread and a steel support “palm”, was cantilevered from a central steel column.

Utilising the existing steel column and support palms, the project task was to replace the plywood treads and extend them out to meet the walls where their free end would be further supported. For aesthetic reasons it was also decided that a false stringer would follow the treads as they ran up the wall.  As the working space of the stairway was a major consideration a pig’s ear configuration was chosen for the handrail as it gave the smallest intrusion.

As this is a custom installation no two items were the same and with it being in a domestic setting fit and finish are of great importance.


The selection of the principal component supplier was a tedious process as it was necessary to find someone who was willing and able to provide the material and critically to engage in the whole process. Mercifully Harwood Timber in the shape of Rob Joslin came into the picture and from the beginning met and exceed all reasonable and indeed unreasonable expectations.

Early discussions confirmed that the best way to achieve the fit and finish required would be to create accurate full-sized templates of each piece, manufacture the fully finished item off site in Rob’s workshop in Falmouth and then site fit in Edinburgh. The only items cut and finished on site were the handrails and the finishing strips which were supplied as raw lengths.

Having agreed the method, a scope of works was established and priced and the work started with a single tread templated, shipped, manufactured, shipped, and fitted. This allowed the whole process to be tried out including the finishes and any slight difficulties resolved before the major works started. It also allowed the scope and price to be adjusted to take account of the minor overlooked items that can be a cause of much irritation as a project develops and to ensure that there was clarity of purpose and expectation from all involved.

In the event the whole job was to all intents and purposes was perfect, with only one miss-matched hole and that was on the first tread and probably more due to the template being out rather than anything else. 

It is interesting to note that despite having worked extremely well together in completing a complex, awkward and logistically difficult project the parties have never actually met face to face. 

The fact that this process worked so well is a tribute to Rob’s skill, knowledge, patience, willingness to engage, good humour, adherence to time scales, clarity of pricing, general “can do” attitude, and his exemplary packing skills!

Without Rob the job would have been endlessly difficult, and it was a real pleasure to work with someone who was able and prepared to make the move from supplier to partner. 

Thank you.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”9″ display=”basic_imagebrowser”]