Miniature Spiral Staircase
Before starting, please read through completely first
for an overview.
There is a vast difference between a spiral staircase
and a circular staircase. To visualize the difference,
think of a telephone pole in front of your house. Both
the pole and the house are important. Let us stay with
the pole for the moment. Now in your minds eye place steps
attached to the pole going from the ground to the top
of the pole. The steps will not be placed on one side
of the pole and go up to the top; the steps will circle
the pole as they ascend. This in essence is a spiral staircase.
Now let us go to the house; leave the spiral staircase
in place. (in your mind for comparison). Now we will do
the same stair placement but around the outside of the
house. If you started at the front door at the ground
and worked up to the roof by going around the house with
placement of the steps. This in essence is a circular
staircase. If the core of the staircase is very tight
we have a spiral and if the core is open spaced we have
a circular staircase. It's all relative. I say no pole:
then it's a circular staircase.
TO MAKE THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE
We require the center post (the telephone pole)
The steps (treads) - I used tongue depressors
Dremel Moto tool (use of a flex shaft makes it easier
Dental drill bits for pilot holes (because of the
fine diameter of the bits we can avoid splitting the
treads). If you cannot obtain dental bits remove the
head from a small finishing nail and use the pointed
end as a pilot hole drill bit
Regular drill bits of small diameter
For simplicity's sake let us mark the treads in the
following manner. The top left corner is "A";
the top right corner is "B", lower right corner
is "C" and last lower left corner is "D".
Working in scale cut the treads to size. (I use tongue
depressors cut to scale for treads only because I have
them by the thousands.) Stack the cut treads so that the
"A" corner on all the treads are in a vertical
Stack the cut treads one on top of the other and clamp
the entire set of treads in a stack. You may have to make
a few stacks if the dental drill bit is not long enough.
To insure that all the holes are in line if you make separate
stacks; use one of the prior drilled treads as the top
tread in the stack to be drilled. In that way the pre
drilled tread acts as a template for the treads to be
Drill all the treads.
Refer to the photos to see the effect and get the
idea of why we are doing things as described in the text. If you can look closely at the photos you will notice
that the top and bottom step are treated a little differently.
After drilling all the treads thru the "A"
Place your "telephone pole" thru all the holes
drilled in "A". Line up the "B" and
"C" corners (you can "fan" out the
treads and separate them if you wish just to see the budding
spiral staircase). Realign the "B" and "C"
corners in to a tight stack. Keep the "telephone
pole" in place. It assures placement of the holes
to be drilled next. Repeat the drilling of a hole thru
all of "B" and "C".
The bottom step (which was set aside) will now be drilled
thru "D". The top step does not get drilled
BANNISTER SUPPORTS AND BOTTOM TREAD SUPPORT
Separate the treads so that the riser space is to
Cut the round toothpicks to remove the points and on
the bottom step cut a toothpick to insert in "D"
to be in scale and support the bottom step. Refer to photo
if needed. The banister supports going thru "B"
and "C" are cut to scale and put thru the "B"
and "C" holes both offset and long enough to
separate the treads in scale and to be of correct height
to support the handrail. The Bannister supports will go
from step #2 thru hole "C" in step #3 to support
the banister. The next banister and tread support goes
thru hole "B" in step #3 to the "C"
hole in step #4. Again refer to the photos to keep things
straight in your mind. It can get confusing.
The banister (handrail) in this case was a long pipe
cleaner pressed into service as the handrail for photo
The top step does not have anything in "D".
I think enough has been said that any adjustments or
freedom of design can be started at this point. If any
problem or questions occur fell free to email me or post
to SSD as others may have had a similar problem or question.
Remember the only question that is foolish is the one
you do not ask.
DrBob in Delray Beach, FL