Before & After
 
Here, we have just framed our helical staircase. Cory and I started by first taking the landing-and-return plans and tossing them out the window. Then we spend a day designing a new staircase on paper and then plotting it out on the concrete slab, making sure we had required headroom, tread depth, etc. All the horizontal members are notched, screwed and glued into the vertical members. The underlying treads are laminated veneer lumber ends from our roof framing leftovers. No creaking on this staircase, except for my knees coming down in the mornings.   The finished product, all clad with wormy maple and plastered in. The straw was covered with natural clay while the framing was base-coated with fibered gypsum plaster on diamond lath. The spiral on the wall was made with cob -- mud and long straw -- shaped by hand. Great fun! Then a koelin and casein based clay plaster color coat finished the job.
The handrail is a branch cut from a juniper tree on the land. The first third of the 16-foot branch had a natural curve. We had to "train" the rest of the curve into the branch by installing it green and letting it cure to the shape. Then we removed it, sanded and finished it, and put it back up.

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