I have given the proportion of riser and treads in a earlier paragraph, and it may be well at this point say something regarding the height a rail should be from the tread. An authority says "that the height from the treads at the nosings to the upper part of the handrail should be 2 ft. 7½ in.; at the landings the height of half the riser should be added, this variation in the height conducing to ease and safety, a person requiring more protection when he is standing on a landing than when ascending a stairs. Two stair parts balusters are ' generally placed on every tread, one on the same plane as the riser. In the old close string staircases, where massive rectangular or turned stair parts balusters are seen, one to each step is common. Of handrails, the moulded is the handsomest; a roll member with cymas on each side, and a deep rail moulded at the sides with ovolos or astragals, is commonly met with in the older examples and is very effective. (See sketch 54, 2, above.) "
In a recent text book on building construction the student is instructed, before planning a staircase, to know the position of doors and windows surrounding, so that the steps and the first and last riser may be fixed accordingly. Advice of this kind is very well when a staircase has to be fitted in a given space with specially designed stair parts; but the architect, in planning and designing the stairs, ought to proceed quite differently. He should first plan his stairs, as being the most important thing, and then arrange the hall thereto. The "going" of the flight or the positions of the first and last risers should not be made to depend on the doorways and approaches, but these should be adjusted to the risers. Given a space to design a stairs in, it may be a mode of proceeding in some cases; but if any attempt is made to give the staircase a character of its own, its design should be undertaken pari passu with the hall in which it is to be placed. No architectural arrangement can be possible under any other conditions.
Stair Parts Fig 55
Stair Parts Fig 56
Another style of stair is shown at Stair Parts Fig. 55, having turned newels at the bottom and square ones at the landings. This is a purely Colonial stair with the conventional shaped newel and baluster. All the rails in stairs of this kind are made straight and are fastened into the newels with either tenon or stair bolts or both, and glued.
The stair shown at Stair Parts Fig. 56 is taken from an English example of the Georgeon period. Both rail and newel are heavy, the latter being surmounted by a carved finial. In this example the risers are low and the treads wide, a characteristic of nearly all English stairs, a custom well worthy of imitation. The heavy newels employed in this stair give the whole design a
massive and substantial appearance. Of course, where a stair' of this kind is intended to be placed, it must have plenty of room, as the run or "going" will require a good stretch owing to great width of tread, and the hall or reception room must be large to accommodate the stairs and be in keeping with them.
At Stair Parts Fig. 57, I show a portion of a stair having serpentine newel and baluster. This style of work is very troublesome and is not much in favor, as the result are not in proportion to labor expanded on assembling the stair parts. A, A shows The style of stair parts rail which generally accompanies this style of ornamentation
Stair Parts Fig. 57
The illustration which is shown at Stair Parts Fig. 58 is adapted from Carpentry and Building, and is a good example of a modern stair. The paneling between the baluster at the top, marked A, is perforated. The treatment of the string is somewhat unusual, and it will be noticed that the nosings on the treads are worked to a flat ogee. The drop newel is quite plain, except the top, which is very nicely wrought. The rail enters the top newel with a goose-neck curve. The rosettes on the string are let in flush. The section of the fluted shaft of newel is circular, as shown by the shaded portion. Details of rail and treads are shown on the top of illustration.
Stair Parts Fig. 58
Another style of stairs is shown at Stair Parts Fig. 59. A part of the paneled wainscot is shown,
also lower spandril and paneling of platform. Stair Parts Fig. 60 shows a. portion of the 'newel and a baluster with section of rail drawn to a larger scale.
Stair Parts Fig. 59
Stair Parts Fig. 60