I have done several posts about the grand stair in the Cross House. In 1929, its expansive opening was reduced in half, and the balustrade repositioned. In 2014, I reopened the closed-over portion of the expansive opening. Then I installed a 2×4 railing. And this is how things have been since. Sigh.
Last week however I began work to take the various bits and pieces of the 1894 stair which had been stored in the house, and to try and see how much I could reconstruct. This image shows some balustrade back in place after 89-years! Also, see the lower portion (left) of a cut-off newel post?
Today, the upper half was reunited with the lower half after 89-years! Squee!!!!!!!!
The newel post had a ghost outline of the original handrail.
And once I got all the various bits reinstalled, the handrail perfectly matched up. Squee!!!!!!!! This was a lovely confirmation the Ross has stellar jigsaw puzzle skills.
I first installed the undamaged spindles (left). Then I began installing the soot-covered spindles (right). Oops. While the same hight overall, the sphere, lower ring, and base were of different heights. Oops. A quick sleuthing revealed that the EAST spindles were originally unique. They don’t match the spindles on the north, west, and south sides of the stair. Who knew? So, I looked at another soot-damaged section of balustrade. Ahhh, THESE spindles matched the east side.
On one handrail portion, I found this on the bottom. Inside the holes are nuts which hold the two sections together. This handrail portion was almost certainly on the west side originally, as the 1894 length would have too long for a contiguous rail. I am fascinated by this discovery, and hope to recreate the detail for the new west handrail. I suspect this is a common detail for long railings.
And MORE done!!!!!!!!
And more!!!!!!!! OMG, I was SO excited!!!!!!!!
Again, the BEFORE.
Squee!!!!!!!! I am short two spindles. These will have to be recreated. Over to the left, the handrail will angle up, as there are three steps adjacent.
The reconstructed handrail is, well, laughable. I will have a new length made. It’s 9-feet-long so I should be able to get a contiguous piece. I will also replace the bottom “shoe” as the section to the right is actually scorched.
This is the area over to the left (the north edge of the east balustrade). What you see is original to 1894. The upper section was horizontally cut in 1929. I have some more bits and am hoping I can recreate the lost angled section. I do have the balustrade for this section.
The west side. I have some of the spindles. They are soot-damaged. I plan to have a new length of handrail made for the whole of the west side. Then, under the balustrade is…
…this. And I am missing a long length of this on the west side. I can have this made but, at the moment, have no source for the pressed wood decorative trim. I may have to make a mold of it and recreate it.
Well, today was QUITE the thrill!
I am confident that during the next few months I can have the missing spindles recreated, new handrail milled, and other bits. So, perhaps by spring the fabulous grand stair will look, in 2018, pretty much how it looked in 1894.
My excitement will be…vast.