Sorry, it's hardly woodworking, but it's what has been happening in my garage lately. Sometimes trading a fatter pencil for your marking knife while switching into "FHB-mode" is a good thing. Well, I tell myself that. As Chris Schwarz said, blog what you know so the next guy can learn from you. So blame Chris for this entry :)
My neighbor is having me put down high-pressure laminate flooring on his second floor and in his stairs. The stair 'kit' comes with wider boards that have a built-in bullnose. They want it put down with no molding on the edges so that 86s the use of a nailer. Further, the existing stairs have 1" thick particle board with a built-in bullnose. As you can see, we'll be working with fine exotics.
First step, remove the existing bullnose. For this, I used the jigsaw and created a guiderail for it. To do that, I ripped a 5" wide strip of MDF about 34" long (stairs are 36" wide). I glued a 1" wide strip of MDF to one edge and tacked it in place with a brad (remember, FHB-mode). Next, run the jigsaw's side-body against the 1" wide strip while cutting the 5" strip. This leaves you with a guide where the edge is exactly where the blade will cut. You'll see what it looks like below.
At this point, I glued up some of the flooring to make wide enough boards to rip and glue onto the riser. I tacked them in place with nails near the very top and very bottom since those areas will be hidden.
After the risers are refaced, you can now scribe each new tread to each step; they wanted a minimal gap to the walls (all scribed). Their wall makes the Great Wall of China look like a straight edge. Fortunately (?!) it is full-on monsoon season here so those steps are as large as they will ever be. That said, I'm scribing to within 1/32" of the wall. You need to wait until the risers are refaced to get accurate tread widths, but less obvious, to get the bevels correct on the sides.
I neglected to take pics of scribing each tread, so some MDF scrapes, flooring offcut, tread offcut and some clamps and voilà! a stair mockup. The new tread is very small in these pictures as it is an offcut of a real one I already installed (they bought exactly what they needed uhg). So here goes:
bevel gauge, measure the bevel of the left side of the existing tread; that is, place the bevel gauge reference against the riser and push the bevel arm against the wall; lock it.
Alrighty, you can carry all that to your shop 5 doors down and cut them all up. Here's how I processed them:
Now carry it all back :)
Installing the treads. Well, the dealer said, "use a ton of Liquid Nail for each step". Sounds like a punt. I know LN is flexible to a degree. I want to lock the treads into position, but can't use a nail since the top of the tread is completely visible; no hidden place for a secret nail. Even a pin nail would show since the laminate face is very chippy on impact. For the solution, I turned to dowel centers.
Once the dry fit verifies you have everything golden, time for Liquid Nail. I loaded a big bead in the three shallow kerfs, a big bead on the step just behind the riser, a big bead near the back of the step, and whatever goo is on the nozzle into the dowel holes under the new tread (no need to glue the dowels into the steps.
Press down and dance a little on it to squish everything down and release the trapped air (this is why you only want to make beads side to side; if you circle or cross, you trap air).
For this install, I did odd steps one day, even steps the next and had the owners avoid the recently glued steps for a day "just in case". I found that the dowel pins, though, completely locked the tread in place so I'm happy.