By Megan Lhamon, NWFA
Earlier this month, NWFA had the privilege of hosting specialty training focused on staircases. This class was unlike our traditional in-person classes led by NWFA Regional Instructors in that it was taught by professionals from the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association (SMA).
Building staircases is a craft, just like installing hardwood floors. It was very beneficial to have SMA take the lead on this class and teach our students important techniques and tips to help them understand the fundamentals of staircase building.
The first day was taught by David Cooper, the President of SMA. The class went into great detail discussing the International Residential Code for Stairbuilding. Attendees learned how to identify stair parts and I particularly enjoyed gaining a deeper understanding of the terms stairbuilders use and how they compare to the terms our industry uses.
The second day involved hands-on demonstrations by Rusty Parks and Robert Aulicky. We got to see many techniques on how to build stairs and handrails. The most eye opening was how easy replacing an existing staircase could be when using the techniques and jigs that were demonstrated.
On the last day of the class, students were able to take a tour of a local manufacturer, Builders Stair Supply, to see the flow of work from raw wood to finished product. I was able to gain some insight about the experience through the eyes of wood flooring professional, Lenny Hall.
As with most flooring guys, Lenny has retrofitted and overlaid many staircases on the job site. Upon seeing the speed and simplicity of the staircase assembly process from scratch, Lenny reconsidered retrofitting as a solution and now will offer full replacement, which will benefit both the consumer and the installer.
Lenny, along with many other students, was very impressed with the tools and techniques that all of the stairbuilders used to accomplish their everyday production goals. From the specific jigs to the clamps used to help build tread, the students were excited to take these tips back to the job site.
NWFA would like to give special thanks to the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association for helping facilitate this class and sharing their expertise with our flooring professionals. We’d also like to thank Builders Stair Supply for opening their facility to us and taking our students through their work flow process.
Finally, we’d like to recognize the students who attended this training opportunity: