Historic Porch Stairs Built by Westbrook Carpentry & Millwork
Replicating A Historic Home Front Porch Wooden Stair Case
By Daniel Westbrook
Seattle, Everett, Bellevue, to Bellingham
This little Ballard historic home, below, was built in 1906, and still has all the original millwork, including the double hung windows, wood gutters, and even some cabinetry in the kitchen. It’s owned by clients who really have a care for the rare historic value this home has. So when it came time to rebuild the front stairs it was done in keeping with this set of architectural millwork values.
Although these stairs may look simple to build, I can assure you that they are not. At least not for the standard modern carpentry skillset. It takes many years of practice before one can understand which old and new carpentry and millwork techniques should be used. For me it’s about building to withstand time. Understanding things like the affects of weather, picking the right kind of wood, calking, primer, joinery techniques and so on.
Its also about proper logistics, and often most importantly, a dry space to work as you can see here.
To Be fair I have an advantage over others. I’ve spent a lifetime taking apart carpentry that others have done. I have been analyzing all these years, like an archeologist, what works and what doesn’t work. Whats held up over time and what has failed. Ive used that knowledge, through a sort of voice of history, as a relevant application to my hands on craft.
In the photo below you can literally see the detail of finished architectural joinery on the treads.
One unique feature of this historic replication stair is how the bottom tread extends beyond the stair treads above to receive the newel post and railing. This is reminiscent of many interior stair cases that have a featured bottom newel.
The astute observer may be asking right now, “why is there finished wood extending into the ground? Won’t it rot?” Certainly you would be right. My answer is this. “its not wood, and it won’t rot.”
Im grateful for the homeowner who cares enough about their unique home to spend the time in finding someone they can trust with their historic home. Westbrook Carpentry & Millwork services are based upon that first with my family of clientele.
Cost is relevant to people, and I get that as a professional business owner and operator. But I also know, it’s a delusion to think that the “cheaper” price is somehow going to yield a better value. Especially compared to the earned, deep experience, that a Master Craftsman brings to the table.
Daniel J Westbrook
Feel free to contact me anytime with questions, and remember my wood shop is open by appointment if you need something worked on.