Its cold out there:
Due to our cold Michigan winter, construction on our earth sheltered home had to slow. Concrete (my primary building material) would have frozen before it cured. There are additives that will speed up the cure, but they are corrosive to steel, so we just have to wait. I guess perhaps this is one of the reasons that stick frame construction (wood) is so much more popular in this frigid area. Framing guys keep right on working in the cold (although it is probably unpleasant).
For those who want to skip to the video:
Since these stairs would be exposed to the elements for a while and eventually replaced, I dug thru the scrap wood pile for some junk boards to cut to length as treads. This snow covered pile was the worst of the wood left over from forming the footings. This was junk wood that my wife wouldn’t even let me bring into the Quonset because she was concerned that the mold would spread to the “good” junk wood. But I couldn’t just throw it away. I figured I would use it for something rough and temporary, and then again as camp fire wood.
I had already mounted the tread brackets to the shotcrete walls. This was done with the aid of a template (also made of scrap forming board). I screwed the template into the lower tread to position the higher tread and worked my way up the wall. Actually, by also fastening the upper tread to the template, I was left with free hands for drilling pilot holes into the concrete for the screws (and for taking this photograph).
By the time I started recording the video, I just had to trim the treads to fit between the rough walls. I actually had a pile of screws that I had taken out of the formwork and bracing when I disassembled it, and was able to reuse all of that also.
There is actually another foot of wall that will come when I pour the floor over the basement, so there will eventually be a couple more steps. But in the meantime, I put a deck across the top. Since this is all temporary, it seemed easiest to just span the top of the walls. On the drive home that night, it occurred to me that the quad deck will need to be set on top of on of those walls and I will soon need to move those boards out of the way again. I should have done it properly by mounting horizontal boards on the wall and spanning the deck across that. Then the tops of the walls would have been clear for the Quad deck.
That first day, I measured up for the last 4 stairs, but then I got distracted by other tasks.
I came back on a warmer day with finishing these stairs on my list (along with preparing the tower base and some other jobs). I had the rough sizing and a vague plan in mind when I showed up, but I basically ended up just doing a quick re-measure (without writing anything down) and then rough cut the boards (eyeball-freehand on the table saw) and just screwed everything together. To keep it square, I did some rough measuring to make sure that the width was the same at several key points… Any true right angles are just luck, but it feels level and secure and will do the job. The video shows that I didn’t remember all my measurements correctly because I had to trim nearly 6 inches off the back legs for a decent final fit, not really sure what happened there, but better too long than too short.
This last section of stairs needed to be both temporary and removable. I plan to lift it out of the way when I pour the basement floor. After the floor is done, I can trim off the bottom 6 inches and place it back again. After the area is all closed in and safe from the elements, I can pull out these junk steps (firewood) and replace them with something that wouldn’t make a carpenter cringe so badly. Not sure if I will have time (at that point) to make the final stairs myself. Lets wait and see if I am critically short on time or money at that point.