56. The space enclosed by walls or partitions, as the space a b c d, fig. 440, in which the stairs are placed, is termed the "staircase;" when the stairs are external to the wall, that is, in the open air, leading, for example, to an outbuilding, or from the door of a house to the yara or garden, they are called "outside stairs." The arrangement of the steps, of whatever kind these may be, constitutes what is called the "stairs." These are made up of "steps," "flights," and "landings." Steps, when parallel to one another, are called "flyers," as e f g, etc. When angular, or narrower at one end than the other, as h, the steps are called "winders." The series of steps between one landing or starting-point, as a, fig. 441, and another landing, as b, is called a "flight."
The part of a step upon which the party ascending the stairs puts his feet is called the "tread," as b, fig. 442; this being usually nine inches broad, and in superior work projects beyond the part a, and is finished with a moulded part c called the "nosing;" a small moulded fillet e connects the nosing with the face of the vertical part a, which is called the "riser," and the height of which is generally seven inches; a "blocking" d is placed underneath the tread b and behind the riser, this blocking is sometimes called a "rough bracket," the ends being notched or dovetailed into the face of the "rough string" (which see in succeeding sentence). The part of a stair which is wider than a step, and which is either a resting-place, as j k, fig. 440, or the final ending of the stair, as l, is called a "landing." If the landing is divided into two, as j k, the part k being the height of a step above j, the half, which is a square, as j or k, is called a "quarter space;" when the landing stretches across the whole width of the two flights, as m, it is called a "half space." In some cases the part corresponding to h i, fig. 440, or a, fig. 441, is made circular, as in fig. 443 (the elevation with corresponding letters being given in fig. 444). The ends of the steps, or rather of the treads and risers, are supported by pieces of timber placed at the angle of the stairs, as the line d e, fig. 445, which, touching the nosings of all the steps, is called the "line of nosings."
There are two strings, one next the wall b d, fig. 440, and which is called the "wall string," and the other outside, as no, which is called the "outer string." The steps are fixed to the string a a, fig. 445, by one of two ways; the outer edge of the string, as f g, fig. 445, may have a part cut out, as h, corresponding to the tread c and riser b, in "which case it is called a "cut and mitred string;" or grooves, as c b, may be cut in the face of the string a a these grooves being called "housings," and the string so treated a "housed string." The steps, if long, are further supported by pieces of timber placed under them, parallel to the string a a, fig. 445, these are called "rough carriages," as a a, fig. 446; and still further to support the steps, horizontal or cross-pieces are used below the fliers, these being termed "pitching pieces." The "winders," as c d e f g and h, figs. 443 and 444, are supported by timbers, one end of which is fixed into the wall, the other to the string, these timbers are called "bearers." If the "outer string-piece" of the upper flight of a stair, as i j, fig. 444, stands in a line with or perpendicularly over the outer string a b of the lower flight, the stair is called a "dog-leg stair," the steps winding round a point; the axis of the stair, which is the centre of a vertical piece of timber called the "newel," as k in fig. 443, and k k in fig. 444. The "newel," or "newel post," receives the outer strings, which are tenoned into them, and they also carry the first and last "riser" of the flight. A "newel," or "newel post," is also provided at the foot or starting-point of the stair, as at a a, fig. 447, being generally ornamented, the upper newel post is generally turned. The plan of a "newel," or "dog-leg stair," is shown in fig. 440, in which f g is the lower "flight" of " fliers," h i the "winders," and the dotted lines p show the position of the stairs of the tipper flight terminating in the landing o l; n the "newel post;" o the ornamented newel post at bottom Of stairs. When the upper and lower "flights," as d and c, fig. 441, are not in a line, but separated by a space more or less wide, as e f, with no newel, as k k, in fig. 444, and with the outer string-piece g, fig. 441, winding round, as at f, to meet the upper string-piece h, the stair is said to be a "geometrical" one, and the string is said to be uwreathed." The outer string b b, fig. 447, is often ornamented with brackets of varied design, as c c, or the moulded nosing in simpler work, if the front of the tread is returned at the ends of the string, as at d, in fig. 447. The space below the stairs is covered in towards the passage by boarding panelled in various styles, as at e e in fig. 447.
The hand-rail, as f f, is generally of mahogany, and in section of varied and ornamental outline, as at a in fig. 448. This rail is supported by the balasters g g, fig. 447, two of which are generally dovetailed into each tread, and notched into the lower side of the hand rail. In dog-leg stairs the hand-rail is straight, bub in geometrical stairs the winding or wreathed portion of the string, and the rising of the flights, requires the hand-rail to assume certain curves; this makes the formation of the hand-rails of this kind of stair a more complicated, and in some cases, a very difficult operation. Hand-railing is one of the nicest works of the joiner, and involves some very interesting problems, in order to get curved and twisted parts cut out of the least portion of wood, and in the quickest way. This subject not coming within the scope of this work, we may be permitted to refer to our large work, The New Practical Guide to Carpentery and Joinery, where a full description of hand-railing will be met with. The lower part of the hand-rail of a geometrical stair, as in fig. 447, is secured to the upper part of the newel a a; in some cases the hand-rail terminates in a scroll, as shown in elevation in fig. 448 at b, the handrail a curving up to meet the angle of the line of nosings as at c c. The outer end of the first or lower step is in this case formed with a scroll termination corresponding to the scroll b, fig. 448, the balasters being arranged at this part round the centre of the scrolled " curtail" step. In other cases the lower or first step of a stair is finished as at a, fig. 449, in which case it is called a "rounded step," or "round-ended step;" if with a scroll, as above described, the step is then called a " curtail step." Fig, 450 shows the twist of a hand-rail, as the lower part of the lower flight begins to bend or twist into the angle of the upper flight which goes in the opposite direction, as shown by the arrow a, b being the direction of lower flight, c a balaster. In the same figure d is part of the horizontal hand-rail at a level landing, twisting into the angular part e of the hand-rail of next flight. Fig. 451 shows the winding or "wreathed" part of the string board a of a geometrical staircase at the first landing where the hand-rail twists from the angle of the lower flight (see fig. 450, a b c) b b to that of the upper flight c c. If the steps are ornamented, as at c, fig. 447, this has to follow the twist or curve of a, as shown at d.
The preceding remarks have been chiefly confined, at least so far as details are concerned, to wood staircases; although many of the terms apply equally to stone staircases, now to be described. A stone step is either "plain" or "spandrel;" fig. 452 shows these two kinds of steps, a being the "plain" step; the "spandrel" is at h f g, in place of the upper step, as b in the "plain" step, simply resting upon the lower step as a a, and near its outer edge, as shown in the spandrel step, the junction is made as at g. The upper and outer edge or " nosing" of the step is sometimes moulded, as at a. this being frequently retained in geometrical stairs at the ends, as at i i. Fig. 453 illustrates a flight of stone stairs from one landing a to another b, the steps in this case are spandrel steps. The part below the steps or soffit is finished off usually by a straight line, as c c; but for area stairs, the steps are supported on an arch, as d d, e e are the hand-rails. Stone staircases are often finished by mouldings on the part corresponding to the string board of a wooden stair, as a a in fig. 454, and finished with a stone balustrade, as at b b, with pedestal c c at the landings. This drawing is part of a very handsome staircase given in the Encyclopedia d' Architecture, published in Paris.
A stone staircase, as adapted for outer work, as harbours and the like, is illustrated in fig. 455, taken from a large illustration in L'Art de Batir. Fig. 456, elevation at A, part of a winding, or what is called popularly in some districts, a "corkscrew" staircase; a a the first landing, b b the second landing, c the first flight, d the second, c the steps, b the railings. In same figure, at B, the plan of a winding staircase, with newel a, round which the steps wind, and into which the narrow ends are housed, is illustrated; c is a landing at a door, a e the upper flight. In stairs of this kind all the stairs are "winders."