1. Cooper built drums.
  2. Ply laminated drums.
  3. false drums.

Cooper built drums.

In most historic staircases the corners would have been created by creating “drums” these stringer and landing drums would have been made by glueing timber staves together as would have been used in making wooden casks, buckets, barrels and other similar containers.

The drums are styled on how a Cooper would have normally built these stave constructed drums. Hence, cooper built drum.

The main difference is that the visible or concave side of these generally quadrant or semi circular sections would be face finished with a thin ply layer.

This would provide a face finish helped hold the staves together with the added bonus of a smooth surface that could be decorated.

The back of the drum with the carriages either side.
The back of the drum with the carriages on either side.

How to make two separate flights, look continuous.

  1. Before flights and landings are set in place.
  2. Retrofit after flights and landings are set in place.

When the staircases have not been designed as one single staircase but a number of separate flights, it is possible to fit fake stringer drums and landing nosings to give the impression of the flights having been installed as one.

This is not always possible and will depend on whether the flights have been fitted or not when fitted if you have access to the underside of the flights above the plaster line.

Many times when the flights have been incorrectly designed the bottom tread sits on the landing and not in front of it.

1. Before flights and landings are set in place.

When and why?

When the staircase has not been designed as one and the flights are just straight flights with no connecting drums.

When this is the case, it is possible to set the flights in a position, that will allow for fake drums to be fitted between the stringers, giving the illusion of a correctly set out staircase.

When setting the spacing between the stringers or the stringer and landing fascias the handrail flow required will assist in getting the distance between the spindle or handrail support centre lines.

Read more about the spacing between spindles Here.

Read more about the handrail flow around corners


Quick tip.

Handrail levels in turn.

Distance between handrail centre lines = 1 going

The handrail stays at the same pitch as flights through the turn.

Distance between handrail centre lines = 1/2 going.

Half a going through turn.
Using half a going as the handrail offset will maintain the pitch from the flights through the turns.

The parts needed.

To be able to fake the 180º stringer drum, the two main parts required will be the drum; which will need to be long enough to reach from the bottom of the lower string to the top of the first riser on the upper stringer and the landing nosing that will need to incorporate the shape of the new drum.

stringer turn parts.
stringer turn parts.

Trimmer make up.

There are two ways for the trimmers to allow for the drums at the top or bottom of the flights to be set into the landing area.

  1. Is to use carriages as described above to support the flights and to allow the end risers to be positioned away from the trimmers, allowing room outside of them for the drums.
  2. Is to cantilever an extension in front of the trimmers that the flights are fitted to. To allow space for the drum outside of the flight area. This will let the straight flights lean against or be set upon the projected section of the landing trimmer.

Different angle views of the staircase carriage and how it meets the landing leaving space for the drum.
Trimmer position 1

Riser positions.

The risers will need to be set away from the main trimmer with enough space to allow for the drum.

The drum will be between 1/2 a going and a full going in radius plus the thickness of the drum. this will normally equate to the face of the risers being between 200 and carry on working on this bit

Drum springing line.

The drum springing point or the point from which the drum starts turning will be in line with the riser faces.