Steambent Staircase Bannister

The next project I’m working on with Charlie Whinney is a steam bent oak staircase banister. Three 200mm wide strips will curl their way up the three flights of stairs replacing the existing boring straight pine version. The model shows the position of each piece of wood and it’s relation to the steps. This needs to be reproduced accurately at full-scale in order to fit the space and tie in with the existing banister supports.

First job is to create a former to bend the oak around from the model and measurements taken from the site. The former needs to accurately represent the structure, leave space to work and bend the oak around it and be strong enough to withstand the forces that it will be subjected to during the process. My completed form is 11m long, made of rough cut pine and looks like art in itself – certainly not a staircase yet.
The oak has been sourced and sawn locally and bending is due to start next week, should be an exciting time.

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