Q. Steve asks: We've put laminate flooring in the living-dining area. I have located replacement stair treads (oak) and have cut them to length, finished and varnished them. The stringer is routed for the treads and risers. The treads and risers are installed from underneath. The underneath area of the staircase is accessed from within our shop area. I can access four of the five steps and treads. I anticipate the fifth will be cut out in pieces because it is not accessible from below (due to finished wall that encloses the shop).
I anticipate the sequence will be as follows: remove old wedges from risers, remove risers, remove wedges from tread and remove tread. I was thinking (dangerous I know) that the risers could be spared, but the more I look and ponder, I anticipate that even the tread will be difficult to remove. Any easy way to remove wedges or shims to make the replacement process easier?
A. Sometimes a project seems so complicated we tend to overlook the simplest alternatives. Getting out old hardwood wedges with a chisel can be a bear, especially if the area is tight. You need "little" here -- not "big."
Try a miniature drill motor. Several companies make really good ones for use in crafts and model building. You probably can pick one up with many attachments for under $40. Once you own one, you and your family will fight over who gets it next. Use a tiny grinding tip or an emery wheel. It acts just like a tiny reciprocating saw.
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