Solid oak staircase with a cut string.

Solid oak staircase, balustrades and gallery with all features turned in a traditional finish.
This traditional style solid oak staircase has recently been installed in a new build property.

Oak staircase

Solid oak with cut string

Although the installation is complete the timber has yet to receive a treatment of wood oil or light varnish so the wood is in its natural state. Most staircases, after installation, are treated with either a light wood oil or varnish to preserve the timber. This one is in its untreated state.

Rising from a sea of marble tiles this solid oak staircase presents a dramatic contrast to its contemporary surroundings.

Nearly all of this particular staircase is built of solid oak. but a few parts, the newel posts, are of engineered timber.

What is engineered timber?

By gluing together several pieces of timber that might otherwise be wasted, engineered wood is a cost effective use of an expensive resource.

There is no difference between English and European Oak they are in fact the same species.

Although similar the European Oak is a different species to the American oak and there are subtle but noticeable differences.

Oak trees readily hybridise and there are many species of oak tree found over the world but the one we are concerned with is Quercus Alba the American White Oak which looks quite similar to the European oak trees.

One of the most noticeable differences between our native oak and the American White Oak is the colour. European oak tends to be a warm honey colour whereas its American cousin is a bit lighter and often has pinkish tones.

As with any natural product there is variation in the appearance of the timber.

We have noticed that he European Oak tends to be more even in grain and consistent in colour. There does seem to be more variation in American Oak especially with regard to its grain pattern which appears slightly more open than its cousins.

However we have no hesitation in recommending either of them for internal use as they both produce strong durable staircases.

If you want more information about staircases why not visit our website

By Mike Edwards


Oak and glass staricases with rebated glass features.

A sympathetic refurbishment of an old barn required a feature staircase that was functional, beautiful but did not dominate the light airy space in which it was located.

This was our solution. An Oak and Glass construction where the hidden elements, which are carpeted, are of a softwood and the visual elements such as the entry step and balustrade assembly are of oak.

By using cheaper timber for the unseen parts of the staircase the overall cost can be reduced.

In order to keep the design to a clean looking minimalist feel the glass has been rebated directly into the balustrade and string assembly. This means there are no clamps holding the glass in place and thus a reduction in visual clutter.

Go to our main site to see an extensive gallery of beautiful bespoke staircases.



Oak Cut String with Glass Balustrade

An imaginative use of a cut string oak staircase. A cut string is where the string is cut to match the profile of the steps to give the distinctive side view. By utilising glass in an imaginative manner a light airy feel is achieved in this imaginative refurbishment.





This refurbishment project showcases the flexibility, in a design context, of oak staircases. They can look equally at home in a more traditional context or as in this example a contemporary setting, albeit a sympathetic blend of old and new. For more information on our staircases why not visit our website.

Birth of a staircase

I guess the birth of a timber staircase starts when a shoot pushes through the earth. In this case I am talking about a before and after set of photographs.

Although we make thousands of staircases it is something we rarely get the opportunity to do. Generally speaking when a staircase has been pre assembled in our workshop it tends to be shipped out to the customer, as soon as possible.

On this occasion the customers build has been delayed giving us the opportunity to photograph what is an unusual staircase. Hopefully when it is complete and installed it will look exceptional.

An oak staircase under construction

Oak winder with softwood components

Oak and softwood winder closer view

Oak and softwood winder closer view

What you are seeing is a mix of softwood (the treads) MDF – medium density fibre board – (the risers) and oak for the strings and entry steps. This particular staircase is going to incorporate chrome fittings and a glass balustrade. Can’t wait to see that!

So for the moment take a look at this photograph and await with interest the finished article which I will post when it is complete.

For more information on our staircases visit our website.

How to care for your oak staircase

Even though there are European and North American plantations of oak trees it is still a  relatively scarce resource and as demand continues to rise so will the price.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to look after your expensive feature staircase and occasional give it a little bit of love and care. Equally you could just ignore it and although it might not look as good as one that has received  TLC it will still last longer than you.

I am often asked about caring for timber staircases especially the hardwood stairs so I have written some pointers that will assist you. Mike Edwards of JTS Staircases LTd

Oak is definitely a timber that is that should be left unpainted and arguably unstained given that attractiveness of an oak staircase is in the grain and natural colour of the wood.

Let’s face it Oak is not cheap so why would you want to cover it up?
Be cautious if you are contemplating of staining any wood, once you have committed to a colour selection, aside from re painting over, that is the colour you will have to live with. You can put it on but you can’t take it off.

Oak staircase

Solid oak with cut string

Caring for an Oak Staircase and other Hardwoods

If your oak staircase is completely new and only recently fitted you will have to oil it as soon as possible. Use a natural wood oil, linseed oil is the most common, some contain a stain so verify that you are using a clear oil. If left untreated the timber will gradually darken naturally but without any protective coating any liquid that comes into contact with the wood will sink into the grain, and be visible forever.
You can obtain wood oil at most major DIY stores. All you need to do is apply evenly with cotton wool and gently rub over all the surfaces. As soon as the first coat has dried apply another. That’s all you have to do, except for a regular wipe down employing a soft damp cloth.
If the wood looks a dry over time of time just reapply some wood oil to bring it back to life.
Should you must use varnish consider modern water based clear varnish. These are very hardwearing, will protect the wood and could be sanded off at a later date if needed.
As a rule whatever protective system you decide it is strongly recommended much better to select either a neutral finish or possibly light stain. An Oak staircase that only has a neutral oil finish will age towards a beautiful warm honey colour.
place a dark wood stain or varnish if you are absolutely sure that’s exactly what you would like or maybe you will finish up with the “Victorian Look” often Victorian woodwork is beautiful but is practically always ruined by darkish brown stains.
The true beauty for the majority of hardwood staircases is definitely the wood itself exactly why would someone hide it?


Clear up spills immediately, if you have only stained or oiled your staircase the timber continues to be porous if left for any length of time spilt liquids will stain the wood. In the event you have applied just a couple coats of polyurethane varnish you don’t need to react as quickly as The ideaof the varnish is to produce a protective film over the wood.
Light stains
can be taken off by sanding back the wood to some degree yet, in the specific situation of heavy staining in which the liquid has penetrated the grain this will not be possible.
 the end of end of the day it is not very hard, staircases are generally not challenging to maintain they just need occasional TLC., If you think your staircase will probably suffer some heavy wear and tear I would personally consider a natural (no colour) varnish. If having said that you prefer a somewhat more natural feel for your special staircase choose wood oil.

Hope this helps for additional information about staircases click here

JTS Staircases

Hopefully over the coming months you will be able to find useful information about staircases. You could check out our site to see what is on offer.

This will be of use to people who are planning a new home or refurbishment.Here are a few terms for the absolute beginner.