There are situations where standard stairs nosing doesn’t fit nicely. The position or the required size or shape cannot be found for sale or the price is out of this world. This was the case in the situation described here. Hardwood was layed out and a piece of nosing was needed for the top of the stairs leading to the basement. The quoted price for the piece of nosing neded (32″) was around $120 plus applicable taxes and it seemed excessive.

On top of this the particular situation required a special shape for the nosing. as a result I made the decisoon to build the nosing out of two pieces of hardwood using a router.

  1. Measure the stair width
  2. Decide on how wide the nosing piece should be. Your decision will be influneced heavily by how wide is the hardwood you work with.
  3. Design the nosing. In this situation the nosing was created using two pieces of hardwood with rounded edges (using a router and 1/2″ bit)
  4. Prepare the stair for the nosing. In this case the edge was reinforced with a piece of wood screwed in position. The door jambs wer cut to the right size for the hardwood thickness.
  5. Chisel

  6. Measure and cut the hardwood for nosing (using a table saw)
  7. Using the router with a roundover bit make the rounded edges. There are few tips for creating a nice looking even rounded edge:
    • Router

    • Clamp or somehow fasten the hardwood piece to the workbench
    • Adjust the roundover bit’s position so it creates a rounded edge tangent to both surfaces. Test on a piece of scrap wood before doing the main job.
    • Hold the router firmly in place but don’t push down on it or you will get an uneven surface.
    • Push from the side so the bit cuts evenly on the whle lenght
    • Position your body in such a way to avoid stepping a lot while creating the rounded surface. Stepping will change the vertical and horizontal pressure on the router and you will end up with a less then perfect edge


  8. Test the nosing in position. In this situation I had to use a chisel and make room for the stair nosing
  9. Test

  10. Stain and varnish the rounded edge of the nosing
  11. Stain

  12. Install the stair nosing in position keeping in mind it has to be properly positioned for the join with the rest of the hardwood. In this case we wanted the piece of nosing perfectly perpendicular to the rest of the hardwood. You can adjust the position using shims.
  13. Router

  14. Repair the things you had to break to install the nosing. In this situation some wood filler and paint were required.
  15. Continue with the hard wood installation.
  16. Router

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