Archive for July, 2018

Ship’s Ladder Stairway Solution

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Tucked away on the piney shores of Lake Vermilion is a family cabin with a design issue. The owners were frustrated by a steep stairway, reminiscent of a ladder to a sleeping loft. The  handholds were inadequate and had a tendency to give one splinters.

Ship's Ladder Stairway Solution

The nearly vertical incline of the staircase reminds one of a ship's ladder.

Custom Design, Custom Solutions

At Meteek our goal is to provide custom design solutions that not only fit your life, but that fit challenging spaces as well. We had a great time finding solutions to this ladder-like stairway. We refitted the stringers with new treads and created a double railing based on the design of a ship’s ladder stairway (click here for more on ships and railings!).

Ship's Ladder Stairway Solution

Durability, sleek design and safety—a winning combination.

Andy removed the original stairway, brought it back to Meteek and performed a few wonders. He replaced the stringers and removed the cleats beneath the stairs, creating a splinter-free zone. The steps themselves are durable Richlite. Handholds cut at the front of each stair make it an easy climb for children.

Ship's Ladder Stairway Solution

Handholds cut at the front of each stair make it an easy climb for children.

Prefabbing Perfection

Meteek’s Andy Hoffman is a wizard when it comes to creating custom pieces. After carefully measuring the space, Andy crafted each piece in our shop and built the railings with all the twists and turns necessary for the small space. He transported the pieces back to the site and expertly assembled them to fit the of the upper railing. Brilliant!

Ship's Ladder Stairway Solution

Meteek's precision prefabbing wizard Andy Hoffman welding an aluminum framework in the shop.

Ship’s Ladder Stairway Solution

Andy crafts the prefabbed pieces so they fit perfectly on site around this tight corner!

Ship’s Ladder Stairway Solution

Just look at these sleek fittings!

The fittings are modified sleek and durable stainless steel hardware from Q-railing. The nearly vertical railing attaches securely to the second-floor railing with cable infill, so you can make a safe transition on and off the stairs.

Ship’s Ladder Stairway Solution

A beautiful combination of contemporary and rustic elements make this staircase stylish and safe.

You can read more about Andy's precision prefabbing magic here, here and here.

Richlite: Superstrengthified Paper

Richlite is an incredibly durable, extremely versatile and highly sustainable material made from resin-infused paper. Yes, it’s superstrengthified paper! It was originally developed over 70 years ago for industrial tooling and pattern making. Today, its applications are impressively diverse. Richlite is a premium surface material. Some of it's applications are in the aerospace, marine, action sports, culinary, architecture, and design industries. Machine shops and automotive manufacturers also use Richlite.

Handmade from many layers of high quality custom craft paper, Richlite’s surface texture comes from the natural variation in the way fibers lay within the paper. We appreciate that it contains 65% FSC®-certified or recycled paper. The remaining 35% is phenolic resin. Richlite’s color comes from a combination of the paper and the tone of the resin. Richlite performs similarly to a dense hardwood.

Ship's Ladder Stairway Solution

A challenging space, innovative materials, and precision prefabbing... at Meteek, we construct the elements that express the uniqueness of your endeavors. Call us today—we are excited to hear from you!




Discovering Squared Logs in Gnesen Township

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We have an exciting house addition project this summer in Gnesen Township, a lovely community north of Duluth. Polish homesteaders founded the township in 1850; and the name Gnesen came from a town in Poland – Gnesena, which means “the nesting place”.

Our addition project is nestled amidst the rolling hills and dancing woods along the Lester River. Originally constructed as a barn, the structure was purchased in 1917 and transformed into a house. Once we removed the siding from the house, we found quite the surprise underneath: squared log construction!

Squared Log Construction

Here's a look at the addition as it begins to take shape.


Squared Log Contruction

We removed the siding to reveal the original squared log construction underneath!

A little bit of history in our own backyard

Some log structures were made with round logs, not the squared or “hewn” variety. This is mainly because hewing the logs takes extra work; homesteaders constructed log homes quickly for shelter in the frontier. At first, Pioneer builders could pick the best logs, which were selected from older trees with minimal limbs and fairly straight lines. These logs fit together well and didn’t need to be hewn.

And then there's the hewn log…

Homesteaders built hewn log cabins or squared log cabins once a primary residence was already in place. Valued for their superior insulation through a tighter log fit, hewn log cabins also became a necessity when the first settlers used up all the ideal round logs.

Squared log construction

Detail of the squared logs – virtually a horizontal stack, with dovetailed notches.

Round log cabins required notching and left comparatively large gaps. But hewn log structures use a nearly horizontal stack. Squared log structures are secured by having every other log extend beyond the corner, which locks the logs together with large dovetails at the corners.

Views from a lovely nest

And here is the view from this lovely new nest in Gnesen Township! The large rectangular opening is one of the windows through which the rolling hills and dancing trees will be visible.

Squared Log Construction

Rolling hills and dancing trees: the view from the windows of the addition.


Sqared Log Construction

Dragon's Mouth Orchids (Arethusa bulbosa) and bog rosemary (Andrometa polifolia) near the construction site.

We look forward to sharing more as the project develops!

Are you ready for an addition or remodel project? Call us at 218.722.7599 and we can discuss your dreams and ideas for your own perfect nest!