Knoxville company's spiral staircases popular around the world

Knoxville company's spiral staircases popular around the world

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Precision Pine Inc.'s staircases are in all 50 states, along with Canada and the Caribbean. Precision Pine Inc.'s staircases are in all 50 states, along with Canada and the Caribbean.
A massive cylinder helps mold and shape the stair railings. A massive cylinder helps mold and shape the stair railings.
Plenty of personal attention is paid to each item. Plenty of personal attention is paid to each item.

By KRISTIN FARLEY 
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Spiral staircases are an architectural focal point in many homes, and a South Knoxville company has made thousands of them over the years.

In fact, Precision Pine Inc.'s staircases are in all 50 states, along with Canada and the Caribbean.

"We started the business in 1991 and by 1994, we did sell our first spiral," said company owner and President Tom Garber. "At that point, we had our design down and we made a more sturdy spiral and we were able to patent the design."

Garber says when he started the company he focused on log home siding, but after several requests to make spiral staircases that just seemed the way to go. 

His engineering background helped make the design aspect possible. Garber designed some of the tools still used today, including one massive cylinder that helps mold and shape the stair railings.

While Made in Tennessee toured the factory, we spoke with plant manager Les Bischoff, who explained why Precision Pine takes the extra step to kiln dry their wood for nearly two days before getting started. "If the wood is not dried right, it has a tendency to warp, split or crack," he said.

After the wooden boards are dried, they're broken down and then small pieces are glued together to make a new board. This process adds to the wood's durability.

Then each newly formed board is prepped. It goes through a jointer and a planer, then it's precisely cut on a CNC router. From there, the boards are sanded down.

All this is done on very loud machines that often require the workers to wear earplugs. But don't be fooled. Plenty of personal attention is paid to each item, and some things like the center column and the railing are done almost completely by hand.

"Quality is our number one job here," Bischoff said. "Ford is quality is number one, same here at Precision Pine. If you would not put them in your home, don't put it in a customer's product."

The stairs are shipped off in custom made kits, and assembled and installed by the homeowner or builder.

However, design manager Heather Howell assured us they can walk anyone through the process of putting their product together. "The stairs are very straight forward as far as the instructions manual goes. Plus we are here when whenever they call in," she said.

Howell helps get the right dimensions for each project and works closely with the customers.

In the end, she often forms a personal relationship with homeowners and loves to know how the custom built stairs are working in their space. "I want to see every stair that goes up. The fact is, we get photos from a lot of our customers," she said.

If a customer isn't satisfied for some reason, Precision Pine offers a money back guarantee. They're also expanding into other wood products, including chairs and climbing towers for cats.

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