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Old 11-17-2010, 09:51 PM   #16
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Installing new stair baluster


Keith, you may be the person to answer this question, on a straight run with a 90 turn with winders and straight on up, the rail will not be just a curve but a dip curve and round over. What method do you use to figure and cut the wreath block in this situation. The drum method won't work here.

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Old 11-17-2010, 11:21 PM   #17
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I don't know if I'm quite the right person to answer your question. I've made wreathed fittings before but never had a request to do a winder. It is described in George Ellis's book on the Four Standard Prismatic Solids of handrails. My first thought would be to make it in two sections, breaking it on the middle of the radius in plan view. I'd have to do some reading first. What is your situation? I know some very good handrailers who I've turned to in the past. Between us I'm sure a drawing can be made to outline the fitting you need.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:19 AM   #18
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Installing new stair baluster


Keith, I am retired now but back when I was building and restoring the old antique homes I had to build two of these rails. I read everything I could get my hands on but there just wasn't enough time to go through the learning curve. I built the two rails and but I had to heat bend and laminate the wood to a template I built on the tread edges.

It took a month on one of the rails but it did turn out good. Profiling was a real trick with the 3 horse router though. I knew they cut a wreath block way back but I never did get the hang of it so I just continued to heat, bend and laminate which was way slow.

I did ask a fellow one time that was a stair man's stair man and he told me basically it had to be hand carved from a solid block. Well it is too late for me now as I am retired but I just thought maybe you might know how to cut the wreath blocks with a saw of some kind instead of by hand. You do pretty work that is for sure. Thanks anyway.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:33 AM   #19
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Installing new stair baluster


I do more curved work than winders and when I get a call for winders it is post to post. I would certainly like to get a job calling for one since I've never done one like that before. Yes, the fittings I do are carved from solid block. They are cut on a bandsaw. The process begins in plan view, then the elevation is determined from the rise and a pitch block is made to position for bandsawing. It is then a fair amount of power and hand carving.

I'll bet you were pretty happy when you finished that job and it turned out the way you wanted it to.


Here's a pic of one I just finished that are straight runs.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:57 AM   #20
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Those are some really nice fittings Keith, did you make the volute?

Yes I was glad to be through with that one rail, I felt like I was homesteading those stairs. When I took the rail off the form it may have sprung 1/4" if that, I was sure happy about that.

Making the profile on a round over was easy but when the rail dipped that was very nerve racking to say the least.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:13 PM   #21
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I mostly do custom work and so tend to make everything. Here are a couple of pics of the volute being made.
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:27 PM   #22
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Keith, I am sure glad I was never called on the make a monkey tail, they wouldn't have liked the price. My hats off to you for being able to make them, that has to be tough.
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Old 11-18-2010, 11:54 PM   #23
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Thanks, Those are fun to make and the price is certainly not for everyone. The one I'm finishing now has been a real bear. It is way over budget, but nearly completed.
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Old 11-19-2010, 12:01 AM   #24
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Installing new stair baluster


Man, that is one tight radius on that inside stringer, I'm glad that one is yours to do. I can just see the rail, you earned your money on that one.

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