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Old 07-21-2009, 05:38 PM   #1
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


I would love to satisfy my wife's wish to enhance our old iron stair railing with an Oak hand rail over the existing iron hand rail held in place with screws up through drilled holes in the iron rail. Is this something that is done? What is involved? My guess is to do it nicely might require channeling out the underside of suitable solid oak hand rail with the channel closely approximating the contour of the iron top's detail which has a typical looking domed center with a couple of rounded little steps on each side. My guess is that such an inlet might be machined into the oak rail underside with something like a special dado set? or multiple passes with various router bits? Obviously by my terminology use and or misuse I am not a wood guy which is why I am here asking after all! Now I can do a fair job with a combo miter saw and I feel I could cut and fit the several pieces of cap required with some amount of confidence. The stairs are in tract home two story, with two flights separated by a double landing which have the first section starting one direction ending on one landing and the second section continuing in the opposite direction off the landing adjacent to the first (which also act as two more stair treads in effect) if any of that makes sense. The stair railings are actually two separate railings as the stair walls negate the need for railing around the inside portions of the landing areas. Bottom line is that it would require 7 individual pieces of "cap" to create an oak handrail. I don't see a way to post a photo or I would. Any ideas? Suggestions? Web sites showing how to? Vendors selling pre-made cap FOR my existing railing??? (that would too much to hope for!) Thanks in advance for any help, so far I can find nothing addressing this need anywhere!

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Last edited by dougworm; 07-21-2009 at 05:39 PM. Reason: spelling grammer
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Old 07-26-2009, 11:01 PM   #2
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


This seems to me to be an exercise in futility. Handrails are a fairly sofisicated finish carpentry skill set. Piggy backing a wood rail over a metal one is just raising the bar higher.
I don't see a successful end to this endeavor. The metal railing is going to be, what, 1 1/2" wide or more. How wide is this wood railing going to be, to be able to receive this railing into it and still have any meat on the sides?
An alternative, if the baluster tops are round, would be to cut off the metal railing and replacing it with wood. Drill receiving holes for the balusters and epoxy them into the railing.
Is this in your skill set? If not, find another way to keep her happy.
If it is, give it a shot
Ron

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Old 07-27-2009, 12:23 AM   #3
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


I see no benifit to the approach you mention. I am sure it is possible but probably more work. The right way is to remove the iron railing and install the oak hand rail on railing brackets. It is not too difficult depending on your skill set. There are alott of resources on the web about installing handrail and ballustrade. You can also visit most big home centers. They all sell oak handrail parts and have free brochures on the procedure. Or get a book on building stairs or finish carpentry at the library. Either way will give you an idea if it is too much to takle. If it is just a handrail then that is nt too hard, but still not simple. If you need to install ballusters and newells then you are entering a more advanced relm of carpentry. All the cuts MUST be precise so everything fits together nice. Read up on it. MAy also be worth get an estimate from a stair carpenter.
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Old 07-27-2009, 12:53 AM   #4
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


Not a strange idea at all...

Several millwork companies in my area manufacture and stock handrail profiles to do exactly what you described. They're simply screwed in place with the screw running up vertically through the iron top cap into the wood.

As previously mentioned, the width of your iron rail's top cap could be a factor. Also, if the top cap isn't reasonably flat and rectangular I'd abort the mission!

Here's an example...

And another...


And another...


Not sure why the top two pics appear to be two pieces. Maybe they are for some reason but that certainly wouldn't be necessary.

If you have access to a router table you could certainly buy the handrail profile of your liking and do as you described with router bits. A stack dado on a table saw would work well, but could be unsafe to mill if the moulding isn't really flat on the bottom and also makes good contact with the fence.

Just be sure that you don't make that handrail too tall by the addition of the cap.
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


a building my friend own has exactly that. wooden handrail over a metal rail with metal balusters. it was built in the 1920's. how old is the house. in some older houses the railing was a little lower then what the code requires nowadays so raising it up shouldnt matter much. how high is the top of the railing from the front of the tread?
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Old 05-03-2011, 03:58 PM   #6
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


did you notice how old the post was you replied to?
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:51 PM   #7
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


Hey guys I just wanted to chime in hear about fabricating custom stair raiings by recycling existing wrought iron work and re-using it with new oak posts - hand rails.

I posted about year ago in regards to this project per below link and never heard back from anybody but decided to proceed with trying to make this project work....

Well here it is over a year later and I'm still working on this project nearing success of completion. Reason it's taken so long is because other parts of the whole project took precedent over the railing project plus I work M-F 50-60 hours not leaving much extra time for home projects.

To date I have about 50-60 hours into this project including designing, mounting unfinished posts to determine the finished iron work dimensions, iron work cutting and fabricating and a complete dry run of all the unfinished wood posts/handrails and unfinished iron work.
This does not include the 8 hours of a co-worker helping me with the iron work and the time my wife has to spend yet the wood stain finishing/clear coating. My best guess is by the time this project is complete most likely mid-June we'll probably have 100 plus hours into it overall however I think the results are going to be worth the wait. I will post pictures once it's complete.

So here's the advice for those who are thinking about taking on a project like this.

If you have the talent, tools, time, patience and resources and want to save yourself $$$ I'd say go for it, but if you're all about quick painless results and would like to have it completed in a realistic time I'd suggest paying a professional to build your custom stair railings.

By the way one quick note on money saved vs. the cost of the project quoted by professional contractors.

I originally estimated $ 2500.00 to $ 3500.00 for a contractor to complete this project.
Well I received two actual quotes of $ 3800.00 to $ 4400.00 from professional stair/iron work contractors.
Overall once I'm complete figuring my/others overall time of 100 hours @ $ 15.00/hour of novice labor equaling $ 1500.00 and the material estimate of around $ 1200.00 the overall savings end up being between $ 1100.00 to 1700.00......

See U all in June with pictures STS Rock On! \M/ \M/

http://www.diychatroom.com/search.php?searchid=2045390
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:54 PM   #8
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


Oh yeah here's the link from my original DIY post from last year showing the original post/pictures before starting the project Thx, STS

http://www.diychatroom.com/search.php?searchid=2045390

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Old 05-03-2011, 06:54 PM   #9
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Oak hand rail on existing iron stair railing


Oh yeah here's the link from my original DIY post from last year showing the original post/pictures before starting the project Thx, STS

http://www.diychatroom.com/search.php?searchid=2045390

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