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stubborn1 08-16-2009 09:46 PM

Stair railing help
 
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I'll be attempting to finish off a L shaped stair in the next few weeks and I have a few questions. I haven't decided on a baluster yet, but if I choose a pin top baluster, how do I pre-drill the holes on the bottom side of the railing and hit the correct angle? I know I could swing it on a straight section, but are there any hints or tricks for drilling on the angle of the stairs. For the connection at the bottom, am I okay shooting a finish nail through into my trim board on the knee wall? The wood will be painted, so I can patch a few holes.

NailedIt 08-16-2009 11:12 PM

I'm not a finish carpenter, per se, firstly. You need to determine the angle of your stairs which can be done in several ways. An angle-finder resting atop the down-sloped knee-wall (or a straight-edge spanning the front of the treads) checked in several locations would do it, or you could use a framing square and a level to accomplish the same thing.

I bet there are trim-carpenters that would pin the balusters with trim nails, but personally I'd go with trim-head screws. The balustrades I've built have all been on decks, docks, etc... but in any case they are subject to getting kicked or bumped into and I think a heavier connection initially would be better than repairing a lighter connection in the future.

Gary in WA 08-17-2009 01:08 AM

Some help with codes: http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf
Sort through these for some excellent reading and tips: http://books.google.com/books?ei=8h0...tairs&as_brr=3
Does your middle landing post line-up with the lower wall, or did someone drywall the short end behind the up side of said post? Or, is it ant optical illusion? Be safe, G

47_47 08-17-2009 07:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stubborn1 (Post 315384)
but if I choose a pin top baluster, how do I pre-drill the holes on the bottom side of the railing and hit the correct angle? I know I could swing it on a straight section, but are there any hints or tricks for drilling on the angle of the stairs.

Use a pitch block, angled drill guide or place the rail bottom side up and bottom end up on the stairs. Drill your holes vertically.

Here's a good handrail installation manual, but pay attention to the spacing.

http://www.ljsmith.net/pdfs/EnglishInstallation.pdf

stubborn1 08-17-2009 07:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GBAR in WA (Post 315448)
Some help with codes: http://www.stairways.org/pdf/2006%20...C%20SCREEN.pdf
Sort through these for some excellent reading and tips: http://books.google.com/books?ei=8h0...tairs&as_brr=3
Does your middle landing post line-up with the lower wall, or did someone drywall the short end behind the up side of said post? Or, is it ant optical illusion? Be safe, G


I think it may be an optical illusion - my landing post is centered on both knee walls.

Thanks for the links

stubborn1 08-17-2009 07:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 47_47 (Post 315484)
Use a pitch block, angled drill guide or place the rail bottom side up and bottom end up on the stairs. Drill your holes vertically.

Here's a good handrail installation manual, but pay attention to the spacing.

http://www.ljsmith.net/pdfs/EnglishInstallation.pdf


Thanks - the angled drill guide is what I was missing in my mind. Looks like a jig is the easiest way to get consistent holes for the balusters.

NailedIt 08-17-2009 10:21 PM

Drat... I thought I had included an attachment pic of an angled drill guide from Rockler and a pic of the Johnson angle finder.

beerdog 08-17-2009 10:21 PM

I made a jig out of wood and it worked perfect. I made the block the same width as the bottom of the rail. Then drilled a hole to match the pin top diameter through the center of block. Then cut the block at an angle to match the stair pitch. This will allow you to lay the rail on the ground and drill it at the perfect angle. I also added some small pieces of wood to the sides to prevent any side to side movement. I would post a picture but I can not find it.

Some books show the carpenter laying the railing top side down across the stairs and then eyeballing a vertical drill. I am sure this method is pretty acurate and works just fine if you do it every day.

LJ Smith sells an 800$ drill guide specifically for this, but that is a BIT too much for one stair. But it gave me the basic idea on how to make a workable jig.


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