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Old 12-01-2010, 02:42 PM   #1
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Wooden Railing top question


I have Iron railings in my house and I would like to replace the railing top with the wooden ones that you find in the big box stores. Is there a way that I can buy the rail tops from the store and get some sort of router bit to route a channel in the railing in order for it to fit over the existing iron rail piece? Thanks a lot

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Old 12-01-2010, 06:26 PM   #2
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Wooden Railing top question


The short answer is probably yes.

Post a picture of your railings and what you want to put on top for a good response.

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Old 12-01-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
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Wooden Railing top question


Yes. Just make sure you have plenty of meat left on the wood rail after routing, so you have something to screw into from the underside of the metal rail
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:43 AM   #4
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Wooden Railing top question


Thanks. I have attached pics of my railing and the type I would like to install. I just called a pretty big lumber yard and the guy told me that he had no idea what I was talking about. Any idea where I can find a bit to route out a channel?
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Wooden Railing top question-photo.jpg   Wooden Railing top question-handrail_si13.jpg  
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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Wooden Railing top question


assuming it's a straight run of railing, why not run it thru a table saw a few times? Bits are expensive, you'll need a carbide tipped one and it'll probably burn up on you, or worse still, wander off and damage the rail.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:56 PM   #6
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Wooden Railing top question


they are mostly straight runs, however I do have one curved section that I may need to have custom-made, unless I can bend it somehow.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:58 PM   #7
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Wooden Railing top question


well good luck. It looks really nice
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:31 PM   #8
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Wooden Railing top question


I agree with using the table saw as much as possible, but, particularly with a curved section involved, you will more than likely need to come up with a combination of saw and router cuts to obtain the precise configuration that you will need. The set up is at least half of the fun, in my opinion, so it should be a great project. The only thing that I have to add is to be sure to check that the height of your rail will still be within code once you add the wood to it.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:35 PM   #9
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Wooden Railing top question


good point, thanks
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:21 PM   #10
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Wooden Railing top question


I don't understand the comment about the router bit burning up and running into the rail. I assume you are planning to purchase lengths of wooden rail, then rout or cut saw grooves in the wood when the wood is still detached from the metal rail.

If you purchase oak rail, a carbide tipped straight router bit will certainly not burn up, I rout oak routinely with up to 3/4 inch diameter bits, no problem. In your case, it would be easiest to use a router table, and approximately a 1/2 inch diameter router bit. Set the fence on the table, and make several passes to achieve the required width, which looks like it might be approximately 1-1/2 inches. Set the depth so the wood covers the metal adequately. Then screw up through the metal into the wood.

You can certainly accomplish the same thing with a table saw and dado blades, and you can also do it one cut at a time with a single blade, but it will be slow. My choice would be the router table.
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Old 12-02-2010, 04:30 PM   #11
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Wooden Railing top question


Yeah, I figured that the router would be the best bet too. Thanks a lot.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:06 PM   #12
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Wooden Railing top question


Quote:
Originally Posted by joeg679 View Post
I have Iron railings in my house and I would like to replace the railing top with the wooden ones that you find in the big box stores. Is there a way that I can buy the rail tops from the store and get some sort of router bit to route a channel in the railing in order for it to fit over the existing iron rail piece? Thanks a lot
I have built and installed over iron rails as you want to do and it isn't that hard just a little time consuming. The hardest part was cutting out for the goosnecks, turns and monkey tails (fittings). We used a table saw, hand held router and a chisel. Cut all your parts and fit before connecting them all together. We drilled holes through the iron rail for the screws before we started with the wood.

It helped to screw the fittings in place on the iron rail and fit the straight runs to them, then take all apart and final glue and fasten together. We mortised in just far enough for the bottom of the iron rail to be flush with the bottom of the wood rail. Cut it tight and it will look good from the bottom looking up also. One word of caution, some fittings have metal fasteners from the bottom into their joints so watch out for them when mortising.
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Old 12-02-2010, 05:11 PM   #13
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Wooden Railing top question


I agree on the router table, just do mock up with a piece of scrap a foot or so long before you commit to the rest.

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