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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I have been building my deck for a good while now. I am trying to put the middle section of the railing up. The stuff under the handrail but above the decking. Sorry don't know the terminology. But I have been struggling to find the correct angles for this section.

I have attached an image that will show you better than what I could ever explain it. I just need to know how to find the angles of each end of my boards. I have cut many pieces of wood trying to get this correct, but I am running out of wood and patients and just need some advice please. I have been using my square to try and get the angle.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, have a good one.

Jack
 

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So the picture is from someone else's deck, maybe off the 'net, and you want to duplicate it? It looks like that one was intended to be all 45's and 90's, but has some alignment issues. If the posts are all spaced evenly, you could take the inside dimension of them, then measure down from the top rail to determine where the top of the bottom rail would be positioned. That would give you squares to work with, and you would use all 45's and 90's. Otherwise, if the spacing between posts will be different than the spacing between the rails, making a rectangle, hold a board diagonally, corner to corner, mark and cut it, make sure it fits, then you use a protractor to get your angles. The angle where they hit the rails and the angles that hit the posts will add up to 90, so if one is say 52 degrees, the other will be 38 degrees, but the butt ends will remain 90.
 

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The pieces are probably to far apart to meet code. Certainly around us the railing components need to close enough that an infant child can get their head between the balusters and the posts. The minimum code is 4 inches but maybe smaller in some jurisdictions( 3 inches in mine)


I am no carpenter but I think either a scale drawing that you measure the angles and transfer to the stock or very precise measuring .
 

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Not sure you want to duplicate that type of design. I don't know if there is a building code where you are, but most deck codes require that the guard rail bars be designed so that a four inch diameter sphere cannot fit through. This is to protect against small children getting their heads wedged in the bars, which can cause catastrophic injury. From the picture, it looks like the design you showed would not meet the four inch test.

You may want to consider using aluminum bars spaced 4 inches on center, there are numerous manufacturers (Deckorators is commonly sold at big box stores).
 

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Take a piece of wood and layup against the posts where it needs to go uncut. Then scribe the angle on the back of the wood. Now you can measure the angle or set a T-bevel.

Would not meet code here either. Too many horizontal pieces. A child could climb it and fall over the top.
 

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Agreed on the spacing. Was trying to figure how to explain the angles, not sure if it made sense or not, but then forgot to mention that you probably will want to at least do a sketch first because it is definitely going to be busy with the required spacing. I did a few similar one a couple of years ago, and they came out nice and were approved, but I did talk them into cutting back quite a bit, so we did something like this on I think it was every fourth or fifth section, accents if you will, with conventional vertical rails on the balance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Ok, ok, ok. Got it about the code. I will move the boards closer together. That is a picture of my deck that I have been building. I have never checked to see what the code was, I just happened to see a picture on the internet with a design similar, so I figured I would try and emulate it. But it has been much tougher on this green under the collar guy. I do appreciate the quick responses and it has given my pea sized brain something else that is useful.

While I am at it, I might as well ask about making the perfect compound miter cut. My handrail is 11.5 inches wide and I am meeting them with a 45 degree bevel and then on the corners a 45 degree beveled miter cut. But my pieces aren't matching up on the corners. I am coming up with one cut longer then the other. In other words, one piece sticks out further then the other cut angled piece.

Thanks guys and I am about to find the code for Arkansas and see what I need to do to amend my deck.

Jack
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So the picture is from someone else's deck, maybe off the 'net, and you want to duplicate it? It looks like that one was intended to be all 45's and 90's, but has some alignment issues. If the posts are all spaced evenly, you could take the inside dimension of them, then measure down from the top rail to determine where the top of the bottom rail would be positioned. That would give you squares to work with, and you would use all 45's and 90's. Otherwise, if the spacing between posts will be different than the spacing between the rails, making a rectangle, hold a board diagonally, corner to corner, mark and cut it, make sure it fits, then you use a protractor to get your angles. The angle where they hit the rails and the angles that hit the posts will add up to 90, so if one is say 52 degrees, the other will be 38 degrees, but the butt ends will remain 90.
Unfortunately the post are not all lined up the same distance apart. The main post are, but in between every main post I put up a 4x4 for my own pleasure after the deck had been decked. So the ones I put in after the fact, are not evenly spaced because some fell on joist so I moved the 4x4 to accommodate the joist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Agreed on the spacing. Was trying to figure how to explain the angles, not sure if it made sense or not, but then forgot to mention that you probably will want to at least do a sketch first because it is definitely going to be busy with the required spacing. I did a few similar one a couple of years ago, and they came out nice and were approved, but I did talk them into cutting back quite a bit, so we did something like this on I think it was every fourth or fifth section, accents if you will, with conventional vertical rails on the balance.
Dexter,

Yes the one I found on the internet was like this, and every fourth section it had vertical rails. Thanks for the info.
 

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not just the spacing is a major thing but technically all guard rails have to be designed in a manner that they cant act as a ladder which a child could climb up onto the top rail and fall over the side...

as for the layout.. the long continious peice is in the wrong spot.. it should go corner to corner first off then the secondary pc does the same thing going in opposite direction.. from there its broken down into thirds.. the angle will vary depending on the size of each opening between posts
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
not just the spacing is a major thing but technically all guard rails have to be designed in a manner that they cant act as a ladder which a child could climb up onto the top rail and fall over the side...

as for the layout.. the long continious peice is in the wrong spot.. it should go corner to corner first off then the secondary pc does the same thing going in opposite direction.. from there its broken down into thirds.. the angle will vary depending on the size of each opening between posts
Woodworkbykirk,

What do you mean its in the wrong spot? The long piece running from the right top to the bottom left is one piece. The next section on either side the long piece would be the opposite corners. As for the secondary piece are saying that it needs to be one continuous piece as well? I had tried that and tried cutting notches out but I could never get them to meet in the middle correctly.

As for the code issue, it is an issue. Arkansas goes by the same code as most of you all have stated. 4 inch is the max. I haven't ever evening made contact with the building code folks. There use to be a deck there when I bought the house and the deck was so run down, I just tore it down and began rebuilding it.

Jack
 

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Just a fiy comment. I have removed a couple of decks with other than standard vertical spindles and that pressure treated woof basically falls apart after a couple of years. Shrinkage and exposure to many cut ends allows moisture to get in and far too quickly they become an eyesore.

I'm sure if you do some searching you can find other innovative approaches that avoid all of the code issues and safety issues mentioned and still put a smile on your face.

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Bud,

That would be nice and all, but the thing is I have already started this thing. Its about a 1/3 of the way done with the spindle or ballast section. I don't want to rip it all up. I mean I have literally been building this deck for a year now. I just want to finish it and move on.
 

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bottom right corner piece isnt running inline to continue up to top left corner.. then the top left corner piece isnt inline at the center and it doenst termniate in the top left corner.. off set to the right.. if you run a straight edge from corner to corner those pieces should be directly in line however yours are way off. for future reference lay everything out first then cut your pieces. if you have to cut them long and trim them until they fit correctly
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
bottom right corner piece isnt running inline to continue up to top left corner.. then the top left corner piece isnt inline at the center and it doenst termniate in the top left corner.. off set to the right.. if you run a straight edge from corner to corner those pieces should be directly in line however yours are way off. for future reference lay everything out first then cut your pieces. if you have to cut them long and trim them until they fit correctly
Kirk

Thanks for the reply. Yeah I am learning as I go. Some days I can make it match up and look half way decent, then there are days like to yesterday where I can't get nothing to line up. But its somewhat enjoyable. Least it gives me something to do. Thanks for the replies everybody.
 
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