Stuck on Handrail - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 07-15-2014, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Stuck on Handrail

Hello everyone,

First post. I bought a home three years ago, and with the help of my father, this forum, and some youtube videos, have managed to learn to do a lot of the carpentry work myself.

If at any point I break etiquette on the forum, please let me know, but I've run into a bit of a snag installing a new handrail.

My first issue was with my newel post placement, which was solved by right angling up the stairs with some pieces of rail, and then buying (ugh) an upward sloping piece to carry the rest of the rail up the stairs. I've already attached this piece and its been glued, as I did not see my upcoming issue.

I'm trying to butt together to factory edge cuts, and can do so, but the angle is so extremely high that the remaining handrail rests about 5" than my top newel's crown. When I adjust the railing to the appropriate angle, I have a gap.

I have attached two pictures; One of the gap that exists when holding the railing at the angle I'd like, and the other of the railing's 'intended' course.

My question is, would I be able to miter the long rail to butt nicely at the bottom, without having to miter the other side, AND fasten normally up at the top (i've fashioned a 45 at the top that fits perfectly against the newel), or would I have to detach the lower piece, and miter both? The pictures will explain my issue better than I can.

Apologies in advance for anything else I'm missing or lacking, and all suggestions are welcome. I am, I would say at this point, intermediate in my carpentry skills, and am looking forward to hearing from you all, you seem like a great crowd.

Terry

EDIT: Right click on the images to view them, I can't get them to show up any other way.. Sorry !




Last edited by terjod19; 07-15-2014 at 09:02 PM. Reason: Image clarification
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post #2 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 12:57 AM
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Your pictures really didn't give much information especially the second one. Lay the rail down on the stair treads from the top of the stairs to the bottom now if you lay a level on top of the fitting and butt the bottom of the rail with the fitting while level, just cut the fitting to fit.

How do you plan to connect the fittings to the rail?

Did you get some instructions how to make the cut on your fitting?

http://www.diychatroom.com/

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post #3 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 01:39 AM
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I don't see anything to click for images.






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post #4 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 02:16 AM
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I'd like to help but I'm not quite understanding the situation and I can't see the pics.

Check out some of my custom stairs
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post #5 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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Hi guys,

Thank you for your replies thus far.

What I'm getting are two blue question marks. Those are the images, if you right click on them you may see the option to view in a new window or new tab.

BigJim, I'm having a hard time understanding your suggestion. I was however, planning on using rail bolts for the installation.

Last edited by terjod19; 07-16-2014 at 08:20 AM.
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post #6 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 08:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terjod19 View Post
Hi guys,

Thank you for your replies thus far.

What I'm getting are two blue question marks. Those are the images, if you right click on them you may see the option to view in a new window or new tab.
I don't see any blue question marks. This thread describes how to post pictures.






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post #7 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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Please find the pictures

The first one shows the gap I need to make up while holding the rail at the angle I'd like.

The second one is just a view of the railing slope I'm going for
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post #8 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:04 AM
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Do you have enough stock to close the gap with finished cuts?
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post #9 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:08 AM Thread Starter
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cabinet man,

do you mean take a sliver of remaining rail and placing it in there? Would I do this before or after joining the two pieces with the rail bolt?
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post #10 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terjod19 View Post
cabinet man,

do you mean take a sliver of remaining rail and placing it in there? Would I do this before or after joining the two pieces with the rail bolt?
If you make mating cuts, will the gap close using a bolt? Or, are you too short?






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post #11 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:29 AM
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The easing does not get cut, the end of the rail is cut to match the angle of the easing. This varies with the slope of the stairs. Hold the parts in the proper position like you showed in the picture. Take the blade from a combo square, or similar, and hold the edge against the easing cut. Scribe the other side of the ruler to the rail. Cut the rail at that angle.

PS, the rail can be laid on top of the stairs to keep it at the desired angle. Doing the prep on the slope of the stairs will keep the railing parallel with the stairs once you lift it in place. The easing normally has a top with a plumb cut that will connect to the post. This end should be held plumb when figuring the cuts.

Last edited by Hammer1; 07-16-2014 at 10:34 AM.
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post #12 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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The easing does not get cut, the end of the rail is cut to match the angle of the easing. This varies with the slope of the stairs. Hold the parts in the proper position like you showed in the picture. Take the blade from a combo square, or similar, and hold the edge against the easing cut. Scribe the other side of the ruler to the rail. Cut the rail at that angle.
I'm still a little unsure about what I'm supposed to do. I'm glad to know the easing doesn't need to be cut, but I'm lost when you're talking about scribing the other side, am I holding the ruler perpendicular to the easing cut?
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post #13 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 12:56 PM
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Stair rail parts aren't for the inexperienced, even on a carpentry crew, it's only the more experienced folks that do stair cases. Too easy to miscut a $200 part and then wait 2 wks. for a replacement.

When you hold the easing against the rail in the position it should be in, there is a gap, more on the top, nothing at the bottom. You have to cut the end of the straight rail but you have to know the angle that it has to be cut to. How are you going to figure that out?

An easy way is to lay the rail on the stairs, this will hold the rail at the correct angle, parallel with the stairs. Now, you need to hold the easing at it's proper angle. You didn't give us much info, we can't see the whole easing, don't know if there is a level return on top, don't know if posts are in place, if it's post to post or over the post.

It's very rare that any fitting has to be cut, you almost always cut the rail except in non traditional stair geometry, very steep, very shallow. With the rail laying on the stair, you hold the easing in it's correct position. If there is a level return, that top of the rail should be level. If the easing fits against a post, the top should still be level and the end cut, already on the easing, should be plumb. Holding a level on the end, clamping a block to rest against, will help holding the easing correctly.

I would simply set my sliding T-bevel on the straight rail and adjust it to fit against the easing cut. That gives me the correct angle. You probably don't have a sliding T-bevel. It doesn't matter. Hold anything that has parallel edges, a ruler for example, against the easing cut. Then mark the other side of the ruler to make a line on the end of the straight rail. You should be holding the two pieces together as described above. Now you have your angle for cutting the straight rail. This process is known as "scribing". It can be done in many different ways and for different tasks, essentially, it makes a mark parallel with what you want to fit to, rocks on a fireplace, railing to fitting, etc.

In most angle cuts, we bisect the angles so each adjoining piece has the same angle. This helps insure that the profiles, widths and thicknesses all match. With stair parts, it can be very difficult to hold curved, shaped pieces firmly and in the correct position without a lot of custom made supports or jigs. The way the fitting are made, you may not be exactly bisecting the angle by not cutting the fitting. Except in unusual circumstances, that slight bit off a true bisection is minimal. Normally the extra is held at the bottom of the rail/fitting joint and can be blended by sanding without being noticeable.
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post #14 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Hammer, I do have a sliding bevel, used it for crown moulding.

So, let me see if I have this. Hold the pieces together as i did in the original picture and rest my bevel where the joints butt together at the bottom. With this angle, take it out to the miter saw and adjust, so that I am (here's where I am confused) bisecting the angle I found with my bevel?

When cutting the straight rail, should I have the top or the bottom of the rail facing up?

I should have saved my old railing to test all the cuts I'm anticipating!

Last edited by terjod19; 07-16-2014 at 01:12 PM.
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post #15 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 07:32 PM
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Easings are transition pieces from rake to level. Rake is the slope and is the hypotenuse of your rise and run, or the slope of your rail . Unless you are butting your easing into something "LEVEL" like a 1/4 turn a volute or a starting cap then you are doing it wrong. A picture of everything below your easing would be helpful.
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post #16 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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As requested, sorry for the poor lighting
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post #17 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 08:32 PM
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Sorry, I'm giving you too much information. You are not bisecting the angle, you are only cutting an angle on the end of the straight rail so it fits the existing cut on the fitting. Make sure you have some support in addition to the table on your miter saw. The bottom of the rail, the flat part, goes against the saw fence. You have to hold the rail so the bottom of the rail fits square to the fence, it can tip either way so be careful that it's square and tight to the fence, not the table. You swing the saw to the angle you marked on the straight rail.

PS, the rail should be parallel to the stairs, in line with the bottom of the easement. You don't want the end of the railing at the top of the stairs to be higher or lower

Last edited by Hammer1; 07-16-2014 at 08:40 PM.
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post #18 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:06 PM
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The easiest way is to take the rail down and lay it on the stairs where one end is touching the floor. Take the fitting off the newel 1/4 turn with the easing attached, place it flat on the floor directly in front of the rail. Shove it back till the easing touches the rail. Now take a square piece of wood , place it at the point were the rail and the fitting intersect , square up from the rail and draw the line on the fitting and cut.
Hopefully the Newel is the right height.
If I have time tomorrow I will take a picture for you.
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post #19 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:10 PM
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Never cut the rail on an angle. Always cut the fitting.
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post #20 of 28 Old 07-16-2014, 10:22 PM
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Never cut the rail on an angle. Always cut the fitting.
Do as instructed, always cut the rail square.
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