Wrought Iron baluster layout - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
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Wrought Iron baluster layout

Im working on remodeling an existing staircase in a house so that its up to code. Mainly because the homeowners have a baby and the old wooden balusters are about 8 inches apart. Im installing treads and risers and wrought iron balusters using the existing handrail and newel posts. This is only the second staircase Ive done and I was wandering if you guys have any tips on how to quickly yet accurately layout the handrail for drilling the holes. On the first staircase I used a Dewalt pocket laser level to shoot a plum line up from the tread layout. Worked ok but a little time consuming. I guess what Im really asking is if anyone knows of a chart or what the formula is based off knowing the pitch and what my spacing is. Id like to be able to just flip the handrail upside down and lay it out, instead of pluming up from each tread. Sorry for the rambling, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-31-2009, 10:57 PM
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Laser is gonna be the best way. Otherwise you have to know the exact angle and if your off by the tiniest of margins then the layout will wander.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #3 of 12 Old 02-01-2009, 12:50 PM
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If your treads are pretty level, why not just set the handrail on the treads and square up?

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post #4 of 12 Old 02-01-2009, 02:20 PM
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Lay the handrail on the stairs and dirill the holes plumb. That is how I have see several stair installers do it. Or get a wixey digital angle gauge and check the angle of the railing while it is in place. then you can set up your drill press or hand drill using the gauge as your angle reference.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-01-2009, 07:48 PM
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Dr,
Make up a triangle out of a scrap of wood with the base of the triangle being equal to the run of the stairs (tread depth minus the nosing overhang). The second leg forming the right angle should be equal to the rise of the stairs (distance between the top of one tread to the top of the next). Once you cut this up you can make a couple of vertical lines on it to match the spacing on your ballisters. Now you can mark your top rail for drill points and also use the triangle for a drill guide to keep your drill at the proper angle.
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post #6 of 12 Old 02-02-2009, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advise guys, Im always up for learning new ways to do things.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-02-2009, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G View Post
Lay the handrail on the stairs and dirill the holes plumb. That is how I have see several stair installers do it. Or get a wixey digital angle gauge and check the angle of the railing while it is in place. then you can set up your drill press or hand drill using the gauge as your angle reference.
Ditto to both ideas.

G
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post #8 of 12 Old 02-03-2009, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo G
Lay the handrail on the stairs and dirill the holes plumb. That is how I have see several stair installers do it.


If you d
o it that way, you'd better end for end the rail after marking for the holes and before you start drilling or you will be in for a nasty surprise.

Cheers,
Jimc

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post #9 of 12 Old 02-03-2009, 10:11 AM
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You mark it correctly and only drill the holes to achieve the correct angle this way.

Measure Twice Cut Once -- It's a lot easier to cut more off then it is to cut MORON.
Finishing is 3 parts chemistry and 1 part VooDoo http://lrgwood.com
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-03-2009, 08:23 PM
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If you mark the holes with the rail on the stairs like everyone is talking about, you'd better end for end the railing before you drill the holes or you are in for a nasty surprise.

Experience is something you get only just right after you needed it.
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-01-2009, 07:35 PM
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Laser pointer is a waste of time. All you need is a standard 4' level. Mark out the spacing on the floor /cap/ treads you want, if the stair is already stained/lacquered, use masking tape so you have somewhere to mark. Simply level up and mark the side of the rail. Use a small square to transfer the mark to the bottom of the handrail. And drill. If the handrail is already installed/bolted in place you are working upside down. If not flip the rail upside down and end for end and drill straight down. Done.

In California the legal handrail spacing is no gap bigger than 4", so if you are using a standard iron bal do not make your hole center to center spacing bigger than 4.25" and if you are using scrolls you will have a variable spacing.
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-05-2009, 07:46 PM Thread Starter
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Well thanks for all the replies, I appreciate it. Finished it a few weeks ago and it turned out pretty good. I ended up just using a level and a small slip square at the same time and it worked pretty good since the handrail was still in place. Thanks again.
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