Spindle top design - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-09-2019, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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Spindle top design

I am making a spindle top for a cedar privacy fence. 1.5x1.5x12" cedar spindles, with 2x3 top and bottom plates. It will need to have the ability to rack slightly to match the T&G fence section below it following the grade. I do not want to simply screw through the 2x3 into the ends of the spindles since it will not keep them from rotating and will probably open up gaps over time. I prefer not to sandwich it and nail through faces like picture below because it looks bad and leaves gaps for water/debris. I have considered routing out a 1.5" slot on the 2x3 and sitting the spindles in it and then end screwing through the 2x3... but also gaps between spindles for dirt/debris/water to collect but not as bad as sandwiching. Also considering using drill press to punch 1.5" holes about 1/2" deep and then cutting out corners somehow, but having to do about 10, 8' fence sections would be a massive time investment.

Looking for ideas on not only best way to do this, but a way that I can do it with the least time investment.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 8 Old 07-09-2019, 03:52 PM
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When you make your finials just turn a dowel on the ends of them and dowel them into the fence and glue them on.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-10-2019, 02:15 PM
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doing round ends will allow the spindles to 'rotate' -


if you have access to a mortising machine/(drill press) attachment, you could make square pegs on the spindles and square holes in the plates.....
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-10-2019, 02:43 PM
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Just the top section, 12" tall?

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Originally Posted by jtech1 View Post
I am making a spindle top for a cedar privacy fence. 1.5x1.5x12" cedar spindles, with 2x3 top and bottom plates. It will need to have the ability to rack slightly to match the T&G fence section below it following the grade. I do not want to simply screw through the 2x3 into the ends of the spindles since it will not keep them from rotating and will probably open up gaps over time. I prefer not to sandwich it and nail through faces like picture below because it looks bad and leaves gaps for water/debris. I have considered routing out a 1.5" slot on the 2x3 and sitting the spindles in it and then end screwing through the 2x3... but also gaps between spindles for dirt/debris/water to collect but not as bad as sandwiching. Also considering using drill press to punch 1.5" holes about 1/2" deep and then cutting out corners somehow, but having to do about 10, 8' fence sections would be a massive time investment.

Looking for ideas on not only best way to do this, but a way that I can do it with the least time investment.

Thanks!

Seems like a dado set to notch the upper and lower plates, then side strips to hold the "spindles" in. I think there some overthinking going on, unless I misunderstood your description. Another way is to simply nail or screw the spindles to a narrow strip which gets recessed into the plates or handrails:



Handrail sections like this:
https://www.menards.com/main/buildin...ng/c-13478.htm


I wouldn't alter the spindles in any way, just use the 1 1/2" square sections as is, much less work. Use two nails per spindle to prevent rotation and misalignment rather than notches. Using a 2" or 4" spacer pinned or glued between them will do the same thing. Work on one side,either the top or bottom, at a time. Then flip it over and repeat the process.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-11-2019, 10:50 PM
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This may be a very dumb question, but why is it important that the spindles cannot rotate?
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-11-2019, 11:19 PM
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I don't know, think I would just drive 3 1/2" screws through the 2x3 into the ends of the dowels and call it done, never been a fan of fences following the grade, I prefer to step them and keep the top rail level.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-12-2019, 03:01 PM
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Or... groove the top rail ONLY and simply screw into both ends of the spindle.: no spinning and no water trap
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-08-2019, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Great ideas. I appreciate everyone's input! I like the idea of grooving only the top rail.

Instead of 2x3 grooved top and bottom pieces, another way I have seen it done (and I think the picture above is more like this), is sandwich the spindles between 3/4 x 2" rails and then use 3/4 cap and base on the assembly. If I go this route, the rotation is not an issue any more. For the spindles, going through the top and bottom rails into spindle ends, to keep stainless head showing to a minimum on top rail, would shooting a stainless finish nail hold that top rail down securely or should I go for trim head stainless screws and accept the bigger head...

Same question applies for the sandwich rails... shoot stainless finish nails or attach with trim head stainless screws? If I could find a ring shank stainless finish screw for my nailer I'd use that, but I don't think that exists...
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