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Hi everyone.

This is my dining room. Complete with death drop to the family room below. :icon_smile:



Originally, when the house was built, we believe there was a full length wood screen built between the pole and wall. Rather than put a full length screen in, we've been thinking we'd install a railing. Something along these lines:



I've never built stairs or railings before so.... Questions!

1. I'd like to "float" the railing a few inches above the floor. The span between the pole and wall is 6.5ft. For support, does the shoe rail need to get a support under it at some place in the middle? Or, will the wall and pole provide enough support for the structure. (I'd really like to avoid having to drill into the terrazzo floors)

2. Give it's location, this thing needs to be pretty sturdy. Are 1 3/4in balusters with 2 3/4in hand/shoe rails "substantial" enough? Or, should I really beef it up with something along these lines:



3. I'd like the railing to match the color of the beams and built-ins in our house. (that really dark brown) Given this, is maple a good choice for material?

4. How are balusters normally attached to railings? Dowels? Nails? Glue? Screws? Duct Tape? :icon_smile:

5. Got any other thoughts/advice/ideas for this little project? I'd love to hear them!
 

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Hey,

The column to the right in the pictures, is it solid wood (or 2x4 build) covered with drywall, or a round steel column covered with drywall or something else? Also, direcly opposite the column is there a stud under the drywall?

If there is sufficent wood under the drywall you might be able to use some sort of anchor to attach the railing to the wall.

Cabinetman will be along in a minute to give you the real answer ...

Greg
 

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The top rail is the most important part to fasten. There will be enough timber in the post to fasten to but is the other end at a corner of the wall where there is framing there too. If there is framing there you could drill and countersink some holes in the underside of the top rail on a angle and put some 3" screws directly into the framing. On the bottom I would make a small block like the baluster and put it under the railing section with a screw into the bottom plate of the wall. Then a few finish nails into the block should hold the bottom. 1 3/4" balusters should be ample for the railing.

I'm not understanding your question about the color. The color in the woodwork in the second picture looks pretty light to me. In any case maple would be a good strong wood to use and to stain it if you are going for the color in the first picture I would recommend using a dye to stain it. Maple tends to go blotchy and the darker color you use the worse the blotchiness is. A dye will tend to stain without the blotchiness. If you do though use an oil stain then be sure to use a wood conditioner first. That will help the color be more uniform. Be sure to test the stain on scraps before using any stain on the railing.
 

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You didn't say what the pole is...wood/metal?

You should first decide on a design that you like. I remember the first staircase and handrail and balustrade I did, I had with me a stair guy that had been doing stairs and railings all his life. So I asked him for the best methods, and he said what he does is look at what has to be done and figure out the best way to do it. It was like there were no "rules".

So, we can start off with discussing fabrication, joinery, and installation based on hopefully specific designs. Generally speaking, the most attractive and visually appealing methods are used which are the most likely substantial enough to keep it all from falling apart.









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