I have been remodeling a bedroom/loft and have the beginnings of a poplar railing in the loft. I have hand rails, bottom, and spindles. But i got to thinking how to put them together. Thought I should seek some advise before beginning. Do I glue? or just nail? Where should I nail? Or is their more to this than I think? Thanks for any help you can give me.
First off, are the balusters (spindles) going to be mounted on the outside face of the hand rail or are they going to be fastened to the bottom of the hand rail?
If you are going to mount them on the face, they are normally drilled, screwed and plugged. Two screws top and bottom.
If you are fastening them to the bottom of the hand rail, there is usually a dado cut in the bottom of the hand rail and the top of the shoe rail that is the width of the baluster and to a depth of 7/16". The gap between the balusters is filled with a 1/2" filler strip that is normally only glued in place. The balusters are toe nailed into the hand and shoe rails.
Or you can attach the balusters to the filler strip with a dab of glue and screw through the filler strip and then fasten the whole assembly to the rails as Woodchuck stated above.
Personally I prefer cutting the filler strip especially when doing a stair rail. That way any error in the angle cut at the top of the baluster is hidden inside the dado.
[font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON Aug-26-01 AT 09:58AM (CDT)[/font][p]Kcw has the correct idea about the the filler strips but if i may add, i havnt seen them glued in place before, niether are the balusters, the reason for this is if u have young kids of your own chances are at least once in there life they're heads will get stuck between those balusters, it happen to every single kid who grows up in a house that has this style railing, this way the filler strip downt the center, when time to pry the curious little head out from between, you just talke a hammer and chisel and breaking.this losens the balusters making it able to be removed with out gettin the saw or the butter. The strips are easily replaced thats why its the best method.. our kids heads are little more difficult to replace.good luck
Jeff, more appropriately, current building code requires spindles and/or balusters to be close enough together to prevent any such trappings (check the building code in your area for specific measurements). Also, to prevent both small and tall people from toppling over the handrail, they must now be 42" above the finished floor (again, check your local building codes, it may be higher), but for safety sake, now lower.
As mentioned above, common handrails and shoe plates have a dado to set the baluster in, with filler strips glued or braded in between. Great for railings, but what about stairs?
When I rebuilt my stairs (interior / foyer) the filler strips worked for handrails, but not on the treads. In this case I drilled a shallow 5/16" dia.(?) hole in the bottom of the baluster, and put a deck screw in the tread with (about) 1/4 - 3/8" of screwhead exposed (2 balusters per tread). The bottom of the baluster was held in place, trapped by the screw (and a dab of construction adhesive in the hole to fill gaps). The top of the baluster held in the dado with the filler strip. Sound complicated? Not really. Dowels would have worked just as well but the screw trick was faster, and saved a few steps by not having to drill and glue dowels into the treads. The balusters are snug fitting and strong.
One last word of advice: start at the bottom of the stairs and work your way to the top, otherwise your always working against the previously positioned baluster.
Good luck, check those building codes in your area, and let us know how you made out.
Remember, the first rule is 'Safety First'. The second rules is measure twice... :)
It's just a straight railing for the loft. I thought I could just put the spindles in place without any glue or nails and then use the filler strips to keep in place. It seems to me this would be very strong because once the fillers are in place nothing can move at this point. Building code requires no more than 4" in between the spindles, so my fears of the kids getting they're heads stuck in the railings is not really a concern. But even so their are many ways to to get them out.......grab hold of feet and pull firmly away from railing. Get the gas powered chain saw and .....(make sure wife is not home) and go to town!!!!LOL
Sorry it took so long to reply, have been very busy! Thanks for the advise guys.