1930 Porch Railing Recreation...

  • Advertise with us
Project by JohnnyMike posted 04-12-2018 03:43 AM 2380 views 2 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I was asked by a friend of mine to create the original porch railing of his 1930 craftsman style home. I wasn’t sure I was up for this job and honestly thought I had gotten myself in over my head. I am not a carpenter. I just enjoy working with wood. I have very little training and what I do have was obtained very informally. Anywho, I was pretty pleased with the end result. It could be better for sure, but overall I felt ok and the homeowner was thrilled. The house is seven different kinds of crooked. The porch had a 4” drop from the house to the end of the porch. and was pulled away from the house on one end by 2”. Honestly the entire porch needs to be torn down and rebuilt. That’s besides the point though.

My question…given my very low level of expertise and the end result of this project, what would have been a proper fee to charge for labor. Now, this was for a good friend and it was sort of as a wedding gift. So, I only charged him $300. After doing the job, and seeing the end result, if I had to do it over again for someone else I think I would charge at least $800. But really, I have no idea. It was just myself working and it was a 2-day job.

The trim below the railing I was not happy with at all. The brick was bowed out in the middle something awful. The owner just wanted me to put something up that would overlap all the brick and then have a board laid across the top to cover the gaps you could see from the top. So, I just shimmed it out so the face trim would be straight and then covered the top to hide it all.

My “day job”, if you can call it that, is that I’m a missionary/Bible translator, but we are currently home due to some health issues my wife is having. So, since we have a ton of medical bills rolling in I’ve been trying to pick up a few odd jobs. With this sort of stuff though, I just have no idea what to charge for labor. Thanks for your help.

P.S. I know this should have been painting first, but the home owner didn’t want to do it that way.

-- John Michael George,

8 comments so far

View SouthavenToyMaker's profile


216 posts in 2950 days

#1 posted 04-12-2018 04:49 AM

Looks amazing, at $300 they got an amazing deal. Typically how my friends and family make out. At $800, still a great deal…. $1500 job for sure, plus materials.

-- Sean

View awsum55's profile


1285 posts in 1970 days

#2 posted 04-12-2018 05:55 AM

You did a great job. I think it came out looking really nice.

-- "The Answer Is Blowin'n In The Wind" John D, OP, KS

View Ron Aylor's profile

Ron Aylor

2649 posts in 2109 days

#3 posted 04-12-2018 10:40 AM

I agree, you did a great job, John. Kudos!

View Woodbutcher3's profile


463 posts in 4348 days

#4 posted 04-12-2018 10:46 AM

Well done, good and faithful Servant. I look at woodworking skills as a gift from God as part of his creativity he expresses through us. He’s given you a gift!

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View Joe's profile


581 posts in 2548 days

#5 posted 04-12-2018 12:44 PM

Many artist underestimate their ability to rise to the challenge. I hope you proved to yourself that you are better and worth more than you think. It’s obvious by the pictures you are a skilled craftsman and should be paid a accordingly. You need to find a happy medium for your work, a wage you feel comfortable working for. To cheap and you will feel taken advantage of, to expensive and you narrow your clientele. You do excellent work, be proud of it, stand behind it, and be paid fairly for it. Thanks for inspiring

-- CurleyJoe, "You only learn from your mistakes"

View Gary's profile


1551 posts in 5786 days

#6 posted 04-12-2018 06:26 PM

This rail looks great. All the double miters are complex; it’s a lot of effort and worth at least $1500.

How is it attached to the structure and deck?

-- Gary, Florida

View JohnnyMike's profile


34 posts in 3608 days

#7 posted 04-12-2018 06:42 PM

Gary, I used masonry screws/lag bolts and screwed through the side plates that are themselves screwed into the porch railing. Also, it’s toenialed through the bottom braces into the floor.

-- John Michael George,

View HankLP's profile


157 posts in 1964 days

#8 posted 04-13-2018 01:43 AM

Beautiful Work. We are most often our own worst critics. Sometimes we just need to step back and see it the way our friends, family and the public see it. Thanks for sharing the work and part of your story.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics