LumberJocks

All Replies on Banister questions

  • Advertise with us
View AandCstyle's profile

Banister questions

by AandCstyle
posted 06-25-2018 05:07 PM


36 replies so far

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3033 posts in 2830 days


#1 posted 06-25-2018 05:22 PM

Art – thanks for giving me the credit…....anything I can do to help out a fellow LJ find a fun project….. ;+)

As I recall when I built my bannister, the newel posts were screwed into the subfloor. I took out the entire bannister and then made the base fit the opening. There are some clever solutions for attaching newel posts and railing on websites like stairparts.com.

You could probably make an intermediate post to span the 15’. I spent a lot of time looking at pictures and browsing the stair websites before I jumped in. It was a bit of a challenge but I’m happy with the results. The most difficult part was deciding what look I wanted to design. Every time I thought I found something, I found something else I liked better.

I think I posted the bannister project.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

2417 posts in 2797 days


#2 posted 06-25-2018 05:36 PM

Art, I cannot, for the life of me, see why you would want to replace that beautiful Oak railing …

1) I would pop a few screws and see it the base board wiggles … If not there may be const. glue.
2) Remove the plug to reveal the screw, remove the screw and the cover plate and you will see the fastener
3) Yep it’s done all the time … on lessor grade rails …. (Consider reusing your rail and redoing the pilasters).
4) No comment here
5) Yeppers I would think so …

Just sharing my thoughts.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5975 posts in 3295 days


#3 posted 06-25-2018 05:36 PM

I doubt if any construction adhesive was used.

The newel posts are likely attached to the framing. This will be exposed once the trim boards are removed. I attached my newel posts with long timber-mate lag screws. One visitor described the railing as “hell for stout” so I guess it worked.

Sometimes the newel is on a threaded rod, and you can unscrew it once the hand rail is removed (usually results in a wobbly railing when they’re built this way).

I wouldn’t skarf the railing. Either use a singe piece, or add an intermediate newel post.

Are you crazy to build this? Yes, I think so. Building stair railings is a sub-specialty within the carpentry field. Many carpenters won’t touch railings. At least you have a 90 degree corner. I have a 90 and two 45’s with multliple landings. It would have been easier to build a new house. Compound angles increased the complexity of my particular project.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View bdresch's profile

bdresch

155 posts in 2090 days


#4 posted 06-25-2018 05:40 PM

Upper newel likely has 1/2 lag threads sticking out and threaded into the structure below. Once you cut off the railing you can probably unscrew it.

I wouldn’t put in intermediate newels on the stairs. That doesn’t meet code and would look astetically looks wrong. The railing needs to be uninterrupted.

You can buy premade railing in long sections. If you need longer than you can easily buy a scarf joint would be great otherwise google rail bolts.

Your not crazy for trying. I’ve built box newels before and any competent woodworker can made newels better and cheaper than what’s available off the shelf.

You might want to grab a book and read up a bit. Some of the layout work associated with stairs isn’t immediately obvious. The book linked below was helpful to me.

https://www.amazon.com/Building-Stairs-Andrew-Engel/dp/156158892XWe

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#5 posted 06-25-2018 06:04 PM

First off, I take it you intend to replace the posts with a more A&C style boxed look. 1. option is to just build the box and slide it over (really not as hard as it sounds) or replace the entire railing, a lot more work.

Now about how its fastened. Code requires that the posts be solid as a rock, those two screws (plugs) are most likely secondary fasteners (could have construction adhesive) most have a dowel that goes into the floor framing and secured from below (more lags) or some type of bracket. Check in the basement under the stairs.

The railing to the post; will have a lag screw/bolt combo that was drilled from the underside and than plugged, same fro the upper post. Dig out the plug and its a small hole and a specialty wrench is used.

Balisters/spindles. The holes are drilled deeper into the railing, to install them you just push them all the way in and insert the dowel at the bottom into the hole, most, well I did only applied glue to the bottom and maybe a pin nail at the top.

This can get you started, if you have any questions just ask as I’ve installed close to a hundred sets of stairs.

-- Doug...

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#6 posted 06-25-2018 06:10 PM

The railing on the stairs is called a Grab rail, has to be 32” in height and one continuous piece, you know so you can slide your hands down it.

The tops railings on the landings are a Guard rail, min 36” in Height.

-- Doug...

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#7 posted 06-25-2018 09:54 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I think this is beyond my capabilities mainly due to the requirement to have the railing be a single piece. I have never seen white oak longer than 14 feet, much less than have the ability in my shop to machine it. Dang, I was really looking forward to designing a beautiful banister for the house.

-- Art

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#8 posted 06-25-2018 10:19 PM

I’ve made custom railings by gluing 1/2” strips together, that way you can use 8’ – 10’ lengths, just on that stair run it has to be one contineus length, no post in the middle.
The codes are specific on a grab rail, easily looked up.
BOCA standards.

-- Doug...

View JimYoung's profile

JimYoung

329 posts in 2069 days


#9 posted 06-26-2018 12:13 AM

Hi Art,

Before you throw in the towel, do a little more research. I know that big orange sells stair parts that you can go look at. This should give you an idea of what is involved. I have a similar railing in my home, and it is laminated from several, staggered pieces with finger joints, so that is definitely allowed by code. I have 9’ ceiling, like you, and there is an extra post in the middle, but it only supports the railing from the bottom so as to not break up the railing.

My guess is that the newel posts don’t have any glue on them. I watch the guy install mine when we built this house, and it was just bolted into the framing. So if your design can mount the same way as the current posts, that should take away most of the structural questions. You have the angle from the current railing, and the two other sections are straight.

My $0.02

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#10 posted 06-26-2018 04:07 PM

Amazingly, I found 16’ white oak handrail at HD. They also have shorter lengths. Thanks, Jim! :)

Doug, nothing is visible in the basement because the post sits on the bottom tread. I watched some vids today, but it still isn’t clear to me how the posts are connected to the floor. The above referenced rail has a fillet and the groove is 1.75”. Does that mean that I will need to make the spindles 1.75” square? I was thinking more like 1.25”.

-- Art

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2828 posts in 1704 days


#11 posted 06-26-2018 04:58 PM

Hey Art, definitely go for it! You passed the mental hurdle of those shutters and really need to up your game 8^)

Make that Domino earn its keep!

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3033 posts in 2830 days


#12 posted 06-26-2018 05:22 PM

I like Splinter’s thinking. Surprisingly enough, once you get going on a project like this all of the things you were worried about work themselves out and you end up with a gorgeous bannister.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#13 posted 06-26-2018 05:29 PM

Splint, that’s what I’m talking about! Is this in your house? Can you send another pic that is straight on? Did you make the handrail yourself? Tell me more! :)

-- Art

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2828 posts in 1704 days


#14 posted 06-26-2018 08:07 PM

Yep, just finished this yesterday, sorry for the mess, the cleaning staff hadn’t been through before I took the photo…..

JK!

It’s just a picture I liked when I was looking at ways to dress up some newel posts. Seriously, my best ideas come from photo searches where I adopt elements I like and alter/redo the elements I’m not 100% with.

You’ll have no problem building something with even more style.

I think you would be better off skipping on that HD handrail and go for a more A&C built up flat style. With that you could scarf boards together for length and the build up with offset joints would keep the assembly strong.

May your google fu guide you!

Addendum:

You could use the HD rail, just maybe cut off the lower 1/2” or so and fasten it to a flat handrail base that is secured to your balusters (they could be any size then)

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#15 posted 06-26-2018 10:57 PM

Thanks, Splint, I guess I have been thinking of a typical railing and not something in the A&C style. Making one “boxier” would mean that I wouldn’t need to use the router table which eliminates most of the length issue. I am going to the Stickley Museum in about a month so I will hope to see something there that strikes my fancy.

This is really starting to look like something I can do. :) I just need learn how to mount the two top posts so they are rock solid and I will have it mentally under control. The final remaining step will be to get the approval of SWMBO.

-- Art

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4118 posts in 1064 days


#16 posted 06-27-2018 12:11 AM

Glad to see you’re figuring it out, Art. Sometimes a project just needs some staring-at.

-- Dave - Minneapolis

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#17 posted 06-27-2018 12:14 AM

I get by with a little help from my friends. :)

-- Art

View Ripper70's profile

Ripper70

1315 posts in 1391 days


#18 posted 06-27-2018 02:34 AM

I hired a guy to install the stair rail in our house last year. For me, it seemed above my pay grade. I did source all the parts myself from this site. We went with a modern hand rail that seems like the one you’re considering. They’re available in 20’ lengths and are made from red oak. With your skills, you could probably make one yourself.

The wrought iron spindles fit with our decor and may be worth your consideration. You haven’t shown too many examples of the furnishings you have. I see a couple of (mission style?) pieces in your entryway there. It’ll be a challenging project, for sure, but one I think you’ll find very satisfying should you decide to tackle it yourself.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3033 posts in 2830 days


#19 posted 06-27-2018 02:41 AM

Art – take a look around the internet for pictures. I had dozens of them that I found and kept when I was working on the design for the railings. Here’s an idea:

or this – Greene and Greene – Gamble House

I know G&G wouldn’t match but that is some kind of amazing stair case.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#20 posted 06-27-2018 11:45 AM

Thanks, Ripper, I think I have mostly figured out how to make it myself.

Earl, I had forgotten your project. It is beautiful but I don’t think I will live long enough to finish anything as complex. I have been searching and have some simple designs in mind.

-- Art

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3033 posts in 2830 days


#21 posted 06-27-2018 01:27 PM

The stair project that is in my project list took 3 months or so, mostly because I was slow figuring out what I wanted to do exactly. I’d love to have the time and a G&G style house to make that G&G staircase.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#22 posted 06-27-2018 03:00 PM


Doug, nothing is visible in the basement because the post sits on the bottom tread. I watched some vids today, but it still isn t clear to me how the posts are connected to the floor. The above referenced rail has a fillet and the groove is 1.75”. Does that mean that I will need to make the spindles 1.75” square? I was thinking more like 1.25”.

- AandCstyle

I see now the Newel post is on the starter tread, I did not notice that from the pic’s.
Most likely the post is doweled into the tread and glued in place.

Question;
Do you plan to replace, what appears from the pic’s that the treads are Maple, to White Oak?
and
Do you intend to leave the treads closed ends, like they are now? or an open end?
if so it doesn’t matter if you cut everything out, just cut the newel off at the tread.
Make all your parts before you demo (extra long and fit each piece as you go)

If your intending to replace all, Baluster size of 1.25” is fine. Fit them in a dado and use a filler between each ( I use a small 2 point laser to set them) code spacing is no more than 3 1/2”.

Top posts, I drill for a 1” dowel into the framing and in the bottom of the post with a couple screws low (hidden by the bottom plate) is enough when it has to two points of support, IE one rail attached to the wall and one to the grab rail.

Use lots of construction adhesive.

-- Doug...

View gargey's profile

gargey

1013 posts in 1257 days


#23 posted 06-27-2018 03:23 PM

This sounds like one of those terrible not worth it ideas.

Out of sync with LJ’s “enthusiatic support only” vibe, but sometimes the truth is helpful too.

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#24 posted 06-27-2018 03:39 PM

Doug, thanks for the reply. No, I will leave the treads maple to match the rest of the floors in the house. Yes, closed end because it would require major construction to open them up. I did see the fillet solution in a video I watched yesterday. :)

I think I mostly understand the top posts. Cut them off close to the floor with a reciprocating saw and a metal cutting blade (just to be safe), drill out a dowel if one is present, apply a liberal amount of construction adhesive and drop the new post in place with a 4-5” long by 1” diameter dowel protruding from its base. I just don’t get where the screws go. Thanks, again.

-- Art

View AAL's profile

AAL

80 posts in 1908 days


#25 posted 06-27-2018 05:00 PM

Yep, you’re crazy. Leave well enough alone. There’s nothing wrong with the railing. It appears to be sturdily built. Besides, are you to rebuild it every time your wife changes the furniture?

-- "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." Winston Churchill

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#26 posted 06-27-2018 05:09 PM

Okay, piece of cake!
First you might want to browse through this stair parts catalog for ideas, they probably may have what you want.
https://www.ljsmith.com/
2nd
get yourself this railing wrench, will greatly help with removing the rails and installing the new.
https://www.ljsmith.com/installation/installation-tools/lj-3044-versatool#

Remove the rails, Balusters and bottom plates. The 2 plugged screws on the wall sconce is all that holds the rails to the walls and the bolt on the underside holds it to the posts (use suggested wrench)

If it was me, I’d leave the posts (may have to cut it down to size) and build a box to slip over the posts using 1/2” ply and 3/4’ stock to a A & C design. Cut-in the bottom plate and attach with the trim gun and con. adh. For the railings I’ve made adjustable legs to get the rail to the right length (they sell expensive ones) basically an adjustable temp post that sits next the the newel posts, helps with getting the correct angle and length.

Use wood glue and pin nails to attach the the ballisters and fillets, fill the nail holes and touch-up the finish,...done

-- Doug...

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#27 posted 06-27-2018 05:43 PM

Doug, you are going to get real tired of me and I apologize for being so dense. The posts sit on top of the bottom plate which I want to remove because it is the same thickness as the flooring and it has beveled edges. I will replace it with a thicker board, which I will fit to replace the old one and secure it with adhesive and 16G brads. The part I don’t understand is dropping the new newel over the old posts. Am I to reattach them after putting in the new bottom plate? Thank you for your guidance and patience. :)

-- Art

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2828 posts in 1704 days


#28 posted 06-27-2018 05:50 PM


I am going to the Stickley Museum in about a month so I will hope to see something there that strikes my fancy.

- AandCstyle

Be sure to wear a long coat and wait for the guard to go to lunch, much easier to “procure” your choice that way 8^)

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#29 posted 06-27-2018 06:44 PM

NP Art!
Okay, must be why the installer has plugs around the top posts, must have a bracket under the plate.
I always set the posts first than cut the plate to fit around the post, helps lock it in (also hides where I previously mentioned a couple screws that hold the post solid ((really I do this to lock the post in place while the glue sets, if I told you how many times a homeowner has come in and wiggled the post, you know to check my work, and broken the glue bond)) angled-in at the bottom of the post within the 3/4 – 1” plate).

Okay, you may have to set new posts for the top two, maybe first cut the plate next to the post to actually see how its attached and if it doesnt look to solid, remove it completely start with a new one.

The starter newel on the first step would be easier to slide a box over it (if you intend to have a square post, standard for that style is 6” sq). I say this as it decreases the likelihood of damaging the tread, removing and installing the new one.

-- Doug...

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#30 posted 06-27-2018 07:33 PM

If I can recommend one thing, dont buy your stair parts at the Borg!
Go to a local lumberyard that supplies contractors, they’ll have a professional that can help you get the right parts.

1 1/4” sq white oak balusters.
https://www.ljsmith.com/balusters/wood-balusters/lj-5060-wo-34-1-14-craftsman-sq-bal

-- Doug...

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#31 posted 06-27-2018 09:51 PM

Doug, I had thought to make my own parts & pieces once I got the railing figured out. Have you used these? Are they rift or quarter sawn? It looks like I will need to call them because I am also interested in their prices and shipping cost.

Gargey & AAL, I enjoy the aesthetics of A&C. Our house is filled with A&C furniture, most of which I have made and I enjoy the process of making it. My question about being crazy was meant to be rhetorical, but thank you for your replies.

-- Art

View CampD's profile

CampD

1789 posts in 3968 days


#32 posted 06-28-2018 12:54 PM

Pretty much exclusively have use their parts, sold at better lumber yards. Never ordered directly through them, pretty sure they don’t deal with the public, but I could be wrong.

I put-up the catalog to use for reference to help you with ideas on just what parts go into a stair railing.

They’ll never have grain you or I are looking for for our own projects, they produce so many and can’t possibly look at the grain like we would.

I will say the price and quality will be far superior than any big box store.

Like I mentioned, If it was my house I’d make the post boxes and the Balusters with 4 sided QS.

-- Doug...

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#33 posted 06-28-2018 10:00 PM

Doug, you have been most helpful. Thank you! :)

-- Art

View Picken5's profile

Picken5

282 posts in 3174 days


#34 posted 06-28-2018 10:52 PM

Art — FWIW, you can get handrails in a variety of profiles and wood species up to 24 feet long from LJ Smith. Their website had tons of good info. They sell their products through Lowes, but it’ll likely have to be ordered. I tore out a maple, early-american style stair railing in my house last year and replaced it all with white oak components — most of which came from LJ Smith. Took about 3 weeks to get it in once I placed the order. Good outfit IMO.

My old newels were attached to floor joists using a 1/2” lag screw that was glued into a hole in the bottom of the newel. I used a similar lag system for attaching the new newel posts, but these required a large hole in the side of the newel to tighten a nut on the top of the machine threaded end of the lag. I had a box around the bottom of my newels and just slid it up (temporarily clamped in place) to drill the hole and tighten the nut. When done, loosened the clamp and slid the box down.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

View EarlS's profile

EarlS

3033 posts in 2830 days


#35 posted 06-29-2018 11:44 AM

Art – be prepared for sticker shock on pre-made wood components. I made everything I could and ordered the things I couldn’t make. It looks intimidating and really complicated but it wasn’t terribly difficult.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View AandCstyle's profile

AandCstyle

3219 posts in 2739 days


#36 posted 06-30-2018 12:02 AM

Thanks, guys, I intend to make everything myself for the enjoyment and cost factors. I’m retired and have more time than money. :D

-- Art

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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

HomeRefurbers.com