Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stair Railing

Nice morning light coming in on the section of upstairs railing I'm rebuilding

Its become apparent to me that we need a railing for the stairway between the first and second floors. Any time kids or older folks are visiting I notice the subtle search for support as someone goes up or down the stairs. We are plannng to have a full house here at the end of the year with both young and old alike, so I'm working to get a railing in place beforehand.

This is a somewhat complex project for a couple of reasons. Railings often look simple because they seem to seamlessly wind down the stairway passage, but in fact there are sometimes odd drops and levels that require some creative woodworking and joinery.

The newly rebuilt section of railing that now extends about 6 or 7 inches further along the stair opening. The circle indicates where the post used to be

Additionally, joining the rail to the existing banister that runs along the stair opening on the second floor has required rebuilding a section of the upstairs banister. I resisted making this effort at first since it meant doing some careful deconstruction, but once I committed myself to going that direction it became clear that the project will be much more satisfactory in the end.

As you can see in the photo above, the original banister did not quite reach to the end of the stair opening, as indicated by the light colored circle where the post used to be. I considered various ways that I might extend the existing structure, but in the end decided that the best way to "stretch it" was to rebuild the whole section.  A really nice bonus to result from making this decision was the opportunity to do a better job positioning the vertical wooden posts that sit in groups of three along the span of the railing. When I built the section the first time I didn't really work out a satisfying positioning between the two metal posts and now I have the opportunity to correct that. You may not be able to see it too well in the photo below, but each grouping of three wooden posts now sit nicely centered in the run. It used to be off kilter and it bugged me.

New section of upstairs railing in place with newly positioned vertical posts

With the section of railing rebuilt and extended, now I can get on with my original goal to instal the railing down to the first floor.

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