Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Handmade Handrails

Next on the decking to-do list was building a railing system. Taking some inspiration from the porch, I came up with something similar in design so I wouldn't end up with a 1990's deck on a 1900's house. Using a table saw I ripped cedar 2x4's through at a 15 degree angle to center of the 2x4 creating a V sloped top to the handrails. Then I took about 1/8 inch off each side so they would be just a bit narrower than the 4x4 posts. For the bottom rail I just cut a 15 degree slope on the outside edge angled in. The spindles were off-the -shelf 1x1 cedar that I spaced 3 1/2" inches apart (max code spacing). I pre-built each section flat on the ground using a wood block for spacing spindles consistently and laying 1 inch boards under neath the spindles to get them a consistent depth from the edge of the rails.

After the railings I added trim for the rim joist - a 1x6 PVC no-rot type of material and a PVC ogee trim. This was one area where I really wanted to shy away from pine trim and this new stuff works really well - and you can't tell. The remaining 1 1/2 inches of the joist will be my mounting surface for the lattice skirts which still need to be built (same as the porch project a few weeks back).

Finally - the stairs. It took a little trial and error to get the right measurements to use the material I had and have a usable set of steps. I went with the pvc trim again this time 1x8's for the risers and 2 cedar 1x6's for the treads leaving an inch overhang. My stairs are about 5 feet wide so I had to make 4 stringers on 16 inch centers. An added rise goes behind the rim and bolts to a floor joists. Of course I had the added chore of busting out the corner of the cement drive by hand - just the beginning of the fun I'll have removing all of that so I can get my yard back.

Then the risers and treads were added and another set of posts were added to the outside stringers for handrails. These were ripped in the same style as the railing, just no spindles.

Stay tuned for skirting, bead board, and some finishing touches....

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