Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Handrail Part 1 - Design and Template

A recent basement renovation has left us without a handrail on the basement stairs. It's amazing how one new space can make others look more dingy and dated. Anyway, the old railing was nothing special, just a 1 1/2" round grab bar. We could probably get along without it indefinitely, but my mother in law checks every time she comes over to see if there's a new railing. I would like to stop hearing that little dissapointed "Oh." from her every visit.

Anyway, we are trying to push our house toward a Craftsman Bunglow style with every project and for the basement project I relied heavily on a great book by Bob Lang. It's called Shop Drawings for Craftsman Interiors and it has great details on Stickley designs for door & window casing, base moldings, and all sorts of built-ins. I looked through it the other day to see how stair handrail was treated, and played with some options in SketchUp.

Of these, I like the one on the far right the best.

Making this in the shop will be a bit of a challenge.  The total length will be about 15 ft, so it's not practical to send the rail through a machine.  I'm looking at handheld router work mostly.  That top curve will be a challenge also because of the large diameter of the curve.  Regular roundover bits are too small and so I'm likely going to have to come up with a jig of some sort.

In the meantime, I printed a template from SketchUp in actual size.  Next step is to take this into the shop and work up a jig.