Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29

Thread: Staircase Railing Question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420

    Staircase Railing Question

    I've been recruited to design and build this Craftsman-style railing for a friend and she wants the railing to be removable so that she can move furniture through the stairwell without any problems. It's an older home, so things are a little tight to begin with as far as space and clearances go.

    I've seen Tom Silva use the Invis system (invisible magnetic fasteners) to join railing sections, which would really be ideal for this application. However, the cost is a bit much, so I'm exploring other economical options. If I can't find any, I'll take the hit and buy into the Invis system (I'm sure I'll find more uses for it down the road).

    So my question is this...has anyone here either seen or built a removable railing system that didn't use the Invis system?

    Here's some shots of what the staircase looks like now...I'm also pulling out all of the existing treads and risers (and the really bad trim job), installing new skirtboards, treads and risers. It'll look like a whole new staircase when I'm done.

    P1010130.JPGP1000445 (Medium).JPGP1000444 (Medium).JPGP1000446.JPGP1000447.JPG

    cont'd...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420
    This is the new design I came up with in Sketchup using all of the real-world dimensions and constraints...

    Rachel's Stairs E.jpgRachel's Stairs A.jpgRachel's Stairs B.jpgRachel's Stairs C.jpgRachel's Stairs D.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420
    I'll be working on this project over the next few weeks and I'll follow up with pictures. I've done staircases and railings before, but they were the non-removable kind. This was the last one I did...

    After.JPGP1000306.JPGP1000308.JPGP1000311.JPGP1000312.JPG

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Concord, NC
    Posts
    2,155
    If I can make a few points that may help you. First, I would forget about using the s turn at the point where the rail and wall meet, if you are not goining to have it inspected. This is always a weak point and one that will not leed itself to making the rail removable. Die into the wall and hang the handrail on brakets for removeal.
    Use screws to mount the posts and rails and cover with button plugs that are not glued, for removal.
    If you are using a sub rail, like in the drawings, the rail, balusters and subrail can be screwed together to be removed as one piece.
    I am not sold on the invis system, and you will always have to be availible to remove it for your friend. Screws or even rail bolts would be a much better choice to make any part removable.

    Richard

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420
    Richard - Thank you for taking the time to respond this this question. I agree, as cool as the Invis system is, I would still need to leave a $125 Invis drill attachment with the homeowner so that they could remove it down the road.

    The city's and county's building codes have some issue with non-continuous railings and transitions, so I'm not sure if I can get away with what you suggest. The sub railing would still dive into the wall to lend some additional strength to that area, followed by a railing bracket thereafter.

    In place of the Invis connectors, I thought perhaps hanger bolts, nuts and washers used in conjunction with dowels (or metal studs) would work as well (to keep the railing from twisting). At least then, convential tools and wisdom could disassemble the railing. I'd also like to make the bottom railing section once piece as well as you suggested. Do you have any tricks for allowing access to the newel post plate to remove the newel post, or would they have to remove the trim to get to the screw heads? Maybe I could use hinges or something to allow access? I'm working on that idea...

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
    Not sure about the handrail. Thinking---------------

    Use a newel post lock to mount the newel post.
    It could be bumped on and off as needed.

    Make sure theres plenty of meat under the landing, tread, to mount it though


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420
    Steve - I'm not familar with a "newel post lock". I've seen the post plates...could you PM a link if you know where I can could find them (I tried Googling "newel post lock"...not much came up). I've also seen some installs which use a couple of threaded rods to secure the newel post from the top, though I think I'd need more vertical space than I have to lift it off. Another install used a hollow newel which was bolted from the inside and you needed quite a long extension for your socket wrench to get to the nuts.

    Thanks for your help.

  8. #8
    Fastener Unlimited, Inc.

    Part # 6286


    http://www.fastenerunlimited.com/



    Route out for the plate and fasten.
    Lag bolt goes in bottom of newel.
    Lag slides into plate
    Attached Images Attached Images


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420
    Very Cool! Thanks, Steve. I'm assuming that these are plenty strong? Once the railing is connected, it's not going to want to twist, correct? I've just never seen this type of fastener so forgive me for asking stupid questions. It sort looks like a heavy-duty keyhole plate.

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
    Yes. Very strong.

    Mark where the newel is to go.
    Tighten lag bolt so that newel slides to within a 3/16" or so of your stop mark. Block of wood and hammer, tap it on over to your mark.
    The lock plate is tapered, tightening it up as you drive it home.

    I won't use anything else if I can't get under a floor, step, to secure a newel.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420
    Thanks again, Steve. It's refreshing to know such solutions exist. I e-mailed Fastener Unlimited and asked where I could find a dealer for their products.

  12. #12
    Anyone that carries L.J. Smith staircase items, can get them, or have them.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Concord, NC
    Posts
    2,155
    If the work you are doing is a remodel, as it appears, it does not have to meet exsisting building codes. Only codes that were is exsistance at the time of construction, which most likely did not require a continuous handrail, would apply. The other option is to hang a full lenght handrail on the other wall. This will not make the staircase any narrower, will meet code and can be removable.
    I am a big fan of using rail bolts, (hanger bolts) to mount my post. The plate that Steve suggests does work well, but care must be taken to install it correctly for a secure application.

    Richard

  14. #14
    I'm with Richard on that rail. It needs to be run into the walls, not a continuos rail like shown.

    Maybe you could put a rosette on the short rail at the wall.
    Attach rosette to wall, then screw and plug the rosette to the wall.
    Those screws could be removed.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    St. Charles, IL
    Posts
    420
    Thanks, Richard. It is technically a "remodel", or more accurately, "fixing or repairing an existing structure" as the city sees it. Since I'm working with the homeowner on a personal basis, as far as the city knows, the homeowner is doing the work and I'm just advising . Even still, if a nosy neighbor decided to blow the whistle and notify the city, I would just want to make sure the work that was being done was according to their municipal code. Being that it is an older home (1920's), there are grandfather clauses like you described which would probably exonorate me or the homeowner in the event that they did get involved. Personally, I like to bring everything up to code if I can. It is sometimes impossible on older homes. The homeowner also preferred having the continuous hand railing, so I'm going to have to go that route anyway. I think using the combination of hardware available (KeyLock, MiniLock, and RailLock) will make this possible.

    I did have one more question...should I use a rosette where the railing/sub-railing butt into the wall or do you think I can get away without using one? Since the railing needs to be removable, it probably makes more sense to use them since they will protect the wall and provide a better substrate for the screws. Aesthetically, I'm not crazy about them, but I see their advantages in this application.

Similar Threads

  1. Question
    By Mike Wenzloff in forum Forum Tech Support
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10-18-2006, 6:31 AM
  2. Lathe and bowl question
    By Jason Wulff in forum Turner's Forum
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 01-06-2006, 2:09 PM
  3. Installing chair railing question
    By Michael Ballent in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-26-2005, 12:13 PM
  4. Deck railing question...
    By Tim Morton in forum Off Topic Forum
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 07-26-2005, 9:47 AM
  5. Stupid CA glue question
    By Royce Meritt in forum General Woodworking and Power Tools
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-16-2004, 5:35 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •