Craftsman Stair Railing

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Project by EarlS posted 02-25-2015 10:25 PM 4131 views 9 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Two years ago we moved into a house that needed some character, Since then, I’ve been remodeling our house to make it more of a Craftsman style. From the first time we looked at the place I wanted to update the Golden Oak, spindle, contractor special, stair railing. I’ve spent my spare time (what little I have) looking at Lumberjocks, Pintrest, Houzz, and any other images I could find of Craftsman and Arts & Crafts style railings. When I saw an image I liked I saved it. After Thanksgiving the railing finally made it to the top of the “to do” list .

I looked through the dozens of pictures and came up with a couple of options, put them on CAD, refined the look, then started making some saw dust. For the individual panels I chose a tapered split panel with a beveled edge and walnut spacers. To soften all of the lines I also included a 2” round section. All in all, the look is a stylized version of some of the G&G details as well as making me think of some of the Harvey Ellis inlays. The panels are separated by square walnut spindles with a slightly beveled edge to soften the square look. All of the spacers are walnut. For the panel spacers, each one has a front piece and a back piece.

I was amazed at how many pieces were required for each panel (22 including the walnut spacers). Fortunately, I was able to build each panel (8 total), then assemble the rail sections. The columns were built using rail and stile joinery and incorporated the arts and crafts / craftsman details including half lap walnut trim and exposed half lap cherry tops. Everything was made with an eye on an easy final assembly. The repeat of the panels and walnut spindles was 12” which made figuring out the layout much simpler. The overall length of the railing is 10 ft on the long side and 4 ft. on the short end. The columns are 6.5” wide and 42” tall. The handrail is 38” high.

The finish is 4 coats of polyurethane, rubbed out with 0000 steel wool and hand buffed.

Assembly of the entire railing was actually fairly simple. The columns are screwed into 4×4 posts anchored in the floor. I used lag bolts to hold the panels to the columns and the top hand rail is separate from the rest of the panel. The panels and spindles were screwed into the slot in the base and lower section of the top rail. After the sections were screwed to the floor, walnut spacers were inserted into the various slots. Unfortunately 2 of the top rails cracked when I tightened the bolts so I had to remake the hand rails from thicker and wider stock.

I still have to make the rail for the stairs but the overall look of the railing ties all of the Craftsman elements in the living room together.

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

6 comments so far

View Calmudgeon's profile


172 posts in 1623 days

#1 posted 02-25-2015 10:47 PM

Nice work. I love the level of detail and the contrasting wood choices.

-- "As are the things we make, so are we ourselves." - Lin Yutang

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 2488 days

#2 posted 02-25-2015 11:03 PM

Great job—one of the best looking stair railing I think I’ve ever seen.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View nitewalker41's profile


462 posts in 2888 days

#3 posted 02-26-2015 02:25 AM

Super nice, wish I could do something like that for my place, great work

-- "older I get, the more fun I have"

View JoeRPhilly's profile


174 posts in 2348 days

#4 posted 02-26-2015 02:51 PM

absolutely beautiful, great job!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5797 posts in 3009 days

#5 posted 02-26-2015 06:00 PM

Beautiful, functional, and so detailed. Bravo.

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

View Cweatherl's profile


62 posts in 1644 days

#6 posted 02-28-2015 11:49 PM

That looks beautiful! Great combination of styles and woods.

-- If you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will. Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865)

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