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Stair Rails - Another church project

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Project by richgreer posted 696 days ago 991 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I thought this would be an easy project. I was wrong. I did 4 flights of stairs and the measurements for each flight were different. Also, lining up with anchors in the wall can be tricky. Nonetheless, we got it done.

This is 8/4 red oak. There are dowels embedded in each of the joints. There are bolts connecting the rail to the wall, with a 2.5” spacer to keep them out from the wall. The bolts are countersunk .75” and the holes filled with plugs that, as much as possible, match the grain around them. Finished with poly.

This is not a high profile, spectacular project. It is very practical and its purpose is safety.

May I say that these rails are VERY solid and I think that is important.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.





11 comments so far

View SuburbanDon's profile

SuburbanDon

482 posts in 1597 days


#1 posted 696 days ago

Yeah it seems like a simple thing to do but I can appreciate the challenges. Looks nice.

-- --- Measure twice, mis-cut, start over, repeat ---

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14821 posts in 1791 days


#2 posted 696 days ago

Rich, I agree things that seem easy can get tricky! Well you nailed so to speak. Great job on the look and saftey! First thing I noticed was how well you did with trying to mach the plugs grain. For some reason I always llok at the pics first then read about it. I like to look for things befroe knowing how they did it.

Great post as always!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10598 posts in 1293 days


#3 posted 696 days ago

Those are both functional and very attractive. Now you need to turn some collection bowls/platters. Your signature appears everywhere in your church. Good on you!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3623 posts in 1767 days


#4 posted 695 days ago

How many holes in the cement block, and how many carbide drill bits?.............(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15439 posts in 1469 days


#5 posted 695 days ago

Excellent and worthy project, Rich. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1677 days


#6 posted 695 days ago

Jim – 19 holes into the cement blocks. We initially used a 5/16th bit through the wood to get a starter hole. Then we used a 5/8th bit to bore the hole out to the correct size for the anchors. Of course, we used a hammer drill. We only had to use 1 bit of each size.

Our bolts were 5/16 in diameter and on each flight we had to bore the hole in the wood out to 3/8th to give us some “wiggle room” to line things up on 1 or 2 of the holes. I don’t think that compromised the integrity of the rails very much, if any. There are only 2 people (and everyone who reads this) that will know about that.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View gfadvm's profile

gfadvm

10598 posts in 1293 days


#7 posted 695 days ago

Rich- were you concerned that Tapcon screws wouldn’t hold well enough? I love em cause they are so easy.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3623 posts in 1767 days


#8 posted 694 days ago

I have an old corded hammer drill which I have used for that function over the years, and they are the ticket. I am always amazed to see how well the carbide bits hold up, but I thought you would probably have gone through more than one. Very attractive railings. They will out live the building probably, so maybe someone will have the common sense to salvage the lumber…...........

I love to tell the story of some solid oak boxes my son made for the day’s pulled charts for our office in 1985. They were commisioned at our supervisors request. Made the dividers out of two pieces of 3/16 one sided oak veneer plywood glued back to back. I helped him glue his large sheet together and use cement blocks for pressure. Then he cut dados on the RAS in 3/4 inch solid oak. Boxes were glued, nailed and countersunk. The boxes were finished with 3 or 4 coats of spar varnish. 27 years later they are still in use and look like brand new. They will be in use for another few years while we still use the old charts, but the EMR is replacing the paper.

Oak doesn’t rust, and keeps looking better over time.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1677 days


#9 posted 694 days ago

gfadvm – I’m also a fan of tapcons screws and have used them often. I usually use tapcon screws when I am penetrating solid concrete (e.g. going into a concrete floor). In this case we were going into concrete blocks which are hollow. You are only penetrating about 1.25” of material.

I suspect that tapcons would have been okay, but I think the anchors we used are just a bit more solid.

As an FYI, I have broken a tapcon screw with my impact driver. It’s rare, but it does happen. When that happens there is nothing you can do but cover it up with a wooden plug and leave it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1677 days


#10 posted 694 days ago

Regarding Oak – - If anyone is familiar with my projects, you will know that I have done numerous projects for my church and every one of them is done primarily in oak (often with a bloodwood trim or accent). In my opinion, oak is what is right for these church projects. However, I have to say that oak is not my favorite wood to work with and I am really getting tired of working in oak.

On a recent project for one of my sons, and on a current project for the other son, I am using walnut. What a delight to work with.

FYI – my current project is a cradle because my other son, and his girlfriend, are about to provide us with our first grandchild.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3623 posts in 1767 days


#11 posted 688 days ago

Sorry for the late entry but been out of town, and no time for email. Great to hear about the grandchild….....should be a lot of fun for everyone. Oak definitely have its issues, but it lasts.

Now you have another focus for your projects…............variety is usually a good thing.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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