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Long exterior rail cap/ handrails

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Forum topic by Thecoriandude posted 07-16-2018 01:49 PM 288 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Thecoriandude

3 posts in 155 days


07-16-2018 01:49 PM

Got a question. I have a long straight rail cap/ handrail to install. The longest straight run will be 160’ long. The material is sapele 1 1/2” x 2 3/4”. My question/ concern is with that long of a run, do I need to worry about expansion over the length. Do I need to place expansion joints, if so at what distance? This will be in S Carolina in full sun most of the day. It will be mounted a cable rail system.
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-- If a woman can't find you handsome, she should at least find you handy!


4 replies so far

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PPK

1199 posts in 1009 days


#1 posted 07-16-2018 03:19 PM

Longitudinally, wood moves the least. But it still moves! See chart.

http://workshopcompanion.com/KnowHow/Design/Nature_of_Wood/2_Wood_Movement/2_Wood_Movement.htm

So if I’m doing the math right, at 0.01%, your run of 160’ could move 0.0164” Not a lot of movement. This is making a lot of assumptions though…

I guess if it were me, it would depend on what type of joints you are making. If the railing can move a little to allow for the wood to move a bit, I’d forego the expansion joints. On the other hand, if it were constrained on both ends, (like in between two solid walls) I’d consider expansion joints.

-- Pete

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John Smith

1481 posts in 362 days


#2 posted 07-16-2018 03:23 PM

in hospitals and other commercial buildings, I notice that the
wooden handrails have a 45 degree scarf joint and the brackets
that hold the rails allow for any longitudinal movement. (which is minimum like Pete says).

how are you going to install and join a 160 foot of rail ?
that alone would make a nice project post.

.

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

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John Smith

1481 posts in 362 days


#3 posted 07-16-2018 07:18 PM

moving on the finish:
if the rail is going to be in full sun a lot, plus a lot of sweaty hands on it,
what are your plans for the finish ?

.

-- I started out with nothing in life ~ and still have most of it left.

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Thecoriandude

3 posts in 155 days


#4 posted 07-16-2018 11:11 PM

The rail will be in full sun most of the day. I plan to use butt joints, a scarf joint has more surface for moisture to enter the wood, and my finish will be teak oil. The client wants it to as maintenance free as possible. This will be out in the open on both ends.

-- If a woman can't find you handsome, she should at least find you handy!

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