wood railing on front porch


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Old 06-22-14, 03:32 PM
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wood railing on front porch

Hello,

Iím looking to install a railing on my front porch (top picture). Something similar to whatís pictured below (middle picture ). Iíve been looking around and canít figure out how others have attached the horizontal pieces to the column. The crude sketchUp illustration Iíve drawn below is what Iím planning to do (bottom picture). The illustration shows how I believe the column to be constructed, i.e. an inner load baring 4x4. The DIY member joecaption1 helped me verify this last year. I plan on toenailing the horizontal piece with long screws to the column. Is this the best way?

Thanks!

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Old 06-22-14, 04:23 PM
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What is the column made of? How thick are the walls? I would use 2 1/4" or longer exterior trim head screws to fasten the rail to the column. Example 2-1/4 in. x 7 1 lb. Stainless Steel Trim Head Screw, MAXS62786 at The Home Depot - Tablet
 
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Old 06-22-14, 04:45 PM
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I read your other post and don't be so sure there is a 4x4 inside, unless you have explored it. Hollow wooden posts can indeed be load bearing. I sold them for 5 years. It's all about geometry and physics.

You'd need to get a long thin drill bit or use a probe in one of the bad areas to be sure.

Can't tell from the pics, but I imagine your columns taper slightly bottom to top. That means not only will you have to cut the circumference in your rail, but also account for the taper for a perfect fit.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 05:12 PM
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@chandler, the columns are made of wood. They're old and it looks like the outside casing is about 1/2" thick. I just did some additional exploring and I was wrong about there being a 4x4 load bearing center. There is a small hole at the bottom of one of the columns, I was able to get a picture of what the inside looks like. The picture shows the curve of the slats from the inside. Hmm, this changes my toenail idea. How is there no inner load bearing member?

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Old 06-22-14, 05:15 PM
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@Gunguy45, you're right. I just posted about that and yes they do taper at the top. However, the railing I plan to do will not go above 50" where the taper begins.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 05:23 PM
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If the columns are repaired and sound, no problem screwing to them. The curve of the rail will help with strength. You'll need a center support as well I imagine.

I'd have to say though, with the splits and damage in the other post, I'd really consider replacing them with FG or poly columns.
 
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Old 06-22-14, 05:35 PM
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@Gunguy45, thanks for the help, I appreciate you looking at my past thread. I do plan for a center support to prevent sag. As for replacing the columns, it's an option but not an ideal one as I'd have to replace all three. I don't mean to change the topic of the thread, but how would I go about legitimately repairing the cracks?
 
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Old 06-23-14, 04:48 AM
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Various epoxy repair systems like Abatron, West Systems, Advanced Repair Technology. Cleaning out the paint and debris from the cracks where the column staves meet is critical. Dry conditions are critical. Results can be very good depending on your skills and patience.
 
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Old 06-23-14, 04:52 AM
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Cleaning out the paint and debris from the cracks where the column staves meet is critical. Dry conditions are critical.
Worth repeating!! The success of whatever patching material you use will depend on it! You can't get a good bond to a dirty or damp substrate. Any/all rot needs to be removed first.
 
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Old 06-26-14, 04:48 PM
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You weren't kidding, West System isn't cheap. I'll post a picture when it's repaired.
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Old 06-27-14, 05:30 AM
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Just be careful when you fill the voids, some of these fillers are difficult to sand so you don't want to overfill to any great extent. You can also thin out the epoxy itself with some acetone and brush it into the raw wood to develop deeper penetration into the fibers. You can allow that to dry and then proceed with the remainder of your task .

I use the West material along with several others on nearly all of my restoration work. It is certainly more time consuming and expensive than the standard repair job but customers whom I have done it for are very happy with the results.
 
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Old 06-27-14, 08:33 AM
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@calvert, understood. I've already mixed some to familiarize myself with the process and to find a good filler ratio. I tested on a vertical gap on some scrap, it sanded surprisingly well.
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Old 08-24-14, 11:20 AM
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Finished a while back, just now finding time to post back. Still needs some touch up epoxy\paint work to do on the split collar molding. Thanks for the help!
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Old 08-24-14, 12:40 PM
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Looks awesome. Thanks for the update.
 
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Old 08-24-14, 04:40 PM
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Very nice! Looks like it turned out really well and I dig the baluster pattern!
 
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Old 08-24-14, 06:04 PM
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Glad things came out well, now just because the repairs all worked out don't forget to do the yearly maintenance check.

I have worked on many restoration projects and one of my first points of discussion with customers is generally focused on the follow up after the repairs are made. Work I do is generally long lasting but I always advise them to have me or someone qualified take a look every year for any issues that may have developed with either repaired or previously existing trim pieces.
 
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Old 08-24-14, 06:14 PM
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Not involved in this thread but had to post. WOW! that looks great!
 
 

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