Porch Railing

5 tools

I wanted a railing that would go with this 1831 house. Since I couldn't find one I decided to make my own. I started with construction grade 2x3's for the field of the main railing. For the angled pieces I cut the 2x3 in half, they aren't square one side will be slightly thicker than 1 3/8 so be sure that you position everything so that the 1 3/8 dimension of the field pieces lines up with the 1 3/8 thickness of the upper and lower rails if not than the angled pieces will be wider than the rails. I got 14 pieces of the angled ones out of a single 2x3 split in half. The angled pieces are about 12 1/4 long and the verticle ones are 2x3 about 23" long. Be sure to add an extra 2" for a 1" long mortise on the top and bottom. 2x6's were used for the bottom rail and 2x4's for the top. The very top of it. the part that lays horizontal is also a 2x6 that was cut down to 3 5/8 wide. A better use of materials would be a 2X8 cut down. I ran all the lumber through a planer to make it about 1 3/8 in thick. It also made the lumber look finished. I used a stick to keep the spacing even instead of measuring for every cut. I clamped both the top and bottom together and laid out the lines to mortise. I used a 1/2" router with an upward spiral 3/8" bit. To start with I made the basic railing with the uprights. After this was made and glued together I put the angled pieces in. To get the correct angle I simply put a piece of the cut down 2x3 with square ends under the frame and traced what the angle should be. The farther you make the upright pieces the greater the angle will be. This can be a problem since miter gauges only go to 45 degrees, so experiment a little before you start building the real thing. On a few of the angles I need to use a band saw to cut them. Don't get ahead of yourself cut each one as you go along. To make the little "ribbons" that go around the rails I used 3/4" thick pine I cut it to width ( 1 1/4") and then built 3 sides of it using a scrap of railing to make sure that it was wide enough to go around the finished railing. I then slipped this "ribbon" on and nailed the final side on. I used an 18 gauge air nailer to nail things together with 1 1/2" nails. I don't think you can do the job without one. The mortises were glued with Gorilla glue but no nails. Be sure to have enough bar clamps handy to clamp it together after gluing. Everything was primed and painted once before cutting to size and then painted when it was complete. This saved hours of time. Once I got going each section took about three hours to build. I built about 40 feet of it for about $110 dollars


Planer 18 gauge nail gun Plunge router 3/8&quotupward spiral bit or mortise machine2x3 2x4.2x6Exterior gluetri square Bar clamps

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