Friday, October 8, 2010

Fix-it Friday: Railing WIP

So. This was a big stinking project. When we moved in here a year and a half ago, with two toddlers (one just learning to walk) this railing scared me to death and I thought "that will be the first thing we do." Well, after a lot of research, a lot of talking to old guys in hardware stores, a lot of deciding and worrying (and freaking out every time the littles draped their arms over it and looked down at me in the stairway), and a whole lot of prep work out in the shed, the railing is finally mostly up and done. I'm happy to say it is not only rock solid, but it doesn't look as crappy as I worried late at night that it would. Mr. Sycamore gallantly says it looks like it has been here as long as the house has. A note to myself, twenty years from now - "remember that railing project? raise a glass! you did it!"

Previous teeny tiny railing. This railing is 20' high, comes up to a toddler neck and a grownup mid-thigh. The idea was to raise it to 38"

Pickets going up. Because we don't have a drill press that can do square holes (and because the railing was custom ordered from a local mill that eked it out of odds and ends to save us money) we did two long pieces of 1/4 round and many many short pieces of lattice in between the pickets, to make square slots the pickets fit into. Glued and nailgunned together. The pickets were first screwed into the existing railing with two-sided dowel screws, like the kind you use on Ikea table legs. I have a lot more experience with Ikea table legs.

Once everything was glued and the ends screwed (into the framing (see the hole in the plaster?) and the newel-post screwed into its base) the whole thing cannot be shaken. I'm really tremendously proud of the final project. The pickets echo the bannister below and let light into the stairwell, while keeping toddlers out. Or me tripping carrying a big load of laundry. The stain almost matches - the top railing is a bit darker - but they are definitely in the same color scheme.

80% done. Now to fix that hole in the wall and sand down those countersunk screw holes.. lick of paint, final coat of shellac, and (several months from now) we'll be done.

Off now to the woods for some fall camping!
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  1. You are utterly awesome! Seriously, you're my hero/ine. What can't you do?
    PS I see that wall hanging...can we have a full frontal view?

  2. Love it, Carolyn, a super project that turned out beautifully. We are very proud of your work! Dad and Mom


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