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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default 90 degree angle handrail cuts

    I built a square spiral staircase; three right turns with winders. I am trying to build my own handrail and am having difficulty with the 90 degree turn cuts. Does anyone have a formula for making these cuts, or can I use a quick square and if so, where can I get information on how to do it?

    Tom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,675

    Default Re: 90 degree angle handrail cuts

    It's pretty simple to use a compound miter saw for this kind of a cut. First, set your saw at 45 degrees to the back fence (1/2 of 90 degrees). Then set the tilt equal to the angle of the rail. So if the rail is 30 degrees off of horizontal, set the tilt to 30 degrees off of vertical (60 off horizontal).

    But stair railings are typically more complicated than that because of the profile of the railing, and I've never built any. Usually what I've seen done is to bring the railing down a flight and bring the very end of the railing out flat to the corner, make the corner on the flat (simple miter), then angle down the next flight. Or, come down a flight, miter downward to a twist (this requires a carved vertical piece), then miter the bottom of the twist to the rail on the next flight.

    You might just do three sections of railing with a gap between each section.

    Hopefully someone with more experience than me can give you some instruction.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: 90 degree angle handrail cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Fencepost View Post
    It's pretty simple to use a compound miter saw for this kind of a cut. First, set your saw at 45 degrees to the back fence (1/2 of 90 degrees). Then set the tilt equal to the angle of the rail. So if the rail is 30 degrees off of horizontal, set the tilt to 30 degrees off of vertical (60 off horizontal).

    But stair railings are typically more complicated than that because of the profile of the railing, and I've never built any. Usually what I've seen done is to bring the railing down a flight and bring the very end of the railing out flat to the corner, make the corner on the flat (simple miter), then angle down the next flight. Or, come down a flight, miter downward to a twist (this requires a carved vertical piece), then miter the bottom of the twist to the rail on the next flight.

    You might just do three sections of railing with a gap between each section.

    Hopefully someone with more experience than me can give you some instruction.
    Thanks, that makes a whole lot of sense.

    Tom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,675

    Default Re: 90 degree angle handrail cuts

    Or have the rail meet a post in the corner.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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