Saturday, August 14, 2010

Making a Hand Rail

Or I should say
'Routers are Fricken Coooooool!!!!!!'

So, years ago I bought my wife this super fab dewalt combo router kit. It came with the plunge and fixed base and a set of really nice router bits....but has she seen fit to use them??? Noooooo.

I found a really good use for the router. We need an official 'graspable' handrail for our back stairs. A plain 2by6 on edge does not count. So, I thought, hey, I'll route us up one lickety split....course I've never used a real router before (just the dremel attachment)...

Super-Fab router with set of Freud bits.




Here are some test routes on a scrap 2by4...see the burning? The tear-outs? The uneven routing? Hey, that's what test boards are all about.




More test routes.




I was going to originally use the bit that's chucked into the router here... Cept its not a plunge bit and since the cut out for the hand rail has to start at least 1.25" in from the top of the rail there was no way I could use this bit.
Luckily, I live five minutes from a pretty interesting woodworking store called, 'Japan Wood Worker' I was worried that they were only going to sell pull saws and high end chisels but they had a huge selection of router bits with 1/2" shanks. I chose this profile as I thought it would give me a 'fancy' handrail.




Here's the set-up for the real deal run on the redwood 2by6. You can see the tester 2by6 on the right. The router combo pack also came with the edge guide you see installed here... Wow, was I glad it did. Routing in the direction I was (towards the camera) the router was forcing the guide against the wood (which was good cause I couldn't figure out any way to clamp it that wouldn't of gotten in the way of the router as it completely covered the surface.




Being very patient and taking only 1/8" passes I was able to route out a fancy looking hand rail with no tear out and no burning.




Look!! Its graspable!! It actually felt pretty comfortable in my hand...except the top edges...they were too sharp.




Out comes the 1/4" round over bit and after one pass it looked like this.



Here's the finished handrail.
Not too shabby yea?



Ummmmm, comfy! I'm going to have to knock down the top edge of the routed channel as it feels a bit sharp on the fingers. But this just means going over it a couple of times with a sanding block...it is redwood so its soft.



Here's an after shot of the shop after all this routing. Man, routing sure is a fun way to make wood chips....I'm glad our boiler and water heater are direct vent appliances or I might be in some trouble...I'm covered in redwood dust....lets see if any contact dermatitis sets in...probably not unfortunately....not enough tanins in this new growth redwood...



The Screw UP....
I always gotta do one...no I didn't lose any digits.... Because the hand rail starts 1.75" down from the top of the rail I have a lot less wood below the 'graspable' part to secure to the stair posts.....and since I'll have to be mounting it higher on the posts (so the posts don't interfere with the graspable part) Its going to be too high for code (over 38") So, I'm probably going to have to go back to my posts and cut ~2" off the top of every one!

Hurray!!!!

1 comment:

Mom said...

Nice going on the handrail. I knew you could do it.