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Thread: Help- How to figure out stair handrail join angle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Help- How to figure out stair handrail join angle

    Hi- hope someone can help me out with this one.

    Bulding a stair handrail for a set of stairs with a landing. How do I figure out what angle to cut the hand rail at so they both join smoothly?
    I found one website where it suggested trial and error but that doesn't sound smart. Isn't there an equation I can use?

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Penetanguishene, ON
    Blog Entries
    Real Name
    Ummmm....Frank? :-)

    Default Re: Help- How to figure out stair handrail join angle

    Mount your brackets and set the uncut rails in place. Slide them together until they butt up against each other, measure the angle, divide by two and set your saw to that
    I dream of a better world, one where chickens can cross roads without having their motives questioned.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    London ON

    Default Re: Help- How to figure out stair handrail join angle

    For a simple straight run of stairs terminating in an a landing. Cut 2 strips of plywood. Lay one level on the landing and one on the stairs so you touch all the tread nosings. The intersection of those 2 strips of ply divided by 2 is your miter angle. If the plywood is ripped to the same width you just mark the intersection points on the top and bottom of the ply draw a line between your points and that's your miter angle. Obviously the wider the strips the more accurate the marks will be. You have to watch the length of the handrail though before you cut your miter because the miter angle will remain the same but the height of the handrail on the horizontal will be set higher than the height of the handrail that follows the stair pitch.

    When I build stairs or do handrailing I make a pitch block that has the miter angle and the plumb cut cut into it. I can just set my saw to the pitch block. I always cut and assemble my handrails first then lay them on the stair tread to make sure they are going to fit. If they fit flat on the stair they will fit when lifted in place. One caveat though, you have to allow for baseboards and out of plum walls at the termination. I then install two handrail brackets to a chalked line (a chalk line filled with baking soda on finished paint) on exactly the same pitch as the stairs, install the handrail on those two brackets then install all the other brackets with the handrail in place. That way you can tweak the railing a bit.
    Last edited by dave_k; 06-18-2011 at 03:54 PM.

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