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Thread: handrail construction question

  1. #1
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    handrail construction question

    A guy I work with is wanting to make a handrail from some oak he has. It's 2" thick by 4.5 wide. He needs the total length to be 16' long. He has one piece that's 12' and another that's 6'. He asked me how I'd join the two together to get the total length. I thought about maybe pocket screws but use some that are about 2 - 2.5" long. I don't know if that would leave a gap at the top. I also mentioned dowels but gluing the two sections together might be a problem. Would you cut the two ends at 90 or 45 degrees?

    How would you do this?

  2. #2
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    John, you want to make a scarf joint. You cut both peices at a shallow angle.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails scarf joint.jpg  
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
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  3. #3
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    john i believe don has the right answer here. have seen a few done that way. and by doing that you will have the strongest joint you can have and can also maintain the position better than attempting a dowel set up..he will probably have to feather out the transition between the two.. with some sand paper or a scraper.
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  4. #4
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    Another vote for a scarf joint. Usually a 12 to 1 scope is used. Scarf joints are commonplace in boat building, especially for making 12' plywood from 8' plywood boards.

  5. #5
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    It looks like a scarf joint is the consensus so a scarf joint it is.

    How would you cut the angle? The 12 footer is one heavy sucker!

    Tony, when you say 12 to 1 since the board is 2" thick would that be a 24 inch cut?
    Last edited by John Daugherty; 05-09-2010 at 10:24 PM.

  6. #6
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    Jeff Horton shows a scarfing jig rig in this post.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
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    I think I'm gonna have to back up and punt. Jeff's jig would be great except I have to make the cut in the 4 1/2" direction. I can't use the table saw.

    Do y'all think the cut could be made on the bandsaw? Would it be accurate enough?

  8. #8
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    John, if you make a sled it should.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
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    Those are going to be some long unwieldy pieces to move around.

    Couldn't you use an angled fence and use a circular saw?
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  10. #10
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    Rough cut on the band saw and hand plane into a perfect fit. Fastest, easiest, cheapest. What's not to like?

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