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  • Railing - need a little help

    I finally finished my railings this morning. The problem is that one side is a little too wobbly for my liking. It's safe, just a little too much play in it. I'm looking for some suggestions to make it a little more rigid. It's firmly bolted to the wall and the newel is welded to a base-plate that is bolted down. I also have two 4" weld tabs bolted into the side wall with a couple of out-riggers. I thought they would be enough.

    I was thinking of adding some gussets to the weld tabs to stiffen them a little or maybe adding a piece of 1/2" bar between the weld tab and the ground.

    Any suggestions?
    Matt.
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  • #2
    I would have put a post at the break at the top of the stairs. That rail will flex all over with any side force but it looks good.
    Nick
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    • #3
      Originally posted by monte55 View Post
      I would have put a post at the break at the top of the stairs. That rail will flex all over with any side force but it looks good.
      Exactly, I would have core drilled down 5",4"min. and anchor cemented also,but thats just me.I think i recomended this,when you asked awhile back.
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      • #4
        How is the lowest post fastened to the ground?
        Jack Olsen
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        • #5
          These brackets are too small. I think you need to weld tabs from the underneath of the bottom flatbar of the railing and anchor on the top of your stair thread.
          Good luck

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          • #6
            Yeah, the post at the edge of the landing would have been good. The reason I didn't put it in is because the stairs are very narrow and I was looking to hug the edge as close as possible. I didn't want to risk splitting the stone. Jack, the bottom newel is welded to a bolted down base-plate. I set the bolts with epoxy, they're solid.

            Do you think it would help if I put another angled support on the inside, just past the door swing? (The door from the house swings out) I was thinking of drilling a 1/2" bar down with epoxy and welding another angled support from it to the rail. I was also wondering if breaking the welds to the out-riggers then pre-loading the railing in either direction before welding them back would help.
            "A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing"

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            • #7
              flex railing problem

              Had same problem on a staircase last year. A part of my railing is almost a carbon copy of your design. My balusters were/are 1" square solid bar and the only hollow element was an extruded caprail and 1-1/2" channel underneath it. We did what some of the replies suggested, drilled down into the sub structure (this was indoor) and welded a 12" section of 1-1/2" round to the bottom, then epoxied the hole and dropped the bar in.

              It still FLEXED. We added outer scrolls attached like the ones you used, except we used more of them, they were 1/2 x 3/4 solid. Took some of the flex out.

              I found out what I was fighting (and you are too) is harmonic resonance (I think that is the term). You can find out more than you want to know by searching for that on the web.

              It can be solved (in my opinion) by inserting large newels about every 4 - 6 feet and anchoring them to the structure. They should have as large a base as possible yet still look appropriate. Cast iron is great as it does not flex much.

              Another solution is (if you can per the design) introduce a curve in the railing. Sometimes that does not work and likely would not in your design.

              James
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              • #8
                flexy railing

                Look at those outrigger supports, it's pretty easy to see why they don't give you much rigidity- any time you have flat bar in an assembly it's going to flex unless you have something to stop it- using angle iron or (as someone said above) a larger solid bar would be rigid- it can't really do the job it's asked to do as assembled.
                Also, when you're doing braces like that, think in terms of triangles- it's the simplest geometric form that's rigid, most framework is designed with that in mind.
                Looks fantastic, though, my wife would be beside herself if I built her something like that!
                Andy

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ElementFe View Post
                  Look at those outrigger supports, it's pretty easy to see why they don't give you much rigidity- any time you have flat bar in an assembly it's going to flex unless you have something to stop it- using angle iron or (as someone said above) a larger solid bar would be rigid- it can't really do the job it's asked to do as assembled.
                  Also, when you're doing braces like that, think in terms of triangles- it's the simplest geometric form that's rigid, most framework is designed with that in mind.
                  Looks fantastic, though, my wife would be beside herself if I built her something like that!
                  Andy
                  i couldnt agree anymore than that... the more dimensions a piece of metal has, the more rigid it is. flat bar is only width and thickness, angle is leg X leg and thickness, channel, well, you get the point hopefully. another leg at the break of your stairs would firm that up alot as well
                  welder_one

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                  • #10
                    Instead of using angled outriggers go with an upright mounted with two seperate stand-offs on your step base just clearing the side of your steps. Use similar square tube as your newels and buy a decorative cap for the top to match. Attach the uprights to a through section of your side and with the added attachment point at the base you shouldn't have any noticeable flex. As you now have your outriggers they are designed to pivot. With the second atachment point at the base you will take away that pivot action.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ElementFe View Post
                      Look at those outrigger supports, it's pretty easy to see why they don't give you much rigidity- any time you have flat bar in an assembly it's going to flex unless you have something to stop it- using angle iron or (as someone said above) a larger solid bar would be rigid- it can't really do the job it's asked to do as assembled.
                      Also, when you're doing braces like that, think in terms of triangles- it's the simplest geometric form that's rigid, most framework is designed with that in mind.
                      Looks fantastic, though, my wife would be beside herself if I built her something like that!
                      Andy
                      I definitely get it on the triangles, that's why I was thinking of a gusset on the weld tab. What i'm seeing is the flex is not in the diagonal but in the weld tab itself.

                      Any thoughts on pre-loading the railing? In other words, breaking the welds on the top of the outriggers, pulling the rail an inch or two out of plumb, then welding them back.

                      I'm also thinking of breaking the welds on the weld tabs and puliing them in closer to the wall so they exert less leverage on the weld tabs.
                      "A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing"

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                      • #12
                        NYS Stair and Handrail Codes

                        Matt: Do a Google search www.inspectapedia.com for NYS Stair and Handrail Codes.

                        You could fiddle around, doing this and that, and it still not be right. When it's built to Code Standards, there's no question as to it's strength and uniformity.
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                        • #13
                          Cut your losses on the angled uprights and go with straight upright standoffs that won't allow flex.
                          Attached Files
                          Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
                          Miller DialArc 250
                          Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
                          Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
                          Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
                          Jet 14 X 40 lathe...ditto
                          South Bend 9" lathe...yeah, got the change gears too
                          Logan 7" shaper
                          Ellis 3000 band saw
                          Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
                          Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
                          3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
                          Lots of dust bunnies
                          Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.

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                          • #14
                            Do what Roy suggested, but set it off a foot or so, cut and angle the vertical tube down to the lower mounting point (against the side of the concrete). Like he said, vertical tube should be the same size as the first post, bolted at ground level. Use square tube for the offsets, doesn't matter what size, 1" would be appropriate, whatever looks good. Bring the vertical members a foot or two higher than the railing, mount lights on top, wired into your porch light. Use 12v lawn lights if you're worried about shock hazard.

                            This would look like it has a purpose, other than holding up the railing, and you can very discretely bring the wires up thru the vertical members.

                            I'd make a picture, but I can't do autocad as good as Roy
                            Obviously, I'm just a hack-artist, you shouldn't be listening to anything I say .....

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                            • #15
                              The light bulb just went on...

                              Originally posted by WyoRoy View Post
                              Cut your losses on the angled uprights and go with straight upright standoffs that won't allow flex.
                              AAAAHHHA!!!!

                              Now I get it!!! Thanks. That makes total sense. It's that whole picture/1000 words thing. I will post up some pics after the fix!

                              Separately, thanks to all for the kind words.

                              Matt.
                              "A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing"

                              Millermatic 135
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                              Fully charged fire extinguisher

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