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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Log Railings


Log railings are available in a wide variety of sizes and textures and they are a virtually essential component of many rustic homes or cabins.  They are typically available in two wood species, pine and cedar.  Cedar is an excellent choice for exterior applications because of its natural rot-resistant properties.  However, cedar log railings are quite a bit more expensive than the pine alternative.  Pine log rails are inexpensive, issue free for interior use and with proper care can last indefinitely in exterior applications as well.   So, if you have the budget you may prefer cedar as a hassle free alternative, but since most log railings are regularly stained and sealed to keep them looking new anyway, pine works just as well.  To put it another way, both cedar and pine will discolor and fade with exposure to the weather, sun and time.  Staining and sealing them not only helps to maintain that “new look” but also acts to protect and preserve the wood from the elements thereby basically eliminating the necessity of the natural rot-resistance inherent in cedar.   I should mention that both cedar and pine readily accept stain for a beautiful finish in a virtually endless variety of colors.  So if you are on a budget you might want to consider saving your money for the inevitable refinishing that any wood product will require a few years down the road.  If, however, you don’t mind the weathered look and don’t want the maintenance then cedar is your obvious choice, though it will cost you more up front.

Interior Stair Railing Design

Floor Level Handrail with Goose Neck Fitting

If you are looking for a way to add a little character to your floor level balustrade here is an idea that gives a new purpose to a standard stair part.  Designing a distinct and memorable balustrade from the myriad components available definitely involves some creative thought.  There is more to it than picking the right profile; you must also consider their quality and how well they will harmonize in the complete architectural design.  I’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to point our customers in the right direction, to get them asking the right questions about the big picture, and so forth.  Today, I’d like to make a very simple and specific suggestion.  In addition to the standard components that make up interior stair railing design such as Newel Posts, Wood or Wrought Iron Balusters, Stair Treads and all of the accompanying accessories and moldings, here is a suggestion you might find interesting for your floor level balustrade.

Handrail fittings are typically used in two scenarios, as a decorative termination to a handrail and to make a transition between two handrails that intersect at different angles.  For example, the most common termination fittings are Volutes and Turnouts while Quarter Turns, Easings, and Goosenecks are standard transition fittings.  So now for the big idea :)  Instead of using transition fittings as they are intended, you might consider using them to add a three-dimensional detail to your floor level balustrade.  If you are planning a post-to-post system (if you are unclear what this is read more here), then instead of having the handrail terminate straight into the post, use fittings to give it a little flair just before the attachment.  Because this is such rare practice, which is good and bad, I don’t have many pictures.  Here is a before and after of one of’s customers remodel projects.  While this balustrade is in a small space, the change and the goose neck fittings make a huge visual impact.