|Flash forward to the finished rail.|
Hand/Toe Rails from 2x Stock
A tall, solid toerail is a fine thing on a plunging deck. when you like deck crown as high as we do, it's a positive must!
And, we figure, if we're building such a thing, why not shape it like a handrail?
Handrails give a place to get a good positive grip from anywhere along the sides. If we go swimming - intentionally or not, this is handy. If we stand on the guard for any reason (and there are many), it's handy. If we wish to tie a line anywhere along its length, it's handy. AND they drain water just fine.
They're just plain handy!
2x stock works just great. It's thick enough for good strength, and (carriage) bolt holes don't take too big a bite. It's a wide enough base for good stability without further ado. For reasons unclear to me, a couple of 2x4s have been cheaper than a single 2x8, which is why you'll see us working around the clamps.
We like to cut stock to 3in, with half grip/half hole. That's enough to fit mittened hands with a comfortable grip. Being a bit shorter than 2x4, it doesn't stress the bolts with as much leverage, and we've felt 1/4in galvanized (hot dip) has been plenty. They could easily take up to 1/2in, however, if you prefer beefier.
We prefer to mount ours perpendicular to the deck, so our offcut is square edged... makes a good early cut from CVG for use as batten stock. Later it can be recycled as shelf railing, lattice stock and the like.
NOTE: We splurge on CVG with good grain since it may have to bear a heavy load, and is our 'window dressing trim'. We usually leave it unfinished, letting the red cedar silver out. But any solid lumber would do.
We like 6in minimum ends and give them two or more bolts. We use a 9in opening, which we think of as 'paired' with a 3in post for 12in/pair. Only consideration is that that last post is part of an end.
To figure layout, we use the following approach:
Let LENGTH be the total length of rail.
Let N be the number of open/post pairs (feet)
[Or total length of open/post pairs if using other numbers.]
Let P be the post width.
END.LENGTH = (LENGTH - N - P) / 2
Start layout at one end.
For the rest, I'll let pictures do the talking.
|Each rectangle borders two, mirrored openings.|
We find the rectangle helps keep us oriented, since the holes space evenly...
Otherwise easy to lose track in the middle.
|Here we've started holes from one side...|
will flip to finish.
|This 'armbuster' half inch drill lives up to its name...|
We quickly learned to do most of the cutting with it,
but finish off with a more docile 3/8in drill.
|Here we're beginning the plunge-cut/handsaw pass|
connecting the half-hole at each end of an opening
(we see full holes since the pieces are mirrored).
|Edges routed with round-over bit and hand sanded.|
A bit of rasp-work, here and there, to clean up any rough bits.
|Clamps off and done.|