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Thread: SeanMuprhy265 Project 1 Handrails Almost Summer Contest

  1. #1

    Default SeanMuprhy265 Project 1 Handrails Almost Summer Contest

    This project is for my church. Some ladies had a complaint (a good one!) about the current handrails, because they had to take one step down before they could reach the handrail. The current handrails were an afterthought and made from 4"pipe.

    The rails were 30" from the bottom to the stairs.





    Harbor Freight Tubing Notcher




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  2. #2

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    Here was my original drawing and what I had planned, but someone else furnished the pipe and told me to match what they already had.


    Mr Ray, he worked me like a dog!!! I would have hated to work with him when he was younger!








    The heat and the rain won the battle and I could not finish today. I have to cut the ends of and weld everything together. I used my PowerArc 140ST to tack everything in place. We used the two end post to center everything, and then I semi welded the center landing on my welding table. Handrails are fun and they LOOK easy, but they can be little tough even the simple ones.
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  3. #3

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    Nice work my friend. Interesting system you've got for notching ... looks like it really works well; sure beats the way I've done it before. (angle grinder, I think next time I'll try my plasma cutter)
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeanMurphy265 View Post
    Handrails are fun and they LOOK easy, but they can be little tough even the simple ones.
    Looks good... Sure don't look easy to me... There are a lot of angles there. I would have got them close and filled in the gaps... There are going to be a lot of happy old ladies hitting on you!!!!!!
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  5. #5
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    I like your original design, altho I agree the final product fits in better with the existing rails. Your drawing has a bend at the ends, to extend the rail and avoid catching clothes or handbags... is there a plan to finish the ends?

    What software did you use for the drawing? That provides so much detail, so cleanly.
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  6. #6

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    Yeah, the drawing looks good! I like the hoop at the end on your drawing.

    Did you make the bolting mounts or are they something they furnished? Looks like the pipe threads into them?
    Last edited by CGCINC; 07-19-2012 at 01:33 PM. Reason: Silliness
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  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CGCINC View Post
    Yeah, the drawing looks good! I like the hoop at the end on your drawing.

    Did you make the bolting mounts or are they something they furnished? Looks like the pipe threads into them?
    why did he reduce the size of the pipe? i know that churches usually want work done for free. was this to bring the span between the to original single lines up to code? the span between them would not pass in most places, just curious if you have overzealous code enforcement.

  8. Default

    i am aware it was not your job; that said it is a lot easier fabricating rail in house and then sending it out with an installer or installing it yourself. i'll bet pops had you scrambling.

  9. #9

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    The plates were furnished and we threaded them on the pipe and then measured 30" from the end of the flange to make our cut. The existing pipe was not up to code, because it was too large in diameter, and you cannot grip the hand rail if you are falling. The new pipe 1-1/4" is up to code, I believe that is 1-3/4" diameter.
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  10. #10

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    We finished the rail up today, took down the old rails, and it looks much nicer.

    I had a couple of gaps so I drug my Imig 200 up and down the stairs.




    I am build a got trikes bender, and I had ordered a die for this job. It has not arrived so we went to a muffler shop and had them bend two loops for the ends. They got them close and I cut them to fit. I would have liked to ran a second rail, but they came out nice.


    Here's a before
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGCINC View Post
    Yeah, the drawing looks good! I like the hoop at the end on your drawing.

    Did you make the bolting mounts or are they something they furnished? Looks like the pipe threads into them?
    I believe those are standard plumbing floor flanges.

    Came out very nice. Funny that they wanted you to match the existing rails, then they take out the existing rails. Seems kinda pointless. They should have gone with your original design.
    Last edited by Rambozo; 07-19-2012 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Problem solved!
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  12. #12

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    LOL! I used a Harbor Freight tube notcher with a lenox 1-3/4" hole saw. I'm going to cut a piece of 16 gauge to shim up the angle finder and it will be dead on. It's not a bad notcher for the money. I've owned it for over a year and it's the first time I used it; I picked it up on sale around $30.00. Considering that I was notching pipe instead of tube I'm impressed.
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  13. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SeanMurphy265 View Post
    The plates were furnished and we threaded them on the pipe and then measured 30" from the end of the flange to make our cut. The existing pipe was not up to code, because it was too large in diameter, and you cannot grip the hand rail if you are falling. The new pipe 1-1/4" is up to code, I believe that is 1-3/4" diameter.
    yes, the 1 1/4 is 1.66 od (sch 40). your 1 1/2 is 1.9. most rail fittings are manufactured with these two pipe sizes in mind. i am surprised that you were not forced to modify the two larger single line rails. normally a building department, if you got called for it, would ask for a single piece of continuous grip rail along the sides. this would probably pull you in as long as your elevation from the nose of the tread was within accetpable parameters.

    if you are looking for work, rails can be a good way to make money. some shops will hire outside installers to do their rail installs; particularly if they have welding equipment and a core drill. some parts of the country are less obsessive about ADA compliance.

  14. #14

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    We looked at modifying the two existing rails, but they were not welded to the steel column inside the fake wooden column. We talked about rolling some pipe to fit the contour of the white columns, but it would not have good. We through around all kinds of scenarios to work with the existing rails, but everyone agreed they looked like crap. The handrails were added in the early 80's, and the building was built in the 30's and then reworked in the 60's. If we have to add more handrails we are going out to the sides. Not to mention some of the anchors were coming out, and some of the anchors were lag bolts. In the end I'm glad we started over, because the one rail looks cleaner, and it sits center of the front door.

    Our local codes are a little weird. The church is in the co-called historical district for what that's worth. Also if the project is under $5,000.00 you do not need a permit.
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  15. Default

    they took the other rail down?? amazing what a church can get away with. i'm not belittling the organization just pointing out a fact there must be 10 code violations there. do you get snow and ice in the winter? just so you don't think i'm blowing smoke i have done a load of stairs and rails over the years. for 2 1/2 years i traveled around florida doing big jobs. the last one was the bridge rail over the intracoastal at speedway blvd in daytona; i had the labor contract.

    the drawing of the rail was good and if i were installing rail there i would have used a two line but it would have needed grip rail also. there are requirements for type of rails and the span between them. ADA, local code, OSHA, NFPA. obviously a church in a small town is going to get a pass but if three people were walking abreast on that stair at the conclusion of service and there was ice on the steps; one misstep and nothing to grab could take out several or more members. just a thought, it's a long way to the bottom. is there a ramp for the wheelchair bound members?

  16. Default

    i see. that is interesting. think though, if the rail was built to code it would have been in excess of five k and would have needed a permit. personally i don't like anchors for rail in heavily trafficked areas. if there is concrete core drilling is better. if you are installing on steel stair bolts, or welding will secure it well enough. that idea of coming around the column with rail mounted on brackets would have looked pretty good but you are going to have to be pretty good at rail work to undertake that. well, in the end it is experience; next job builds off the one before it.

    weird but not that long ago someone posted on the miller/projects board about a rail install at a school in mass. it was riddled with code violations and my response was similar tothe above. even the stair sequencing was similar except for the width; your stair is much wider.

    code requirements are not always to the detriment of the contractor and user, there are some valid reasons for their implementation.
    Last edited by fdcmiami; 07-19-2012 at 10:59 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fdcmiami View Post
    personally i don't like anchors for rail in heavily trafficked areas. if there is concrete core drilling is better.
    Especially when the skateboarders start doing grinds down it.
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  18. #18

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    It's Mississippi we get very little snow if any, and that means no snow equipment. If we get flurry's everything shut's down! Unfortunately the church has been grandfathered in as far as handicap access is concerned. They remodeled one building and had to get the bathrooms compliant (which is good), but the building is two story with no elevator. The building in the picture has an elevator and is somewhat handicap friendly (the bathrooms are not complaint).

    You have to understand that no one builds a building like the one in the picture anymore. I believe that is the 2nd building in that location built in the 1930's. They were going to tare it down in the 1950's and re-build (for whatever reason). They brought in a wrecking ball to demolish the building, and after three tries the ball never damaged the building. They decided they should do some remodeling because they could not tare it down.

    The two outside rails looked like crap, several flanges were broken, it was a safety concern, and they needed to come down.

    The overall length is 25' and you could never get $5,000.00 for hand rails in this area! Even if I had built them the way I wanted; I would have charged $1,100.00 labor and materials. That would have been a very good profit for me, and I could have paid someone to help and still come out good. Because it falls under the $5,000.00 limit set by the city they were able to replace what they had. It is what you call a loophole!
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Especially when the skateboarders start doing grinds down it.
    Not to mention these guys.

    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

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