long railing

I need to make a railing for my front porch, but the length of the porch is about 186 inches long (~16 feet). So far as I know that's longer than a single 2x4, which is what the railing is now. The current solution is to have 2 2x4's come together nailed to a vertical stringer but that looks crappy and the railing is wobbly and uneven.
So how do I make a nice stable top railing out of 2 pieces of lumber coming together and still keep the same stringer dimensions? The only thing I could think of would be 2 stringers joined together to provide a solid mounting surface for both rails but then it would look uneven as I would have like 15 normal stringers and 1 double stringer.
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I have seen 16 foot 2x4's just not at lows or hopeless depot and also not very straight either or you could bore a hole in the middle of two boards and insert a 3/4 dowell rod with some good urethane glue. I have used also, 1 1/2 inch aluminum angle to splice them together on the bottom and side with good success.

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On Tue, 13 Jun 2006 17:20:26 -0700, "Eigenvector"

Many hand rails are made from laminated pieces which provides both interesting curves and incredible strength. You could do something similar by ripping 1/4" strips of 2x4s, glue them using outdoor wood glue, and clamp them with as many clamps as you can get your hands on. Trim off the edges, sand and sand and sand, then finish. A staggered butt joint here and there won't make much noticeable difference. As you glue up the strips make sure they are positioned against a straightedge (I might use a snapped chalk line).
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wrote:

You could also use 2 (or even 3) layers of 1x4's and stagger the joints. It might even look better than a single 2x4. Don Young
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wrote:

foot 1x4's laminated together - the shorter length would make it easier to find straighter boards and since it's not exactly 16 feet, cutting 2 1x4's short and using them to stagger the joint would look attractive and make the joint that much stronger - say I could use a staggered diagonal or V-notch cut to stabilize the side to side motion.
That's not a bad idea. The only issue would be dealing with uneven cupping of the boards over time - and even glue wouldn't prevent that from happening.
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You should have no problem finding 16' 2x4's. But we have built a number of railings for porches and decks, and there is no way a 2x4 railing 16' long is going to be suitable. I don't like to use them over a 10' span.
I would build the railing with a 2x6 stretcher placed vertical at the top, and capped with a horizontal 2x6 or 5/4 x 6 if you want a thinner look. The bottom stretcher could probably be a 2x4 as long as it was supported to the deck with blocking in the center.
Spindles should be placed with no more than a 4" gap between them by most building codes. The top rail should be at least 36" above the deck.
Another method would be to add another post in the center, one just high enough to support the railing.
-- Dennis
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