Handrail Joint

Hi all,
I'm building some handrails for a staircase and need to join two pieces of 3" wide x 2" thick walnut.
One length is 90" the other 24". My initial thought is to use a half lap joint, length of 2" which would give me an overall length of 112".
I plan on using my table saw and stacked dado in combination with a sled and sliding board for the long piece, I don't have a RAS.
The short piece will work in the sled too.
I'm striving to get the least visible glue line that I can.
Is this the right approach?
I'm looking for any other recommendations regarding joint type and technique.
Thanks for your time,
David.
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I would use a butt joint. You could put a 45* joint on it if you wanted to mess with it. Get the strength by routing a pocket into the bottom of the rails to install a steel reinforcement/alignment block.
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DanG
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David wrote:
> I'm building some handrails for a staircase and need to join two pieces of > 3" wide x 2" thick walnut.
<snip>
You need to scarf the two pieces.
Definitely not a table saw task.
Can be done quite nicely with a router and a suitable jig.
Lew
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Thanks for the suggestions,
Lew, if I use a scarf joint would a SCMS be a good choice?
What angle would suit a 3" wide x 2" thick piece of stock?
David.
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David wrote:
> > Thanks for the suggestions, > > Lew, if I use a scarf joint would a SCMS be a good choice? > > What angle would suit a 3" wide x 2" thick piece of stock?
A decent scarf is usually at least 8:1.
Thus, a 2" thick piece would have a scarf joint of 16" length.
Go to the library, get Fred Bingham's boat "Practical Yacht Joinery".
Does a great job describing how to cut a scarf but also how to build the jigs.
A SCMS would be of no value for this job.
Lew
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Lew, thanks for the information, I'll go and look it up.
I really appreciate the expertise that is found on this newsgroup.
Thanks to dozens of contributors I've read over the years, I've gleaned enough motivation, confidence and knowledge to tackle projects that I wouldn't have otherwise.
David.
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Note that you could also rough-cut the angle using a bandsaw, handsaw, or whatever, and then use a handplane to develop the final surface by stacking the two parts, and planing across both of them so they get the same angle.
John
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I'm doing the same thing with two 7 foot sections of oak. There is a handrail bolt kit made just for this purpose. It is available at Home Depot where they sell their stairway parts. It consists of a 6" long bolt with machine threads on one end, and a lag bolt on the other. It comes with nuts, a half-round spacer and a filler plug.
You slice off a thin piece of the handrail to use as a template (most handrails are complex in cross section) , and drill a pilot hole through it. Then holding the template on the ends of each of the two handrail pieces, drill pilot holes in each rail. Drill as required and install the lag screw into the first piece.
Drill a flat bottomed, 1" hole on the underside of the second rail (about 2" back) and enlarge the pilot to a clearance hole for the bolt in the end. Place the half-round spacer in the 1" hole, it fits the 1" diameter and has a flat for the nut to bear against. Slide the two rails together using glue, put the nut on the threads and tighten using a special thin wrench (sold separately). Fill the 1" hole with the plug. It comes with an oak plug, you will have to make a walnut one if you want it filled and matched, but it doesn't show anyway. Done, very quick.
--
Dennis


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What you're describing is called a "hanger bolt" commonly used in staircase work to do what the OP wanted to do.
You can see one at http://www.hangerbolt.com/fasteners.htm
On Sun, 11 Feb 2007 08:59:45 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@SPAMwowway.com (DT) wrote:

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What you're describing is called a "hanger bolt" .. you can see them at http://www.hangerbolt.com/fasteners.htm .. but they are generally available at any good hardware store, as well as the BORG
On Sun, 11 Feb 2007 08:59:45 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@SPAMwowway.com (DT) wrote:

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says...

It's based on a hanger bolt, but with all the extra and necessary parts to make the connection through a blind hole in the bottom of the rail. Sold as a "handrail bolt kit"
-- Dennis
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On Feb 10, 8:14 am, "David" <cosmosatnointerbaunspamdotcom> wrote:

Handrails don't need as much strength as your wood, especially if you can locate the support near the joint. I joined a softwood handrail by simple 45deg cuts, clamping the pieces together then routing a socket underneath for a spline/dutchman/floating tenon. The tenon is invisible from above, and offers enough glue area (the endgrain of the rail segments, also glued, is not an effective glue surface). The rail did fine for its first 20 years (but I moved on).
If I had all the tooling, a fingerjoint would be the ideal way to do it. I've seen simple doweling at the joint used, as well. The scarf joint suggestion, while esthetic and strong, seems like overkill.
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