Wood selection help

My house has a loft staircase in the living room. The previous owner, who installed the stairs, only put a railing on one side, leaving the other side open for anyone who wants to jump off and land on the wood stove. For some reason, my wife thinks this is a safety hazard.
So, my next project is to put a railing on the other side. I would like to match the existing wood, if possible. It seems to be finished with a Minwax polyshades product (it has the same inconsistent colour that I got when I used polyshades without stirring first) so it is not easy to identify, but it is knotty, and splotchy and has no visible pores. So, I think it is pine.
My question is whether pine (or any softwood) makes sense for a stair rail, from a structural point of view. I think that if I build the new side out of maple, it should be possible to get the two sides to match in colour and general appearance. Am I overthinking this? If I do it out of pine, will the railing still be safe to use?
- Ken
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Yes. The main purpose of a railing is not to hold you up after you've lost your balance, but to keep you from losing it in the first place.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Some species of Pine are a little more durable than others. Southern Yellow (sometimes called "sugar pine") would work very well for your purpose.
Max
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wrote:

Nope, Sugar Pine and Southern Yellow Pine are two different animals. Sugar Pine is a relatively even-grained wood often used for woodcarving, while Southern Yellow Pine has a much more diverse grain and is used for construction, such as stair treads and flooring.
Sugar Pine: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/Spfo/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/pinus/lambertiana.htm
Southern Yellow Pine: http://www.southernpine.com/whatis.shtml
Bill
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Thank you , sir; I never cease learning. <G> The properties listed for Southern Pine would seem to confirm my opinion that it would be suitable for the project the OP has in mind.
Max
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On Sat, 21 Jul 2007 08:33:38 -0600, "Max"

You are quite welcome, sir <g>, and you are also correct about the yellow pine. I think you can get railing, newel posts, etc at about any lumber yard or Borg.
It's not often that I'm the first to post correct information on this group - there are many more knowledgeable folks than I. In this case, I have carved both species, and anyone who has attempted that can certainly attest to the difference.
Bill
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On Sat, 21 Jul 2007 08:33:38 -0600, "Max"

Southern Yellow Pine it is, then. I hope my supplier has it. Thank you for your help.
- Ken

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Ken McIsaac wrote:

SYP will certainly be available as construction lumber, but far less commonly used as finish lumber other than closet shelving, etc.
I would suggest looking at the selection of banister rail, posts, etc., available in the species your local distributor has available and pick that which seems the closest match to what you have. It isn't highly likely any will be SYP except those for outside decks, porches, etc., which will be treated and not what you want for an interior railing.
imo, ymmv, $0.02, etc., etc., ...
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*snip*
Well, you know what Mark Twain said: A person who jumps off the stairs on to a hot wood stove will never jump off the stairs to a hot wood stove again. He well also not jump off the stairs to a COLD wood stove, either.
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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Puckdropper wrote:

In either case, Twains cat hasn't been seen lately.
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I'm not not at the above address.
http://nmwoodworks.com
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