The method of laying out handrails shown in this section differs somewhat from the method shown in the previous section, and has some advantages the former does not possess. As this little book, however, is intended for instruction and not to advance the interest of any particular method, the editor and compiler has thought fit to present to the reader several methods — all of them of the simplest sort — in order that he may find something he can utilize in each and all of them.
Before building a handrail it is quite necessary to have the stairs, and as the "handrailer" is supposed to know how to construct the body of the stairs, we shall content ourselves with making a few remarks concerning the height of riser and width of tread.
After determining the height of the riser from the "story rod," the right proportion of tread must be found. Sometimes steps are arranged so that it is easier for a man to go up "two at a time" than to walk up in the proper manner. The reason is both tread and riser are made small. When a riser is reduced the tread must be increased; and the contrary, when the riser is increased, the tread must be reduced in width. Joiners do not often break this rule, but masons very often do, notably in steps leading to and from railway stations. A simple rule may be given for finding a suitable proportion.
Take any suitable step as a standard step, that is to