STAIRWAY CONSTRUCTION. - Page 20 - Section 11 - Stair Building

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to one for each tread, ordinarily placed over the face of each riser, thus leaving the full width of the tread (less the thickness of one baluster) for the decorative brackets or panels.


20. Hand Rails. The making of hand rails is a part of stair building
which involves complex geometrical problems that belong properly to
the stair builder. The architect, however, should see that the
rail, except where placed over winders, whether at the bottom of the
stairway or around the cylinder in the well hole is set up parallel
to the line of nosings. The pitch over the winders will be more
inclined than it will be over the straight rail, and as the amount
of the inclination determines the height of the rail, it follows
that additional inclination over the winders requires more height
for the wreath; but this addition in height should never be such as
to cause an unsightly crippled appearance where the curve of the
wreath intersects with the straight rail. The architect should also
see that each baluster is vertical, and solidly glued and nailed to
the hand rail, so that when tested, there should be no noise, which
would indicate the presence of loose balusters through imperfect
fitting, poor gluing, or carelessness in nailing.

Where the straight rail enters the newel without a ramp, it allows the newel to be made from 4 to 6 inches shorter than would otherwise be possible, the reduced height being often a matter of some consideration. Where such is not the case, the hand rail may be bent upwards (in which case it is said to be ramped), so as to enter the newel in a plane perpendicular to it, and the angle of intersection between the raised level portion and the inclined plane of the straight rail is gracefully eased. This last method is the one most commonly adopted, owing mainly to its superior ornamental characteristic.


21. In an open-newel stairway the rails usually meet the newels one above the other. To bring them to the same level, the rail must be ramped, and sometimes they are ramped and kneed—the latter being a concave easement with its upper end forming an angular knee.

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