Project by BillyJ posted 06-15-2011 06:40 AM 18547 views 4 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This is part of a job I’m doing for a friend. Unfortunately, after this job, I’m not too sure how friendly we’ll be.

I’ve been working on this house for what seems like forever. The customer is a friend of my wife’s, and I wanted to make sure the job was done properly. Unfortunately, she does not really care about things being done correct. All she is interested in is keeping the cost to a bare minimum. Thus, when it came time to remove the carpet from the stairs (and railing), I had to put something else up. I decided to do this baluster.

For the most part, I did this because I saw it in a trim book. It said that Thomas Jefferson had balusters like this at Monticello. It intrigued me.

Below are a couple of pics showing the stairs after I’ve taken off the carpet.

I decided to use pine, as it was going to be painted, and cost needed to be kept very low. At first I planed to assemble everything in my shop, then transport to the job. However, after giving it some thought, I decided to follow the advise of the trim book – assemble on site.

I put half of it together, then just made a duplicate of everything.

After several coats of high-gloss enamel, and some work on the stairs, I have a final product.

Leaning against the wall in this last picture is the old railing (complete with carpet).

Although the appreciation for the amount of effort is not there, I am happy with the result. The boss kept telling me to just slap up a rail and call it a day. In the end, I’m glad that I didn’t. This is something I’m pleased with.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

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253 posts in 4011 days

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stairway basement

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15 comments so far

View chief101's profile


21 posts in 3732 days

posted 06-16-2011 05:30 AM

Nice job.

-- Dale J. Struhar Sr.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4513 days

posted 06-16-2011 11:37 PM

I like it! A shame it’s not appreciated.

A good reminder to get off the vertical and approach the problem in other ways. Thanks!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

View BillyJ's profile


253 posts in 4011 days

posted 06-17-2011 02:28 PM

Thanks guys.

Dan – I think that is what caught my eye, the angles ran contrary to standard balusters.

To be honest, it is probably over the top for the house and location. I suspect that most potential buyers will not appreciate it either. And in reality, it was my decision to build it, not the customer’s. I’m getting my kudos here.

Thanks again.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View Todd Thomas's profile

Todd Thomas

735 posts in 4254 days

posted 06-19-2011 02:52 AM

out side the box!!! man that is great….this is what I like about what we do….creativity…...not the norm….looks great and you did a fantastic job….......Well done!!

I’m back!

-- Todd- Oak Ridge, TN

View Mark's profile


41 posts in 3379 days

posted 06-19-2011 01:46 PM

Very cool!!

-- Mark, Jersey Shore, http://www.all-about-the-house.com

View Houston's profile


47 posts in 3639 days

posted 06-24-2011 12:54 AM

Really great design on the “Jefferson” balusters. I’m a fan of that center parallel space. I wonder who originally designed them as a larger part of a rooms design or if it was a part of the carpenters design.

-- If you need an electrician in Houston, we'll do a great job and respect your time. http://www.ontime-electric.com

View BillyJ's profile


253 posts in 4011 days

posted 06-24-2011 06:55 AM

Houston – I found the idea in “Trim Idea Book,” by Mary Ellen Polson (Taunton Press). It is in the Chinese Chippendale pattern. I’m assuming the finish carpenter designed / modified the Jefferson balustrade based on the Monticello balustrade below.

Since I posted this, I found an article in This is Carpentry (http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2010/05/28/building-chinese-chippendale-balustrade/). I really wish I would have read the article prior to constructing mine. Although I was able to accomplish a duplicate from the Trim Idea Book, construction might have gone a bit faster had I read the article first. The next one will be my design.

Nevertheless – it was fun.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View HauteChicHome's profile


1 post in 3057 days

posted 03-29-2012 09:32 PM

Wow this looks awesome!!! I’m sorry your client could not appreciate your efforts and attention to detail , I certain can. This is exactly what I want for my home! I too have seen the thisiscarp… videos, but I am a designer not carpenter, so I would dare try. Great job, it’s beautiful!!

View Grandpa's profile


139 posts in 3363 days

posted 03-30-2012 02:37 AM

I have looked at this and resisted asking in the past. This is beautiful but will it pass codes. Maybe those are local codes i am thinking about. those spaces look wide enough for a child to go through. Just asking as I am curious.

View BillyJ's profile


253 posts in 4011 days

posted 03-31-2012 03:04 AM

Grandpa – yes, all openings are actually under 4” – most range from 3” to 3.75”, with the larger openings being 4”. That was something I kept checking. It still gave me 3/8” to play with it my angle was not perfect. Perhaps it looks much wider because the top hand rail is 3 1/2” (nominal 2×4), while the balusters are 2×2s (actual). On the pics looking down or up, it does appear that the openings are too large.

I’m glad you asked. Often people forget the IRC and build whatever is ascetically pleasing to the eye, but out of code.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View Enoelf's profile


9 posts in 3044 days

posted 04-12-2012 01:46 PM

I have a wrought iron bannister and railing in a 1964 house that I want to get rid of and have been trying to think of a decent replacement and this really fits that bill. Is this simple butt joint and screw joinery since it was pine and painted?
I completely feel your pain on the “just slap it up and call it a day”.
Thanks for sharing.
Well done.

-- No, finishing touches are what you do at the END of the project!

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


447 posts in 2976 days

posted 08-11-2012 02:55 AM


I logged on it showed a heap of your projects on the splash page. Man oh man! Those balusters are really speaking to me. I think they are awesome. You can install those in my house any day! That is – after you build me a place for them to go to.


-- Working on my home for 2 years and counting.

View BillyJ's profile


253 posts in 4011 days

posted 08-11-2012 11:35 AM

No problem Mark. I’ll stop over and we’ll figure out where we can put it.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View wrtyq's profile


7 posts in 1004 days

posted 11-11-2017 08:27 PM

Glad to join, good topic

View WestlyMorgan's profile


6 posts in 393 days

posted 07-30-2019 01:26 PM

Well done. Unusual and original. Well done.

-- 192.168.l.l https://192168lllogin.com

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