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Thread: Video: Equally spacing balusters with dividers

  1. #1
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    Video: Equally spacing balusters with dividers

    My BIL shot me doing this today. No editing, and first take. I make no claim to be good at explaining things. I can answer questions though.

    This is a foolproof way to make sure every open space in a balustrade is exactly the same, without math or measuring.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIn24ClUilY&t=303s
    Last edited by Tom M King; 06-28-2022 at 4:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Nov 2021
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    Columbia MO and Howard County MO
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    "If you are a one hundredth of an inch off it's not going to show" Putting that quote in my kit.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  3. #3
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    I drilled all those holes this morning, and don't think I was off much more than that on any of them. I had ordered a couple of different brands of 3/4" Forstner bits to try. Only one had come, an Amana, and it worked so good that I didn't wait for the others to get here. The one in the Chinese set I had loaded up with chips, had friction in the hole, and that was going to be no fun.

    The Amana has taper to the sides so there was no drag in the hole, and it ejected the chips so fast that it came out of the hole clean, so I could see the lead point through the blur of the bit openings spinning, to get it in the little divider holes without even having to bend over. I think it was something over 200 holes, and it went fairly quickly.

  4. #4
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    Interesting (and quick) method for simple spans, thanks for sharing. Video clearly showed the method. How about a pic of the finished railing!

    When I put up railings on my deck there were maybe 20 sections between rail posts and many were different spans. There were also railings on five sets of stairs. It was challenging to make them look equal not only at the end of each section but to look consistent from section to section. I made a spreadsheet and entered each span, then calculated the precise spacing for each section on the entire railing system. I played with the spacing until the overall max spacing difference was minimized. I ended up with a maximum spacing somewhat less than the 4" but the variation from section to section was so small as to be unnoticeable, especially with lots of corners and angles over maybe 75' of railing. I had the spreadsheet calculate and print the measuring tape reading for edge of each 2x2 wooden baluster and worked from the printout.

    The entire thing went up very quickly - stretch the tape, make the top marks, use a level to make the bottom marks, position baluster and fasten with screws. (Pre-drilling and countersinking he screw holes in all the balusters before starting helped a lot.)

  5. #5
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    When each section is a little different, common on old houses, I step off each section. I think it looks better if there is a 1/16th difference in the openings on different sections than ending up with a small space anywhere.

  6. #6
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    I'll post a finished picture, but it will be a while. All the balusters aren't here yet. I just did that marking, and drilled all the holes yesterday. It will have to get squeezed in between everything else too. The edge of that porch is barely inside 3' off the ground, which may fit code, but we don't want to rent it like that.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2021
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    One of our inspectors would get out a 4 inch hard rubber ball he called his imitation baby head and check baluster spacings. He even made sure the triangle where the stair rail passed the stair stringers was not going to trap a kid.
    A better set of dividers is on my old iron search list.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  8. #8
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    These are just made by General. I've had them for over 40 years. They get left out all the time. The legs have punched many such marks, but are still sharp enough to hurt you if you aren't careful. I keep the good ones for drawing or layout in the shop stored away.

    I keep some of these bags of paver setting stand under a shed to keep dry for mixing with lime putty for making small repairs in lime mortar and base coat plaster in old houses. They come in handy for other uses sometimes too.
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    Last edited by Tom M King; 06-29-2022 at 8:40 AM.

  9. #9
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    The three couples that were renting the house left Monday, so I was able to go back to work on these railings.

    I was worried they'd look too 2022 on a 1974 house, but the idea was to block the view as little as possible. In person, they appear to block the view even less than in pictures.

    This picture is probably going to be sideways, but anyway....
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