How to Add a Steel Coupling to a Hand Rail

About: Lone rustic furniture builder in Denver, Colorado. I use only standing-dead aspen and pine that grows right here in the Rocky Mountains!

Apparently... Shipping an 11' hand rail is VERY expensive. So when Scott Shaeffer of San Juan Carpentry was faced with the challenge to save his customer hundreds of dollars, he cut his piece of work in half! Then put it all back together again with a stylish steel coupling. Give it a try!



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    3 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Great work, I like how it looks with the bark still left on. During your video I was wondering if you could have just cut it in half, then used the hole saw (the second one you used) to make it possible to insert the pipe inside the handrail so all you would see was the natural wood. Would something like that work and still add enough strength?

    2 replies

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I did this recently using a 6" piece of 1" steam pipe hidden inside, it lined up almost perfectly and just needed a tickle with a file so that the joint was almost invisible, its easier than you think.

    That's the same question my wife asked me! And I did think about doing that but the reason I didn't do it was because if the pipe didn't go into each end exactly straight and centered, the railing would bend and you wouldn't get the butt ends to fit flush or center. Of course you could sand the ends until they did fit flush but then you'd lose more log and there'd still be a seam that wouldn't really maintain visual continuity. That's my theory anyway, and that's why I didn't do it.

    What I would have liked to do differently was find a pipe and log that were closer in width so that the coupled ends wouldn't taper so much but since the railing was already complete, and pipe comes in standard sizes, I had no choice. Thanks for the comment!