I called a company that specializes in exterior wood railing and massive post. I have a pretty large concrete balcony (14x22ft).
The estimate for the job....5000$..
So I decided that I could do close to the same thing for less...how much less ?
A lot less. It cost me about 300$ - 350$ for the 3 x 5 1/4" post and about 8 7' section.
The only thing you need is a little bit of patience (and tools too).
Step 1: 5 1/4'' Massive Post From 2x6
The key here is to choose from your lumber yard the most straight and esthetic spruce you can find. You can buy cedar too but will cost 3x the amount.
- Buy 2x6 from lumber yard and cut it at 48 ".
- Use planer to straighten the face of the 2x6.
- Inverse wood rings for best stability.
- Glue with titebond III exterior glue and use pipe clamp .
- Wait 45 minutes, unclamp workpiece and take off the excessive glue.
- Plane 2 sides with the jointer to archive a perfect squareness and finish at the thickness planer at 5 1/4".
- Ready to cut the post with final dimension. I cut my post at 41.5" . Remember the base and top will add 2.5".
Step 2: Cedar Top and Base
For top and base cap of the post, i use cedar because it is mold resistant and these are parts of the post are located where there is a greater amount of water
- Cut 1.5" from any cedar that you can put you hand on. I found my cedar in a neighbor 's trash!!!'
- Cut 7" long pieces .
- Invert wood ring to insure maximum stability and mark it.
- Use titebond 3 and clamp it
- Wait 30 to 45 minute, unclamp and take excessive glue off with scraper.
- Use thickness planer to final size 1.25"
- Cut to final lenght 6.5 " (this can vary)
- Use roman ogee bit on router table for finishing the top and base work piece.
Step 3: Final Step for Post
- Use titebond glue on post and base piece
- Use clamp to hold the base.
- Screw the piece.
- Screw the base with 3" screw.
- Drill 4x1/4" hole at 1 " from the edge.
- Put centering pin in hole and center the cap.
- Drill the cap
- Put 4x1/4 dowels and glue the cap using clamps.
I use 1 1/4 plastic feet(purchase at any hardware store.) to elevate the post 1/4 f
From the ground. This will allow water to circulate under the post without touching the post. This part of the post is the weakest because of water accumulation and ground humidity.
Use 1/4" chamfering bit to the edge of the post (optional)
Step 4: Hand Rail and Base Rail
- Use two 2x4 and glue them together with pipe clamps.
- Inverse wood rings for strength and stability.
- Use jointer and planer for final thickness (3'' wide by 2''3/4 thick).
- Use hand rail combo router bit. (purchase at elitetools.ca).
- Use 2x4 cut a slot on the table saw 1'' from the edge 1/2 inch deep.
- Set your table saw to 10 degree and cut to ''kiss touch'' the slot you just made.
- The angle on the base rail will eliminate the water from the base rail with gravity(most of the water).
Step 5: Final Assembling of the Rail
- Use 2x4 for balusters. cut 32'' from 8' long board. you'll have 3 pieces.
- Cut each board at 1 3/8'' on each side. 1 2x4 will give you 6 balusters.
- Use 1/4 round over bit.
- Use center template and mark will centering punch. Then drill with 3/8 bit.
- Depending on the width or the rail section you' ll have adjust the distance between balusters. Measure, trace and punch with tool.
- Drill with 3/8 bit.
- Take the same measurements on the handrails, trace, punch and drill.
- Use 3/8 dowels and assemble the rail without the glue to make sure everything fits good.
- If everything is ok, then you can glue and clamp the rail. check for squareness.
Step 6: Installation of the Rail
Install the post
- Use post level and screw 8 tapcon screw to secure the post.
- When the post is installed,measure and cut the rail section to custom fit.
Install the rail
- Use Kreg pocket screw kit with 3 1/2'' treated screw with washer to post.
don't put any screw on the top of the handrail because of possible water infiltration.
- Use 3/8 dowel plug to cover holes.
Step 7: Sealing and Finishing the Rail
You can stain or paint your rail. I personally prefer paint for durability and easy touch up.
- Use acrylic latex caulk and seal rail to post gaps and balusters to hand rail and base rail (very important)!!!
- Use oil base primer 1 coat.
- Use any brand latex base outdoor paint 2 coat (sand between coats).