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'Wave' Railing fabrication

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We recently completed one of our first truly custom projects of 2015, the ‘wave’ handrail.  The owners of the Fort Collins, CO residence worked with us to create this unique design concept which was inspired by their travels to the ancient stone carved city of Petra, where the natural grains of the rock cliff present a flowing, wave like appearance.  The handrails are the first planned updated to the couples home, which will undergo further renovations.  The ‘wave’ handrail project consisted of four individual sections as seen in the photo below.  The stair stringer leading upstairs, the upper hallway section, the dining area surround, and the wall mounted handrail going downstairs to the lower den.
Wave_Handrail_5365.jpg




The first step in creating this project was experimenting with the wave concept.  Since we were working solely with manual tools, we wanted to ensure that we could bend and form the curves to a smooth, natural appearance.  Once our experiments yielded good results, we began fabrication.  The first section completed - seen in the photo below - was the stair stringer leading upstairs:

Wave Railing 1


The next section we created was the dining area surround, seen partially complete in the following photo.  Our process involved building the main perimeter and supports of the railing, creating several curves to work with, and then experimenting with these curves until the ‘right’ one was selected and welded into place. 
wave railing progress dining


The final large section to be built was the upper hallway.  This section was the longest and heaviest, and took the longest to build.  Here is a photo taken at the very beginning of the process:
wave railing progress 2



 After this section was complete, the steel was then hand sanded and prepped for a black paint finish.  We milled the wooden 2” x 1” oak cap in shop and fitted each section to the steel.  After 2 coats of a flat black paint, the rails were brought on site and installed. 


Wave Railing 5364

wave railing 6
        
The picture above shows a detail of the simple 2” x 1” oak cap, which had rounded edges for added graspability.  This portion of the design tied the railings into the rest of the trim found in the home, and also offered a warmer, wood touch for hands. 

                The photo seen below shows the old, traditional railings that were a bit out-of-date.  The original railings did not follow the typically seen 4” code, which states that any opening in a railing system shall not allow a 4” diameter sphere to pass through any part of the body of the railing.  This code is not always enforced in residential construction, and was probably not in existence when the original railings were built, however it is a good code to follow if small children are living in the space.    The new railings bring the home up to code and should provide the home owners decades of use.
wave railing before

Wave railing 5366
Parting shot:  new handrail as seen from the master bedroom door. 

-Paul Hueber,

Hueber Industries LLC