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These spindles are the mainstay of the wood interior handrail business. They have been around for years and will continue to be a favourite in traditional interior decorating. They typically come in two sizes a 1 5/16" square spindle and this larger size of 1 3/4" for more open concept high ceiling applications.
These wood spindles are both square on the top of the spindle and on the bottom, thus they get their name as a "square-topped wood spindle". This is to differentiate them from their close cousin, a "dowel topped spindle" that has been sharpened on the top like a pencil.
They typically are installed with a handrail (ie. our #4001) that has a groove in the underside to accept the size of these square tops, in this case 1 3/4 ". Note it is important to match the sizing of your handrail with the size of spindles that you select.
(1 3/4 Large Square-topped, Turned Wood Balusters for Interior Handrails )
An 1 3/4" X 36" long wood spindle is used most often for horizontal handrails, say around the opening of a stairwell. The 36" length is sufficient for most residential applications, at least in my corner of the world. Commercial situations may require higher railings.
The Ontario Building Code requires a railing height for residential applications to be equal to or greater than 900mm (approx. 35 3/8")
These spindles are 36" long with a 3/4" dowel pin on the bottom of the spindles, making the actual visible length equal to 35.25". If we add this this length to the thickness of the standard wood handrail then it becomes: 35.25" + 1.5" = 36.75", sufficient to exceed local requirements.
Be sure to check with your buildings controls office to see if the requirements in your region are similar to Ontario standards that we see on a daily basis.
The dowel pin on the bottom of the spindles is designed to aid in installation. Drill a 3/4" diameter hole in the "base rail" or floor nosing, then add some glue to the hole and insert the doweled-end of the spindle. Prefinishing all the base rails or nosings BEFORE installation will make cleanup a little easier if some glue oozes out on installation of your handrail and spindles.
An 1 3/4" x 38" baluster is used in all applications where the spindle is mounted on the end of the stair treads.
When the handrail runs from the upper floor to the lower, the space between the under side of the handrail and the open steps require two spindles per step, a shorter one at the front and a longer one at the back to fill the triangular space. The 38" long spindle is used on the front of the step.
Often the "Newel Post" or large main spindle that starts the handrail, is mounted half way into the first tread. This eliminates the need for the first 38" spindle.
Thus to calculate the number of 38" spindles that you must purchase is pretty straight forward. Count the number of stair treads that you have in your home and subtract one baluster for the first step if the newel post is as we suggested earlier. That will give you the correct number of spindles required in your situation.
A 42 " spindle is used in partnership with the 38" wood spindle discussed above. It is used in all installations where the spindle is mounted on the end of the stair tread (as in the photo at the top of this page).
Again, you require two spindles, a shorter baluster at the front of the tread (the 38") and a longer one at the back. This is where you use the 42" spindle. It typically gets cut at the handrail angle and inserted into the groove on the underside of the wood railing.
To calculate the number of 42 " spindles that you might need to purchase is pretty straight forward. You need one 42" long spindle for every step.
These long spindles are also used in commercial installations where horizontal runs of handrail are required quite often to be 42" in overall height. Be sure to check as your local office ALWAYS has the final say!!!
NOTE: that often I get clients that are being told that an interior railing when the drop is over a certain height is also required to be 42" high. I have yet to have this confirmed by building controls. Most often clients find that someone is trying to apply EXTERIOR railing requirements to an interior application. Ask for confirmation!
To comply with MOST local building codes you must NOT have a space larger than 4" between adjoining spindles (and that is measured at the widest gap between the various turnings).
If you would like to calculate the number of spindles you require for your interior wood handrail try this....take the number of inches of handrail that you need and divide that number by 6 you will end up with a pretty close estimate of the number of spindles you require.
Alternately you can take the number of FEET of handrail and double that number and end up at the same spot :)
inches of handrail / 6 = approx. number of spindles needed
( I usually subtract one for every newel, but this really depends on where you measured your handrail lengths from) .. this is NOT an exact science as you always have to shift around the spacing to meet code and look balanced with the space you are working with.