Railing for a Spiral Staircase

DMurphy

Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2009
We recently had a spiral staircase donated to us. The treads basically slide onto the center pole and were fanned out to the correct place, then bolted to each other and the whole thing was attached to the stage and to the top of a deck (it's about 8 feet tall).

Unfortunately, the staircase did not come with a railing. I had thought about making a wooden railing with metal posts with 1x1, but I was also thinking about welding.

Has anyone built a spiral staircase from scratch, or have one with a really solid railing? Any and all suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!
 

Les

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
I saw one with a PVC pipe railing once. Not exactly what I'd call solid though.
 
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Senior Team
Senior Team
Premium Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
I have built one. The question is, how permant do you want it to be?

1x1 uprights bolted up is your starting place. As far as the railing goes, I have seen it done with PVC as well. I you think about it if you have a support every 1' PVC is fine. Fill it with sand and take a torch to it. Otherwise, you could get pipe bent to the correct radius and size and bolt it up in sections. Either way, spiral staircases suck to built/work on.
 

BrianWolfe

Active Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2009
Location
New Windsor, NY
Steel pipe is best. You can have it bent to the radius of the stair and just weld it in with 1x1 tube uprights.
 
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FatherMurphy

Active Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2009
Location
Midwest US
A community theater I used to work for bought a spiral stair for a show, the manufacturer supplied 1" plastic irrigation tubing for the handrail (like PVC, only somewhat flexible). Each upright had a short corner bracket on it, and intention was to simply drive a screw into the bottom of the tubing through the bracket. It was easy to work with, since there was no guessing about compound radiuses, and was fine for the show, but I wouldn't want it for a real installation.
 
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usetedaj

Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Location
Nashville, TN
In a set that had a steel/aircraft cable aesthetic, I simply drilled holes, at an incline through each of the 1x1 posts, then ran 1/8" aircraft cable through the holes. It fit with the design, and it's strong, even though it's not as hand-friendly as welded steel pipe.
 
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ship

Senior Team Emeritus
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 29, 2003
Location
Illinois
Think laminated strips of lumber glued together and bent to form if perminant. Oh' and lots of clamps. Than routering and lots of sanding. Or if the money there is pre-made ones also solid or the same method available commercially.

Steel or plastic pipe otherwise with perhap ethafoam to make it larger perhaps. "Scenery for the Theater" don't have much on the subject but there is other books or USITT texts out there I know cover this concept. I'll try to do a bit of research over the weekend on this - know there was techniques I learned but it's been many years since such a thing was learned but not used that I forget the fairly easy technique out there and often used I think.

This given it won't be easy - spiral stair case... can't get much harder to build a railing for it no matter what technique is used I think.
 

GJC

Member
Joined
May 26, 2020
Location
Colorado
We did one with PVC once. We heated the sand up in paint cans, then poured the hot sand down the pipe as we bent it to fit the verticals. For what it is worth.
Nick
How did you fasten the ballisters to the PVC pipe filled with the sand? Did you use an elbow joint like this? https://www.zoro.com/hollaender-fitting-adj-elbow-tee-type-1-12-pipe-17-8/i/G5722046/#specifications . I am looking for suggestions/ideas for this spiral staircase set. Thanks, Greg