Making handrail columns

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Greg_Lewis
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Making handrail columns

Post by Greg_Lewis » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:17 pm

OK, folks, here's how I made my handrail columns. I think they'll work great if I can solve the conundrum I posted in another thread here. For dimensions I used a resource similar to what Dick posted over on my conundrum thread. I mostly faked it, though.

First I made up a threaded stud to hold the workpeices:
001.JPG

Then I made up the column blanks:
002.JPG

Then I roughed them in, with a smaller diameter at the top, which will be soldered into a hole in the ball:
003.JPG

Finish turning with a round nose tool and the compound set at an angle to give the taper:
004.JPG
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by Greg_Lewis » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:24 pm

Then I ordered a bag of 1/4-inch diameter brass balls from McMaster, and made up this collet to hold them:
005.JPG

Here's one of the brass balls in the collet ready to be drilled for the smaller diameter section of the column:
006.JPG

Then the balls were soldered onto the column blanks. We don't need a photo of that. Then the columns were put back into the collet to have the hole for the handrail drilled. Note that the collet is stamped on the end to show where the #1 chuck jaw is. My 3-jaw, as most do, has some runout and I do this with any fixture I use in the 3-jaw:
007.JPG

Here's a column in the collet after drilling:
008.JPG

And the end result, with some stainless setscrews installed for the threaded attachment studs:
009.JPG
All done!
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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gwrdriver
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by gwrdriver » Fri Mar 26, 2021 5:46 pm

Very nice work. And a good option. I considered using separate balls, and haven't entirely discarded the idea, but since I only have a dozen to do I'll put my radius turning tool to work.
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gwrdriver
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by gwrdriver » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:36 am

I knocked off a couple of rough samples in aluminum (with my home-built radius attachment) and came up with these. The one on the left is a little too fat, and the ball is too big, and the one on the right is a little too skinny and the ball is a bit too small. I've sketched up one between the two that "looks about right."

So far I've done only large radii with the attachment so turning relatively small radii is new and taking a little experimentation. I'm also discovering it would benefit from a few modifications. Nothing significant . . . additional locations for the tommy bar, and adjustable stops for rotation would help.

The balls may look cantalope-shaped, they do to me even in person, but the light is doing tricks and they're perfectly round. Also, the post count has increased to 18+extras so the separate ball technique is quite done for yet.
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Glenn Brooks
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by Glenn Brooks » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:56 am

Your collet idea is a master stroke! Very nice work!
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gwrdriver
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by gwrdriver » Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:50 pm

I agree. I knew I'd need to look around to see what others have devised for ball cross-drilling jigs and Greg has a good one.

I do have a question for Greg . . . when you mount a completed post post in the collet for cross-drilling I assume this isn't eyeballed perpendicular, that some accurate means of setting it perpendicular to the lathe axis is used, possibly milling the slot to a stop depth?
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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:23 pm

Ayup. Here's a c.u. of the collet with a post in place:
IMG_8555.JPG
By the way, I had to buy a bag of balls to get just a few and I've got a boatload left, more than I'll ever need. If you'd like a few, send me a PM and I'll send some. They're 1/4 dia.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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Rich_Carlstedt
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by Rich_Carlstedt » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:18 pm

Late to the party , but did want to show another handrail stanchion design

25 years ago I did Lost Wax work and my friend Dick Thomas asked me to do some stanchions for him
I think I did a few hundred or so send them all to Dick, but just found 2 in a scrap basket that I want to share.
I am not sure where the design comes from ? and Dick sent me one Stanchion and one Cap and I made my Wax molds and trees with both parts
on the same feed ( Cap and post) . Here are two pictures showing both sides of the posts and caps . He had screws go through the caps and into the stanchion/post, and maybe into the sheet ???
These are reject castings and the ones he got were perfectly formed and without voids. Dick would cut them apart and trim all flashing
The posts had an offset ear , and the caps had a matching ear and the top side of the cap was C'Bored for a screw
Rich

Cap Bottom shown
P3270035.JPG
Cap top shown
P3270034.JPG

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Making handrail columns

Post by Greg_Lewis » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:40 pm

Thanks, Rich. That's the logical way to make handrail posts. But I'm not sure Baldwin was completely logical considering the ball-ended posts they used in the early years. :lol:
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of the dull toolbit.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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