hand rails on stairs

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by sculptor, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    Why do European texts recommend a max height at 39.37 inches(1000mm) when american codes top out at 38 inches"?

    (i'm making a spiral hand rail for spiral stairs)

    I'm leaning towards higher is better for descending the stairs.

    didn't know where to post this------the railing is for the use of humans
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  3. Confused2 Registered Senior Member

    A test body (mine) that misses its footing at the top of a flight of painted cast iron spiral stairs may well continue to the bottom of a flight of painted cast iron spiral stairs without being able to regain control of its decent pattern. Whatever the hand rail height I would suggest (as a safety and comfort measure) ensuring the appropriate coefficient of friction is sufficiently high that a body (once launched) isn't committed to the entire descent pattern.
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  5. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    When moving things on spiral stairs, I've always been grateful for the presence of an inside rail as well. It adds a foot or more to the total diameter, and of course adds expense, but it's really nice to have.
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  7. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    this is(will be) the inside railing
    the spiral stair was bolted to a pcc column on the inside, first i cut and fit the 16 boards(10.7 degree) to form a wooden(butternut) drum/cylinder around the pcc, that mounted and then smoothed to a cylinder, and now am forming the railing by gluing up the roughly 14- 2/32- 3/32" thick lath cut from a 2" cherry plank-----------my 1st glue-up spiral railing ----------- the 1st brackets I made for the glue-up weren't strong enough to force the cherry lath into a spiral------so made sturdier ones yestereve and will mount them and try again---------
    The brackets were set at the 38" line and seem a tad low when descending the stairs-----and seems a tad high when ascending-----------
    once the glue-up is done, and the blank has been shaped into a cylinder(after shaping walnut and then butternut, the cherry will be a welcome change--the dust don't feel as sharp, and i like the smell-)
    when complete and ready for final installation, I can reset the height as I like it.

    (personal flaw?----------my sculpting mentor said that I was "a victim of too much education" and tended to "think everything to death" rather than just doing) (maybe i'm just a tad on the lazy side and would rather invest in correcting design mistakes rather than physical ones?)
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    That advice is probably better applied to sculpture than to stairs.
    sculptor likes this.
  9. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    In Xilitla, Mexico--a couple hours north of Mexico City IIRC--Edward James built 30-odd massive Surrealist sculptures which, over time, became a part of the landscape and flora. This one, in particular, was especially awesome:

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

    No hand rails! But otherwise scaled for humans.
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    clamp up of the laths is complete
    let the wood settle into it's new bowed and twisted shape for a few days, then de-clamp and do the glue-up
    then shape the square to a cylinder
    maybe not a cylinder
    I made some clay cylinders, then grabbed them in my hand and the resulting shape was not a cylinder
    (work in progress)closer to ovoid, but not quite ovoid either-------------???
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    The standards assume outside rail, which is less steeply inclined - accounting for the "feel" of the height.

    The different best heights for going up and down are more different for the inside rail.

    Two rails? (I used to think too high was better than too low, but ran into a guy who convinced me that was true only if nobody had a bad hip - with a bad hip, a bit lower works better, he thought, as with canes and walking sticks).
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  12. sculptor Valued Senior Member

    thanx(i hadn't thought about that)
    wife has bad hip
    when rail is finished
    maybe she can find best height for her
    I was wainscoting the lower level and worked over to concrete column at the inside of the stair---once it's done, I'll cover the outside with wood, then add a railing there also-----------
    after the spiral one, the straight one should be easy.(?)

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