Cute, Pt. 1: or, “This is why porch railings are made in factories.”

Okay: I farted around yesterday and finally just declared it baking day, which it really needed to be anyway. But this morning I hopped out of bed and immediately got the heavy stuff out of storage, because today I was going to work on “cute.”

The first thing I needed was some fairly regular and not-too-unsightly balusters, with nothing to work with but a whole bunch of 2X4 scraps. The original plan was to get some factory-turned railings for this – that plan lasted exactly as long as it took to look up the price of factory-turned railings.

Anyway, I ripped a couple of 2X4s to slightly less than 1.5 inches wide, then turned the blade angle and ripped angles in the resulting pieces. Then I sort of rounded the squared-off point with a sanding block.

The revised original plan was to make them long enough to just screw them to the front of the top and bottom horizontal railing. Unfortunately the top railings didn’t come out of the saw with enough vertical square surface for that to work, and that’s when things got a little complicated. The revised revised plan is to make inserts for each of those open spaces, screwing and gluing the balusters to strips of plywood…


…and then screwing the plywood to the top and bottom railings.

And thar ’tis, and that right there took two solid hours. Of course that included some fiddling and experimentation, so the next five pieces won’t take as long each but I’m still not even going to try to finish them in one day. Today I’m just going to make the remaining 20 balusters required.

They’re not perfectly regular, of course. I’m no finish carpenter, much less a cabinetmaker, and you don’t have to look close to see some glaring imperfections. But I kind of like it. The current plan is to paint everything but the balusters the reddish trim color, and paint the balusters house-green.


About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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13 Responses to Cute, Pt. 1: or, “This is why porch railings are made in factories.”

  1. Eric says:

    I think that’ll work out just fine and make Landlady happy.

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Claire says:

    Very nice, Joel. For a crusty old hermit, you do “cute” quite well. That looks not only cute but professional.

  4. M.Silvius says:

    ohh jeez! first it was crown molding, then “cute deck railings”, next thing you know you’ll be decorating the house with doilies. You are doomed Joel, domed I say 😉

  5. Joel says:

    😀 I think I was pretty much doomed from the moment Landlady said, “Look, I found this cool way to do a cheap floor on Pinterest,” and I didn’t run away screaming.

  6. paul says:

    looks good Joel!!

  7. Edward says:

    Really! for someone claiming to have 10 thumbs; that will look perfectly “cute-ish” when painted and no one other than the builder ever sees the flaws anyway. Ten thumbs up!

  8. Wolfman says:

    Certainly cute enough to go on with.

  9. Landlady says:

    SO CUTE!!!! 🙂

  10. Ben says:

    “SO CUTE!!!! :)” So it’s official…

  11. John says:

    A win! 🙂

  12. “next thing you know you’ll be decorating the house with doilies. ”
    And throw pillows…

To the stake with the heretic!