Missing Curved Porch Rail Restored


A short section of curved porch rail rotted off and the owner replaced it with some terrible workmanship. Notice the two spindles on the right and the one on the far left are upside down from the others. The contractor could not make a curve so he turned it into two straight lines. The poor work was turned in to the Elgin Preservation Specialist and she required the owner to put back an appropriate balustrade matching the existing. This is the advantage of having an Historic District and Preservation Ordinance. Without it the terrible work would have been left. The owner approached me about restoring the balustrade. I have experience with curved rails and making goosenecks. Below is a picture of the rail and goosenecks I made. The wood is old growth cypress recycled from a water tower taken down in Chicago.

Below are the spindles I made to duplicate the originals. Old growth cypress was used for the spindles also. It has great rot resistance but they were still coated with preservative, especially the endgrain.

Here is a picture of the contour of the goose-neck and rail. Successive approximations on the router were used to get the contour.

Here is a picture of the finished balustrade. I do not normally install my work but I did in this case.


Here is a picture of the whole porch showing the original and my new section.