Jan 08 , 2018

Reader Project: Birch Deck Railing

reader birch railing

birch deck railing

birch deck railing over garage

birch deck railing by reader

birch deck railing on stairs

birch deck railing with batman

After recently building a 30×10-ft. two-story deck on my detached garage, it was time to finish it with a railing. After looking into the expensive cost of vinyl railing and also being a huge fan of natural elements, I opted for a natural wood design.

My father is a phenomenal carpenter who has taught me so very much, but he literally laughed at me when I shared my idea! Being challenged, I was determined to accomplish it.

I settled on birch because I liked the way it assimilated vinyl from a distance. The posts were notched with a small chainsaw to fit over the deck. The top and bottom rails are pinned to the posts with 3/4-in. dowel rods as well as lag screws.

Tips: safety first! Always wear your glasses and be very, very careful making your cuts. I did entire job with a miter saw and chain saw. Because the birch is round, it has a tendency to roll. I braced the posts between 4x4s with a large clamp when notching. Cut slow with the miter saw and expect smoke from the blade on angle cuts. I suggest using live (green) wood to prolong the project’s life. Also, check your codes for spindle spacing.

I finished the railing with water-based polyurethane to reduce yellowing. I also capped the posts with glass railroad insulator caps!

Needless to say my dad was really impressed! I almost replaced one section of railing with straighter sections, but my dad told me it looked natural and to leave it. — Craig Lyons

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