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Pine top cap for metal stair rail

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Beetle-Kill, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    I'm putting new stair treads on a pair of stairs. I'm starting off with rough-sawn 4 x 12's for treads. Blue Pine (Beetle-Kill Lodgepole). Thinking about a pine top cap for the new rail. Rail will be steel, and I was going with a contoured steel cap, but a flat bar with the wood cap would look great, just not used Pine for a cap before.
    Should I be concerned with a min. thickness of the cap?
    I'm thinking of planeing down a 2 x 12 (because I need to cut it for a sweep at the bottom), and routing it for a side profile. Has anyone used Pine for a cap? Thanks, JB

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  2. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Hah ! I spoke with a gentleman today, who builds wooden spiral staircases. His response to my Pine wood top-cap question was "I don't know, try it. It will probably split after a while, but I've not done that with pine." (German accent)
    Oooo..a challenge. What to do?:oops:
    Thanks everybody for their input so far........:(
  3. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Sorry JB;
    Never did wood steps or used lodge pole pine.
    Should look really awesome. What will you use as finish?
    If you have the wood, use it.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  4. billb3

    billb3 Minister of Fire

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    My brother put soft pine on his kitchen floor and I didn't think it would still be there now, 30 years later still looking good.

    He put white oak slabs on a spiral staircase steps.
    Two split.

    Never know.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  5. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    I would be very wary of using flat sawn pine for this. Quartersawn might work well.
    My problem with flat sawn is delamination between growth rings and the variance in stainability between fast growth and slow growth rings. Some pine can be sappy and won't finish well.
    The delamination occurs too as tear-out when routing, planing, etc.
    Most of my work with pine is with White or southern Yellow not Blue though.
    Maybe you could experiment with some of what you have? Work it and finish it and see how it goes.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  6. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    See, I knew if I whined a bit, someone would take notice.==c
    Guess I need to make a test piece, see how it goes.
    I've used this pine on stringers and treads, both interior and exterior. Holds up much better than you'd expect. To keep the blue colors though, you're limited to clear coats. Any other stain just turns the blue to gray/black. For this stair, that's actually what I want. A golden pecan stain should turn the colors into an orange/black coloration. Should look "warm" when finished.
  7. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    I say go for it, thats what I would do. If you listen to too many opinions, even if all are accurate, you will wind up doing nothing.
    worst case a piece splits and you go back and fix it, there are no guarantees when using real wood. I used Hickory and sure enough one split,
    in the most noticable spot on the landing. Oh well it wood it happens
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  8. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    ironpony, I hear you. If I eff-up, just means I need to pay more attention to that aspect of the project on the next go around. I enjoy reading about others experiences, doesn't mean I'll go that route. I figure I'll stop learning about the same time I stop breathing.
  9. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    no, if you eff up it means you were trying, the only way not to make mistakes is to do nothing.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.
  10. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I don't think pine would have more or less of a chance of splitting than anything else. Its more about the grain of the wood, how it is fastened, and moisture than the species. I would give it a go...pine is cheap and if nothing else you can use it for a template if it ever has to be replaced.

    I'd rather try something and have it fail and know that it failed than sit around and wonder if it will/won't.
    Beetle-Kill likes this.

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