04:25AM | 03/18/06
Member Since: 03/17/06
1 lifetime posts
How do you nail a Chippendale rail? We understand the cuts required, but cannot find how to attach each piece of the design. Any assistance is greatly appreciated!


08:29PM | 03/25/06
Member Since: 12/27/02
543 lifetime posts
Nice rhyme, you have a reference to what the heck you are referring to as a "chip & dale" design. :)

I've only seen them on Walter D. The chairs I know but not any deck rail.. remember you can not have anything over 3.5 - 4 inch clear space on a railing now, that is so that a child won't get there head caught in the space... and a running foot needs to be able to take 250 lb/sq ft lateral force as/the new codes.

If you have an image post it we'll see how it can be done though.

Alter Eagle Construction & Design | Construction & Design | | Decks, California outdoor living | | Molding and finishing | | Crown tutorial


06:51AM | 06/12/06
Member Since: 06/20/05
53 lifetime posts
I just did this on my deck. It looks really beautiful. I had a contractor by the house ask me who built our deck. I said I did and he asked me "so are you a contractor?" I said "no, I'm a programmer" and he said "I can't believe a programmer built a deck like this!"

It's really not hard to build, but it does take some time. There are 15 pieces that have to be cut and nailed per section (between adjacent posts), and most of the ends are not square. Almost no cuts are straight 90 or even 45 degrees. Make sure you cut these on the mitre saw, and make sure your mitre saw has a laser (you can buy a laser retrofit for $30 at Home Depot, which is well worth it). It took me about an hour or so per post-to-post section of rail, and our deck has 19 sections of rail, so do the math.

You absolutely need a pneumatic finish nail gun: I recommend the Porter Cable DA250B. If you have never used a nail gun before, start on the easiest sections of rail first to get used to the quirks of the nail gun. Unless you're going to do it all at once in a marathon, buy the nail gun, don't rent it - you can always sell it later on eBay.

Here's a reference:

I built mine exactly like it says in this article, except that as Altereagle said, you have to make sure all spacing is less than 4" (3-1/2 to be safe). If you're not good with math, that most likely means that you will need 3 diagonal pieces on each side of center, and you will probably end up with a spacing of about 3-1/4" between each one. The article only shows two diagonal pieces in their pictures next to step 4: I don't know where that would pass code, certainly not in Virginia.

Also, they say in the article that 3-7 feet between posts is best, but I disagree. I did one that is 3' between posts but most of my sections are in the 30" range post-to-post, and I think that looks better, as well as being easier to build. Also, if you get beyond a certain point (I calculated it out before and can't remember the number but it's about 3') you will need more than 3 diagonal pieces per side to maintain the 3-1/2" spacing. (The flip side, of course, is that there are more sections to build.)

Don't worry if not all your posts are exactly the same distance between. Just take each side of the deck, and get as close to 30" between posts as you can. My post-to-post distances vary from about 26" to about 36", and it's not objectionable in the least. Try to make sure that all distances on one side of the deck are within about an inch of each other. If you differ on two different sides of the deck, nobody will notice or mind if they do.

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