Measure and Cut the Rails for how to Build a Gingerbread Balustrade
Photo: Anthony Tieuli

Step 8: Measure and Cut the Rails

Cut 1x scraps to the finished height of your railing, and stand them up against the porch posts. To measure the span for the handrail, overlap two long pieces of 1x scrap, extend them to the inside faces of the posts, and rest them on the standing pieces, as shown. Mark the spot where they cross. Keeping the scrap boards aligned at your mark, lay them on the uncut handrail, flush at one end, and mark the length at the other end. Measure for the bottom rail the same way, 3 inches up from the porch floor. Use a miter saw or a circular saw to cut the rails to size.
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    Tools List

    • jigsaw
    • drill
      drill/driver and bits
    • 1/8-inch bit with combination countersink
      combination countersink bit
    • hole saw
      2-inch hole saw
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • router
    • router bits
      -by-2-inch straight router bit with -inch collar
    • random orbit sander
      palm sander and 180-grit sanding pads
    • 2½-inch angled sash brush

    Shopping List

    ½-inch plywood Get one 2-by-4-foot sheet for the template.

    ¾-inch plywood Get one 2-by-4-foot sheet for the jig base.

    ½x5 pine Get six 16-footers for the balusters.

    2x4 primed straight-grain Douglas fir bottom rail Get two 8-footers.

    2x4 primed and chamfered Douglas fir handrail Get two 8-footers.

    1x2 primed pine Get four 8-footers for the nailing strips.

    wood glue

    2-inch wood screws

    1½-inch stainless-steel screws

    2½-inch stainless-steel screws

    exterior latex primer

    exterior latex paint

    5/16-inch spacers