How to make a curved wooden handrail

wreathed handrail laminated sections process

This is the latest job that has been completed in my workshop. It’s a moulded wreathed handrail in laminated walnut.

This handrail was made using our propriety technique called laminated sections.

Please watch the video below for more details on how to make a curved handrail.

We developed this method for making handrails that have to fit an existing metallic wreathed rail, but it can also be used very effectively to make any curved handrail.

The advantage of this technique is that you do not need to mark out the rail.

how to make a curved wooden handrailNeither are there any complicated geometrical calculations, and no form or mould to make.

In fact, making a wreathed handrail with this method can be done by any woodworker without any special hand railing knowledge.

Wreathed handrail laminated sections explained

We have been able to develop this system thanks to modern day polyurethane glue that will expand and set hard.

The technique consists of making sections that are small solid wood rectangles, and stringing them together with aluminium wire to to form a flexible wooden snake. This flexible wooden ‘snake’ allows us to create the form freehand.

wreathed handrailIn the case of a wooden rail that must sit on a metallic rail I will actually fix this snake to the metallic rail. If we’re manufacturing a freestanding handrail, we can just create the shape freehand.

Once the shape is fixed we inject polyurethane glue in between the sections to fix the shape and then glue laminates on to the resulting form.

Once laminated the squared wreath is moulded using a portable spindle moulder.

This technique is really efficient for making complex shapes. It’s very fast and easy.

Handrail training available

If you would like us to set up a training session for you where you can learn how to make these handrails, please contact me via the contact form of this website or via the WoodDesigner.org forum.

We’ve also got more information on this technique in the Extended Training section of our Members Area. This is reserved for Full members. Please click here if you’d like to sign up.

Or we can manufacture your handrails for you

If you need wreathed handrails made for you, we can send you a survey kit made of a wooden snake, glue and survey instructions, so that you can that you can shape your rail.

Send us back the shape and we’ll send you back the finished hand rail.

This is a very cost effective way of building complex curved and wreathed handrails.

Again, for more information, please contact us or ask on the Wood Designer Forum.

Thanks for reading,

Ness Tillson

6 Comments

  • Howard A. Listerd

    Reply Reply November 12, 2014

    Dear Ness,

    What a great idea for a Wreathed Handrail, it’s looks great.

    I’m new to your site, and find it very interesting and informative. I need to know more !. To this end, would like to see your stand at Expobois this month. Do you still have spare tickets ?. If so, I need two please.

    Many thanks.

    Howard A. Lister
    Pennine Interiors
    Von-Quadt-Str. 139
    51069
    Koln Germany.

    or, howard.lister@hotmail.com

    • Ness

      Reply Reply November 12, 2014

      Hi Howard,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We are sending your invitations via: email.
      Please let me know when you receive them.
      Hope to see you next week .
      Best regards,
      Ness

  • bob horenn

    Reply Reply November 12, 2014

    Very interesting technique Ness, do you have a video on the wreath being moulded and the moulder? If not, could you make a video? Would be interested in seeing the fixturing and feeding techniques. Thanks, Bob Horenn

    • Ness

      Reply Reply November 12, 2014

      Hi Bob,
      I use a French spindle but this is a bit tricky and takes to long so we are actually setting up a jig to push most parts through a traditional spindle moulder.
      I have some photos of me using the French spindle here:
      https://stairdesignsoftware.net/different-ways-to-build-curved-stair-parts
      It works well but needs touching up by hand which slows down production.
      I think that for some fast turning parts it will still need to done using this machine but we are hoping that a simple 3 point jig on a normal spindle moulder will give a faster solution.
      In these videos I show off a few parts that are very twisting and would probably not go through a spindle moulder:
      https://wooddesigner.org/members/stairs-extended/parts-handrails/wooden-handrail-on-metal-rail-3/

      Please note that these videos are a bit out dated as Ihave now found some PU glue that sets hard enough not to require giving plaster support to the form before laminating . this makes it all easier and we now sellotape the segmented snake to the metal rail inject the glue and it’s ready to laminate when the glue is dry.

      cheers,
      Ness

  • julia

    Reply Reply March 12, 2016

    Hallo, can you tall me where I can buy semi finished products for manufacturing curved handlerail stairs, which is meantioned in this article?

    Thanks a million!!!

    Júlia

    • Ness

      Reply Reply March 15, 2016

      Hi Julia,
      Can you tell me where you are based?
      All the best,
      Ness

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