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Many years ago we added a small porch to the front of our home with Chippendale railings. After years of being exposed to the elements, both railings and one Chippendale side was falling apart due to rot. Rather than hire someone to do this project, we tackled it ourselves and made our own DIY Chippendale Railings.
DIY Chippendale Railings
We removed the damaged side of the railing and began the process of building a replacement.
So that the sides would wear evenly in the future, we decided to remove the side that was not damaged and replace it as well. Our porch was without railings for several months as we built the replacements.
How to Build Chippendale Railings
We started by framing in the railings with the end post, shown on the right of the photo, and a sacrificial board on the left – whose end will eventually be fastened directly to the porch columns. The 2x2s were planed to a slightly smaller dimension so as to square the corners. The main center cross braces were cut to length and notched such that they would fit together in the center.
The main cross pieces were temporarily clamped in place, and the intersection marked with a pencil line. The intersection was then cut half way through the wood with a hand saw, then chiseled to remove the wood at the intersection where the pieces would join.
After cutting, the angles were tested to verify a tight fit and were then glued into place with waterproof wood glue. The top/bottom and left/right pieces were mirror images of each other, so the angles were all cut the same. It was important to have a bunch of clamps available to hold everything into place while the glue dried. Where practical, deck screws were later added to ensure structural integrity.
Removing the old railings and installing the new ones removed some of the paint from the vinyl columns. A light sanding followed by a few coats of paint fixed this problem. The screw holes were filled in and painted over as well.
Chippendale doors and railings are very popular in our town. When I’m walking Sherman or running, I enjoy looking at the many styles of Chippendale doors in our neighborhood. A local hardware store made our Chippendale front door and Mr. SP crafted the one on our porch.