Fixing the porch railing

The chalet had a porch railing all around it still even after the main house it was connected to was destroyed in hurricane Georges. That railing ended behind the chalet where the big porch over the old pool used to be. We have replaced the old scary rotten wood deck that was around the pool with a big new concrete sun deck. Later I'll have to tell you about what we decided to do where the big old pool is. Laurie hated that old porch railing from the day (four years ago) we started working on our rainforest bed and breakfast. She thought it looked like a horse corral (appropriate since there were horses on the property when we moved in that we had to find homes for). We're a team but I convinced Laurie to give priority to jobs that didn't involve tearing something down that was at least useable until some pretty major things were done first like hooking up the electricity, installing pumps in the cisterns, fixing the plumbing, and putting on a couple of roofs (it is the rainforest so roofs are important).

We have made the central part of our complex (where the chalet and the villa are) the priority -- making it as nice as possible.  Laurie found a picture in one of our many design books and she told to make the railing just like that picture. I took a few liberties and came up with a design which looked, somewhat, like the picture and was fairly easy to do. We have a nail gun that shoots galvanized ring-shank nails that have a coating of hot melt glue on them so that is my weapon of choice. The new "balustrades" are treated pitch pine 2X2's with the lower end cut at a 45 degree angle as a water "run-off" and an interesting detail.

The whole project came together very quickly. Laurie tore off the old 2X4's and we fitted a top and a bottom 2X4 for attaching the new balustrades to. Then we marked out a good spacing (we chose 6.5 inches) which varied according to the space between the existing railing posts which like everything in this old house seems to be from a measurement system that didn't depend on any crude instruments like levels or tape measures.

Then I cut all the 2X2's on the cut-off saw, adding the 45 degree detail on each end. We nailed them in place with the gun and had most of the front railing finished in one day. The next day I put the rest in place with the help of a visiting friend (Julio - now a skilled carpenter) and Laurie painted everything a dark gray to match the cedar.