Curved railing

Bravo! Keeping that craft alive. I’ve had the Mowat book for decades, and always marveled at the knowledge and skill of stair makers from 100+ years ago. There’s even a chapter devoted to stairs in steamships. I don’t know the Ellis book.

Thanks for the kind words… Im just fortunate to have had the circumstances to be able to land jobs and learn on the fly; my dad started a conservation building company around the time I was born, so I had a ready made client base.

George Ellis’ ‘Modern Practical Joinery’ is quite a lot better known, but you’re right that his hand railing book less so. Both predate Mowat I believe.

Interestingly, Mowat is quite critical of the methods used by earlier authors, and can only assume he meant Ellis because he describes exactly why Ellis’ method of projecting the drawing in 2D is laborious.

He probably should have spent a bit more time thinking whose shoulders he was standing on :wink:


Here are a few screenshots of the FredoScale/Radialbending(free) method I use…

Flatten out the handrail centre line to a single plane

Follow me tool to create consistent section down the undulations

Use Fredo Radial Bending to mark the start and end points - and create bend

The junction between the straight section and the beginning of the curve may need some ‘easing’. This is often needed when drawing the thing in 2D as well; not just a software glitch, but an artistic decision

With a 180º bend you may need to flip the bent group

More images


wow! I’m very glad to see my work is helping people somehow :slight_smile:
Thanks for trying it out. I’m working to make it smoother.

Hey Box, this bezier workflow looks the best imo. Good work.

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I think I got it.
But your gonna need Bezier Spline or SubD workflow as guys said.
Without them its gonna be jaggy anyways.

I’ve just updated Tax Engineering to v10.93 (on sketchucation)
FRS (follow rotate scale) updates: (Z-streched works like Eneroth’s one)

You can also play and get funny stuff such:

I’d appreciate any feedbacks. Cya guys :v:

Tax Engineering v10.93 - link


This looks very good!

It’s a very tight curve and the lines are nice.

Could you tell me what the steps - particularly the nosings are doing beneath? What’s the stair layout?

Thanks :slight_smile:

Well I didnt tought of that at first but could be something simple:

3D model:
Glass stairs.skp (9.3 MB)

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Nice work!! Both the stair and the script!!

Yes I thought there’d be more rise going on beneath the wreath in this case too - from the OPs images.

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It’s great to hear people discussing this topic, as I am always trying to figure out a better way to make these fittings. I just thought I’d say that if you can make a good CAD model, then some parts can be machined on a 3-axis CNC machine that has a rotational axis. I know there are fancier CNC machines with more axis that can do this as well, but here’s a few pics of some parts I have machined for a paint grade handrail on my CNC:

Rough pass:

Finish pass:

Machined parts:

Fitting parts together and using all-thread and epoxy to bond parts together:

Using files, sandpaper, Dremel tool etc., to smooth everything out:



Don’t often see a decent one of these done by CNC. All down to the high quality of your drawing of course!

Thanks very much :slight_smile:

For natural wood I think ur probly doing the best already.

Other than woodwork, it could be done in plastic or aluminium which allows us for other methods as 3d printing and casting. But theres also the style and cost to consider, ofc.

Quality of drawing sure helps I agree. And yes, this kind of work tends to be time and money consuming. 3D printing seems intriguing. Sometimes I have cut parts on the bandsaw (as shown in a previous post) and then I just carved everything using a grinder with a carving attachment as well as a low grit flapwheel sanding attachment on the grinder to get close to the shape desired. Then I use files, chisels etc to get closer in detail and then aggressive sandpaper followed by finer sandpaper. Either way, I hope you find a resolution to this challenge :slightly_smiling_face:


There are a few of us doing it the traditional way on instagram. One guy, Wayne Mavin from NSW is producing hand made rails of exceptional quality very quickly using hand planes and spokeshaves. (No connection with my company btw)

I’m very interested because we may be approaching a turning point where we can now produce a 3D drawing of sufficient quality more quickly and producing these rails with CNC with lower cost than we can make them the traditional hand shaped way.

If so it’s quite a moment in stairmaking history.


Thanks for the link - beautiful work. I will have to take a look on Instagram to see what’s happening in this particular niche. I feel we are definitely at that point in time you mention. I guess it’s about taking the old knowledge (so as to ensure the beauty and gracefulness) and blending it with the advantages of new technology. And still at the end, adding some human work helps make these parts look real and not just made by a machine.

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Yes you’re right about the human touch. I think we tend to marvel at the tech and forget just how capable an intelligent, trained and skill-honed dextrous artisan can be. Some guys can almost do this stuff by eye! Wayne being a case in point. In fact Ive never done a cad handrail drawing that didn’t need to be tweaked by eye to get the lines just beautiful.

And though I do think we are at that turning point as far as the tech is concerned, as has been the case across history, there are a limited number who can visualise and spatialise the various geometrical, and structural problems including the legal nuances - then combine these in an aesthetically pleasing way into 3d cad, then have access to the right kind of CNC.

And thats just handrails. Most of these talented people are doing more important things :rofl:


Dear All,

could you please help me, I tried drawn a handrail in sketch up, but the shape is different than I expected (in the middle handrail is very flat).

Please see below file of final effect and path of rail.

barerka 1 part 1.skp (6.7 MB)