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Listing #4065   Listed on: 02/22/2013

Company Name: 18th Century Handrail

Contact Name:   Jim Baldwin

Click to View Member Profile Member Photo Member Contact Info Forum Posts Project Gallery Categories
Geometrically correct volute, custom made to the required pitch and carved to a proper convergence.

Quite a lot of work goes into making this kind of part compared to a typical factory component. Not all stairs will warrant the added expense but some demand it.

View Larger, Higher Quality Image

View Larger, Higher Quality Image
Large volute and handrail

Viewer Comments:

Posted By: Dave Sochar     [02/23/2013]
Nice work! You are right - most folks would never guess what goes into one of those. The spiral progression is correctly based on the Golden Section or Pi (as worked out by the Greeks...), and the twist is perfectly fluid.

So much nicer than those factory volutes. The problem is that most people nowadays only see the mass produced crap, and don't even know work like yours exists, much less can be had.

Posted By: Michael Moore     [03/10/2013]
Beautiful work.

Posted By: Michael Moore     [03/10/2013]
beautiful work

Posted By: FunnyName     [03/20/2013]
Exceptional work/art and I agree with D. Sochar.c Also my favorite profile.

Posted By: Jim Baldwin     [03/27/2013]
I'm familiar with CNC production versions and this is nothing like one of those. Show me a volute carved to a point and made to a specified curve and pitch (to the degree).

Can it be done on CNC? Sure, machines can do anything but individual programing would be required on every single volute and part I've ever produced.

Thus far CNC is not the "magic bullit" we've all been led to believe (otherwise I would have aquired one long ago).

I've heard comments like this before and I resent the assertion that this kind of work can be easily done "no problrm". The tuth is it's difficult no matter how you approach it.

Thus far I've yet to see a CNC-made volute even properly laid out let alone fully executed.

I would not nave posted these pictures if the product wasn't unique to the industry.

Posted By: John     [03/29/2013]
Jim, the truth is this product was made by hand. I commend your ability and craftsmanship. Can a machine do this...yes. Can it be done correctly...yes. There is a robot or CNC today that can do most anything however what was not mentioned is that not many people are seeing that "YOU" made this part from knowledge and skill. The truth in my opinion is that we can never move ahead in the future if we don''t know where we have been. I''m a huge fan of CNC even though I do not own one. They can make a part to tolerances that far outshine the most experienced woodworker. Are the, are they, they are only as smart as the person who programs them.

The money it takes to purchase a machine capable with all programs, tooling, fixtures etc. make it out of reach for all but larger stair shops in general, and at least in my area we are dropping like flies even though the economy is improving. I was taught by my father who is "old school" and although my abilities in the tangent handrailing are not as refined as yours, I know firsthand the benefit and pride of knowing that I don''t have to be a multi-million dollar shop or a computer wiz to be able to fulfill my customers requests, and I have all the respect for those of you who own and operate these machines. I see junk work all the time as I''m sure you do. Imported stair parts are all the rage right now because they are less expensive and they do have a place in the market. You and I both know that there are clients who are willing to pay whatever it takes to have something their neighbors do not. What you and I and so many others around the country are doing is keeping the tradition of knowledge and skill alive and well when it's dying all around us. Keep up the good work and I would jump at the chance to work with you to further my knowledge of the mathematics involved which you're obviously a master of.

Posted By: Gringo     [03/29/2013]
Hi John, I own the machine and it makes that sort of stuff all the time. It cost around $350,000 with the software. I am not knocking Jim but to say that cannot be made by a high end machine is utter nonsense. The volute is always relevant to the stairs and is calculated with the stairs when the program calculates the CNC code. Sure there is a small bit of finishing by hand but you would expect some manual work.

Posted By: Jim Baldwin     [04/02/2013]
Utter nonsense?

I never suggested that these parts could not be made by a high end machine. On the contrary, what I said was "sure, machines can do anything".

"Utter nonsense" as far as I'm concerned is spending 350 g's (a very conservative figure)on a machine which I don't require.

With the exception of some initial bandsaw work and carving of the top crevice only, this part was entirely machine made (with no high-end CNC or any of the expenses associated with one).

Utter nonsense is many of the standard-type stair parts which are marketed as "fine woodworking". The truth is, there's nothing fine about a typical 7035 or even the "climbing version".

I do appreciate the value of production products and machinery but I don't appreciate the compromises along the way.

Gringo, if you have a product which you're proud of, post it and let's have a look.

Be advised that I'm a hard critic (but no more on others than I am to myself).

I really appreciate all the comments and don't regard anyone's opinions as "utter nonsense".

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