A look at handrail bolts, from traditional to modern, their usage and how they are fitted.
Some of the traditional bolts used for over 200 years, these bolts have a coarse thread and a loose fitting nut, the nut will hold the handrail tight but in the event of the handrail shrinking and allowing the joint to come loose over years of use, the nut will come loose from the bolt with a gentle tap, this allow the joints to be separated, cleaned, re-glued and tightened, allowing the strength in the handrail to be restored.
There are two basic styles used. One has a screw thread on one end and a machine thread on the other, the second has a machine thread on both ends.
Screw thread to machine thread.
These bolts are ideaal when one end of the handrail is in a position that does not allow access to the underside or one end of bolt, such as fitting an opening cap to the top of a newel post or tieing the handrail back to a wall.
The screw thread end of the bolt can be fitted, then the handrail fitted over the bolt and the nut and washer applied to the other end to be tightened.
Machine thread to machine thread.
The main handrail bolt used, these would be used throughout the run of handrail, a 3/8″ by 3/4″ slot would be morticed into one end of the two pieces of handrail to be jointed, a hole drilled into the end off the handrail as close to the centre of the height as possible and through to the mortice hole, the square nut and washer would be fitted into the hole the nut being 5/16″. the bolt would be pushed into the hole in the end of the handrail and threaded into the nut that is kept captive and prevented from spinning by the mortice hole being of close tolerance.
Since the 1970s things have changed rapidly, there are a number of new ways that have been used for bolting the handrail together.
Many of these are branded fixings rather than generic, we will cover many of these in this section and add more as we discover them or new fixings are manufactured.