Handrail tie description.
The handrail tie is a horizontal metal tie that ties the handrail to the adjacent stringer.
This is to prevent lateral movement of the handrail, thereby avoiding loosening of the spindles that may result in an unstable handrail.
Here we have an overview of the more common options but the ends may be mixed and matched to get the tie to work in any given situation.
There are times that the handrail ties are not suitable for use, for example when the flights are elliptical or a large well between the flights, in these instances cast spindles may be used that are set into the stringers to add stability. for more information about this see our spindle fitting page.
Timber stringers with spindles.
The handrail tie is designed to stop lateral movement of the handrail.
This will normally be used on flights with a narrow stairwell that is up to about 1′ or 300mm between handrail centres.
With the tighter turns in these flights, the corner although giving some stability often requires additional assistance with keeping the handrail steady over a longer period.
The ties are a steel bar that has a timber thread on one end and is screwed through the stringer face into the carriage, at a point that crosses with the handrail flow from the lower adjacent flight.
The other end of the bar has a short 90º turn, keeping the return short to fit between the spindles and is then fixed to the underside of the handrail by means of a flat plate mounted on the end of the bar.
The thread is easily achieved by cutting the thread from a coach bolt and welding to the end of the handrail tie.
The bar itself will normally be perfectly adequate at 3/8″ or 9mm Ø. This is just a bit more slender than the 1/2″ or 12mm Ø bar and blends in much nicer.
Once fitted the bar is best finished in a dark colour or painted to match the stringer colour.
The handrail tie is best positioned with the handrail fixing plate as close to a spindle as possible and on the upper side of the spindle to allow space for a screwdriver and screws while fixing to the handrail.
Period handrail tie.
This is a traditional handrail tie, there are many of these in and around London, they are made using a length of 3/8″ 9mm Ø bar.
At the stringer end, the bar would be annealed and flattened slightly, a hole 3/8″ Ø would be drilled through the stringer into the carriage, then the bar would be hammered home to secure it.
At the handrail end, the bar would be heated till soft enough to bend, then bent through 90º for about 1 3/4″ – 44mm, the bar is then bent back through 90º for about 1/2″ – 12mm heated and penned flat, finally a hole is drilled through the flat section of the bar to allow a fixing screw into the underside of the handrail.
Post-fit handrail ties.
Plate both ends.
The handrail tie with a plate on both ends may be used when fitting after the handrail is already in place, the plate that attaches to the string is normally rebated into the stinger, filled and painted to look like an original style or pre fitted handrail tie.
Rose, stringer end.
This is another option for fitting a handrail tie after the hand
Core rail, cast spindles and stone flights.
There are different options available in the design when fitting to stone stairs or when a core rail for fitting cast spindles too.
Any way the tie is connected to the core rail may also be used for connecting to the handrail saddles or roses when making the ties above.
Here we have an option for when the handrail tie is fitted to the underside of the core rail.
The tie is created with a spigot or dowel to the top of the upright section of the tie.
This is located into a hole drilled through the core rail and then either peened over or tack welded to lock it into place.
Tapped and screwed.
This is the more popular way of fitting the handrail ties to the core rail, By drilling and countersinking a hole through the core rail and then fitting the handrail tie by a drilled and tapped hole in the top of the tie, then an allen or hex head screw is used to secure through the core rail.
The stringer end of the tie normally just has a few notches cut into it, this is enough to lock the tie into an oversized hole that is drilled into the side of the stone or concrete staircase.
Traditionally the tie would have been cemented into the hole, hence the oversizing to allow for the cement to fit around the tie.
With modern materials, most contractors opt to use a chemical fixing, this requires less clearance around the tie and leads to a neater finish.