Duane McGuire Blog

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New Casework and Stair Railing

Category: Woodshop
Date: 2023-02-05

It's nice to see a check mark by this to-do item. As I become more retired, I want to do more woodwork trim in our vanilla home. This project became a requirement when I installed a stairway chairlift1. That's not something we need now, but we do get older every year. The old, standard handrail on the left conflicted with the stair lift, so the opportunity for some woodworking appeared.

The project was done in Western Red Alder (material I have a particular affinity for), and enhanced with a walnut lamination. It matches the baseboard that I did a few years ago in poplar and walnut.

The stairs are at the entry to our home. I like how the eye is drawn to the new craftwork, and not to the new medical appliance on the left.
Credit for the choice of a 1-3/4" full round for the handrail goes to my friend, Justin DeJong. I admired what he had done in his home. I found it to be very appealing: both visually and tactily.
Hardware detail.


  1. 1. The stair chairlift is "there for when we need it." All the bedrooms are on the second floor, and we intend to be here for a long time. I have long thought that a chairlift should be installed before the need arises, while it could still be a do-it-yourself project. Last summer, after an episode of "bad back", I started shopping more diligently and found a good, used chairlift for $700. I uninstalled it from a nearby home that had been purchased by a young couple. It was just a few years old, and had an original installation price of $6,000.
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