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The tool Roger linked to is made by General Tool Company. You can see it better on Amazon.com. It's a few dollars cheaper there too :0
I have looked this one over at Home Depot and can't really say anything nice about it. The construction looks very poor. I think it would be difficult to balance this jig on the railing even with clamps. Those spade bits like to jump around a lot. Maybe somebody who has used one can comment. On occasion I have seen stair installers use a small drill press on the jobsite for short rake railings, but never anything like this.
LJ Smith's product is called the Bore Buster. I have no idea why their website has no section for their tools. The Bore Buster has been discussed here in the past if you care to search the archive. Your best bet is to contact your local stair shop as many of them sell specialty stair tools. There are also a limited number of lumber yards that carry LJ Smith products though the price may be a bit high. As far as I recall, this tool can run close to $500 so you had better be doing a lot of railings :)
LJ-3060 Bore Buster
Also called the N-3040
While you are at it why not download a read LJ Smith's excellent guide to installing railings.
I used the borebuster years ago when I worked for a trim carpenter. It works great on straight & curved rails. Simple to use and accurate. I never bought one because I could not get over the cost.
By the way I fit & layout my flat rail, flip it over and drill it on the floor, then attach it to the posts. I layout the rail / subrail with a story stick. And as long as the posts are perfectly plumb the balusters will be also. I hate all that dust from drilling rails in position and this has saved me time from my old ways.
If you try it I doubt you will go back to drilling in place.
I wound up marking my spaces by making a triangle out of plywood of the proper angles. This way I could mark the space as 4 1/2" on the flat became 6 something" on the angle. Then I took the triangle and used it as a guide for drillling. This way I never had to place the railing until all holes were already drilled. Worked great. Thanks for all the tips. By the way, for anyone in Northampton MA area, Amherst Woodworking rents the bore buster by the day. I cant believe the price to buy the darn thing. Jim Tolpin's Finish Carpenters manual shows a cool jig that guides the drill and lays out spacing, but I have not been able to find it.
You could take a small block of wood cut at rake angle with c layout lines. drill a plumb hole in it, then clamp on c lines and layout on rail, and use it as a drill guile. Although, I hate drilling from underneath the rail ( though it's kinda a must for curved rail ), as you end up looking like you got mugged in a saw mill , plus what gets in you eyes. On a straight rail, after laying out rail, I just lay in on srairs turned around 180 and clamped, then standing on stairs, drill straight down, with a spade bit. I also carry a small grinder and custom size my spade bits for a good useable fit.
Layout: On an open stairs, I use a site made spacing jig to layout a baluster line on tape on tread, then the layout for c of balusters. Tranfer to c line marked on bottom of rail ( setting in place ) with a level , plumb bob or plumb laser. Then go about the drilling proceedure needed, ( ie: -- striaght, 180 on stairs or curved from underneath ).
For a rail above a knee wall at rake angle-- first figure out layout ( if you take a pitch block and draw a 4 3/8" line, square to base of pitch block , from pointy end, then measure from pointy end up rake , you will see it's about 5 1/2". This is max layout going up rake. Measure length of knee wall rake , then figure out a layout that works. C/L line and layout. Transfer to in place rail as mentioned above, and drill as above.
As far as the balcony rail goes --well f it, if you need help with that, you need to get some one else to do it.
Disclaimer -- Although I mentioned some numbers , like 4 3/8" and 5 1/2", these are arbitrary numbers, once you figure out from pitch block the actual numers, and from measurements the real world, It is what it is, and use what it is, cause that's what it is.
The main idea is to be smarter than a piece of wood