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  1. #1
    Jon Aronstein Guest

    Default Baluster Boring Jig?

    Anyone know where to get a good jig for boring angled handrails for balusters? One with spacing and angle? Any home made ones? Any good tricks for doing it without a jig?
    Thanks
    Jon

  2. #2
    Jeff B Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    Most stair installers drill those holes freehand with a spade bit and a pitch block. If you want to see home made stair jigs, track down this FHB article.

    A Veteran Stairbuilder's Tools and Tips
    Modified tools and custom jigs expedite staircase assembly
    By Michael Von Deckbar-Frabbiele


    FHB

  3. #3
    Roger P Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    Jon: Ive never used this. I just stumbled onto it this morning while checking out rail systems.
    Roger




    Deckorators

  4. #4
    Gary Wiese Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    I free hand it with a spade bit, however, when it isn't to much trouble to remove the rail I flip it end over end and lay it on the stair case and drill straight down.

    Gary W.

  5. #5
    Jeff B Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    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.


    General Tool H3487 Drill Guide

  6. #6
    Daniel Parish Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    L.J. Smith sells a baluster drilling jig that is very heavy duty, and easy to use. You can use the jig on any pitch from 0 to 60 degrees.
    Dan

  7. #7
    Jeff B Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    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.

    http://www.ljsmith.net/installation.pdf


    Bore Buster

  8. #8
    Paul Paradis Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    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.

  9. #9
    Jon Aronstein Guest

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    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.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    Thank yOu :)
    Last edited by AdrianRP; 08-13-2010 at 10:43 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    Yes, it's a marketable product.
    Richie Poor

    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, value engineer your unit prices.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Syracuse Ut
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    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    If you can find a used BoreBuster that was made in the US do it, don't buy a new one. The new ones are Chinese and not worth the money.

    Free hand with a spade bit and a drill with a level built in or epoxied on works much better, and is allot cheaper.

    The jig that Adrian RP made looks good, but a 4-inch center is rare one the stairs.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    St. Augustine, Fl.
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    323

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    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.

    Roger
    The main idea is to be smarter than a piece of wood

  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Everett View Post

    It is what it is, and use what it is, cause that's what it is.
    Truer words have never been spoken. Unless it ain't.
    Richie Poor

    See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, value engineer your unit prices.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    2,411

    Default Re: Baluster Boring Jig?

    I used the Bore Buster a few years ago for about 5 railing jobs and it was more of a hassle that it was worth, IMHO. i get better results with an angle block clamped on the rail and a spade bit.
    S.M.Titmas.

    "Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you. You just gotta find the ones worth suffering for."
    - Bob Marley

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