What's the best way to attach a porch railing to a round support (pillar)? The pillars are quite large (about 10" in dia) and to/between them (7' span) I'd like to attach a cedar top rail and bottom rail. Is it simply a matter of creating a template/jig of sorts to facilitate multiple cuts? I'm determined to do this but I'm starting to think this is gonna be more work than I bargained for.
Your intuition is right, it is more work. I was confronted with the same situation last year. After conferring with the architect and project manager, and looking at another house where they had accomplished the same thing, we decided to avoid the situation. We had fiberglass tapered columns similar to yours and a traditional-looking cedar top rail,bottom rail, with vertical pickets kind of railing. So, we stopped short of the columns with a post located as close as framing would allow, and let the handrail overhang the side of the post nearest the column. And stopped. The main factor in our decision to do it that way was appearance. It just didn't look right to have rather large or bulky railing detail dive into the side of a round column. If your detail is just one 2x6, or less, maybe it would look ok. If you are determined to proceed, try a small block of hardwood (locust or white oak) epoxied to the column. Then mortise out a spot on the underside of the rail for your hardwood block to fill up and screw together. let me know what happens.
Thanks Ron, this past weekend I dove into the project. The spans I have range in length from 6-7 feet. I used std 8' cedar rails and pickets. I cut the rails to match the round pillars and then used a belt sander as necessary to get a nice fit. I was pleasantly surprised with how well they came out. Once I had them dry fit I used a Forstner bit to drill a small hole in the side of the rail and then used 2.5" galv screws to affix rail to pillar. Wood plugs filled the holes and made them ready for more paint. The pickets I cut to length, set in place (top rail had plow) and nailed. Needless to say I've got some holes to fill now but the finished product looks quite nice. Thanks for your help.