Custom Railing Fabrication – Part 2
Schaus-Vorhies Manufacturing (SVM) prides itself on manufacturing only the highest quality products. Our fabricators, machinists, and engineers create the best that you can find anywhere from systems designed for heavy-duty industrial use to ornate custom items. Fabricating a custom railing is no exception.
Last time, we started talking about the kind of work that goes into creating a custom railing. Given the time and expense involved in creating that kind of functional art, it has to be flawless. This is true whether its destination is a five-star hotel or a home that has to withstand the heavy day to day use of family life as well as entertaining on the weekends. Using the beautiful metal and wood railing featured on our website as a template, we detail how the metal rings at the top get made and assembled with the metal bars on top and bottom.
Today, we’ll give the same attention to the detail that has to be given to the making of the metal spindles, the wood portions, and assembling the entire metal railing. If you look closely, the spindles are not all the same. There are multiple designs incorporated into the finished railing. The thicker spindles are simple, with a slight taper and no flourishes of detail, and provide the bulk of the support. Then there are thinner spindles with different amounts of additional detail. It is also a long railing, meaning that there will be several of each kind of spindle. Given than the railing has to be flawless for our customers, the best option for creating these spindles is to turn them on a CNC lathe. Naturally, our machinists could turn them on a manual lathe themselves. Still, since many pieces have to be identical, the ability to program the CNC lathe makes it the preferred option in this case.
Now, recall that there are three different spindle designs incorporated into the railing. That means you are going to need to program each of the designs into the CNC lathe, one after the other. Of course, we would make all of one kind of spindle at once. It’s both more efficient and reduces the risk of error when making the spindles. After the first of each batch is made, it would be checked against the design to ensure that the product conforms to the customer’s specifications. Then, the machinist puts in the next piece of raw material and lets the machine do its work. Not that the machinist is idle. He will monitor the machine, ensuring that it is performing well, adding coolant as necessary (milling metal generates a lot of heat), and correct any errors along the way.
The metal bars that run along the bottom of the custom railing are then carefully measured and cut. Once done, the whole assembly is laid out on that flat surface again so that they can then be welded together. These welds have to be perfect, and they have to be perfect every single time. There are hundreds of welds in that railing, and each one has to be of the highest quality. No need to worry, though; SVM only hires the best welders around. They will make every weld to hold and still be as small as possible, grinding them to perfection and getting them ready to go off for the finishing touches.
You might notice that there are also wood components to the railing. These have to be made separately. They are selected from the finest quality wood and routed to the desired shape, providing just the right accents to the design. They are then stained and finished and set aside to wait for the final assembly.
What of the metal? Indeed we’re not putting it up bare? In some cases, that may be desired. Stainless steel will shine for decades if well cared for. Brass, of course, provides a classic look that will take your guest back to decades past; however, there may be other colors desired for the finished product, or some type of protective coating might be needed. For both those applications, we would recommend sending it over to another Schaus-Vorhies Company, Paint-Line, for a thorough powder coating. More on that and other options provided by Paint-Line next time.