I was a building contractor for many years, but now I work as a stair builder for Cooper Stairworks in Somerset, Mass. After many years of installing stairs in the field, I'm now one of the leaders of the production team in the shop. I was part of the team of stairbuilders on the project described in the article, " Installing Manufactured Stairs" (9/00). A couple of weeks later, after the drywall was in, I went back to the site to install the railing system. This article describes that process. Like many other stair builders, we will send people to your site to install the stairs and railings if you need that. However, the packages we send out are complete enough that any carpenter can do the on-site work. In fact, even some skilled homeowners have installed their own packages. We do most of the measuring and fitting in the shop, so the site installation usually takes a day or less, depending on the complexity of the stair system.

Many of the pieces in the railing package are premeasured, pre-cut, and prenotched in the shop, based on the field measurements taken by our site rep. We cut each railing package at the same time as we build the stairs, using the actual stairs to guide us (see Figure 1).

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