In carpentry, as in life, there are often several different ways of accomplishing any given goal. This is not one of those times. That statement has no relevance when it comes to setting spindles in a handrail. To my knowledge, there’s only one way. And that one way involves a precise layout and execution.
With so many regulations and guidelines restricting handrails in the building code, forethought and planning are crucial when putting together any handrail. According to the new modern code, no gap anywhere in the rail system (or stair system for that matter) can allow a 4″ spherical ball to pass through it. With non-symmetrical newel posts and tapered spindles, that can get tricky. Basically, there’s a lot of math involved. I’m not going to show you all the math, cause well, that’s boring, but here’s a look at the process of setting the spindles and railing in what’s known as a ‘plowed’ rail system.