How to Bend Handrails for a Curved Flight of Stairs

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Staircases have handrails for safety and aesthetic reasons. Curving stairs challenge the skill and ingenuity of the do-it-yourself builder. With precision and patience, a builder can have a custom-made product to boast about. Handrails can be made from stainless steel pipe, painted pipe, round wood, composites or paper-thin layers of wood glued together to the desired arc and shape. This example employs polyetene pressure water pipe as a base.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Black polyetene pressure water pipe
  • Ship builder strength epoxy
  • 14, 8 foot long, 8mm (5/16") diameter wood battens
  • Paper towels
  • Duct tape
  • Electric wire for tying pipe to wall fasteners
  • Leather or preferred material for laminating railing

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  1. 1

    Measure length of staircase for inside wall rail. Cut water pipe to length, allowing several inches overage. This type of pipe comes in a coil so it needs to be straightened.

  2. 2

    Tie pipe to the wall fasteners with electrical wire. Do not use screws, nails or other permanent ties as these can interfere with the placement of the battens inside the pipe.

  3. 3

    Stiffen the lower end of the rail by inserting seven battens as one group. This completely fills the pipe. Single batten insertion does not obtain the same stability as only five can be inserted. Push the battens in completely.

  4. 4

    Crush some paper towels and stuff into the opening. Secure with duct tape. Pierce the tape one time as a bleed hole for air and epoxy spillage. Pour one half liter of epoxy into the top end of the pipe. Monitor the bleed hole. Put down newspapers and paper towels to absorb any spillage.

  5. 5

    Insert your second bundle of seven battens into the upper end of the pipe and push completely inside. Lubricate the battens with epoxy if necessary. It's not necessary to block the upper opening with paper towels.

  6. 6

    Mold the ends of the rail into their desired permanent positions. Fill the pipe with epoxy from the upper end to saturation and allow to harden.

  7. 7

    Attach wash basin drainage end caps to top and bottom ends of railing with epoxy. Wrap with duct tape to hold until epoxy sets.

  8. 8

    Finish handrail with a laminate or cover with leather. Permanently attach hand rail to wall mountings with screws or nails.

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