[[UPDATE FOR 2016]]
Locust Railing Available Again!!
[[UPDATE FOR 2016]]
Log Railing for Log Homes and Log Cabins
There is no railing design more unique than this one which incorporates rustic deck balusters made of mountain laurel branches. In the forest, the branches grow into wondrous shapes. The trees transform into logs used by master craftsmen in the Smoky Mountains to make the best-looking log railing around!
Log Home, Log Railing?
It can be difficult to find the right log style railing. Form isn’t everything. You want cabin railings that also serve their function. Finding a log home railing that will last is difficult. For the most part rustic handrails are not painted or sealed from the conditions because it detracts from the natural look. One option is to source materials like cedar and mountain laurel that are naturally resistant to the elements. Rustic cedar railings for instance will last a long time however they may not be as strong as other rustic wood railings.
Options for Log Cabin Railings
Longevity is a good trait, and good handrails need to be strong. They must support actual use. For log homes, rustic log railings are usually constructed from bulky logs, often with vertical balusters that mimic more modern railings and detract from the natural flow of the architecture in the name of strength. For this reason log railings are becoming less popular than other styles of log home railings. Some rustic cedar railing options have already been discussed but there are several more rustic wood railing options like teak or brazilian oak, also called ipe, that both last a long time and are strong enough to bear weight. There are even composite materials that if used correctly can maintain the rustic railing look.
White Pine Log Railing with Log Newel Posts
This log and branch railing is the most unique looking railing available for your log cabin decor! Since each stick comes with its own unique contours, you’ll find no boring deck balusters on these railings. The carpenters try to use the longest sticks possible to really add character to each section. You can see in the picture how this makes a fabulous statement on your deck! Sometimes, there is rustic furniture that invites you to take a seat and have a cool drink.
The preassembled sections in these log railing kits arrive at the jobsite ready to install. Some work is required to install this log railing kit but as one carpenter I worked with as an apprentice said, “If it’s wood, I can fix it.” You provide your actual post to post measurements and we work together to determine the appropriate amount to add on to the actual measurement to allow for on site joinery.
This is such a great log cabin idea! Each one is unique since the branches and the logs are different. There is so much variation between the pieces since the material arrives to the workshop in the twisted and wonderful shapes.
Stained Cedar Log Railing
This custom white cedar log railing was precisely crafted to fit metal brackets with attachment points. The logs are white cedar 4″ rounds that have been stained with Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil in the Mahogany Flame color. The cedar logs take on a great look and nicely compliment the mountain laurel branches. These log sections are super strong and sturdy and are the perfect fit for any log cabin!
The feel of real wood under your hand as you lean on you deck is utterly unmatched by any other building material. A real log also has a plethora of textures and visual accents ingrained before any work is done to it at all—true natural beauty incarnate. The form of the log itself—not quite precisely flat in any direction—will be different from every other log railing out there, ensuring a unique look for your deck.
Black Locust Log Railing
Made from black locust logs for the top and bottom pieces with the mountain laurel branches carefully fit to the curve of the log, these railings require master carpentry skills. Black locust logs are available with the bark on and intact or with the bark peeled off and the logs sanded smooth.
A log railing is an excellent way to set your deck and your back yard apart. While you could have a railing made from conventionally cut and smoothed boards of wood or constructed out of other materials such as iron or plastic, there is something truly special about a railing made out of a simple log. The log railing itself gives your deck a taste of nature that it couldn’t have otherwise.
The log railing nicely compliments the twists and turns made by the rungs of locust or laurel wood that connect the railing’s top and bottom. Plus, wood is quite strong on its own without the need for any reinforcement, and a log railing can deal with anything life on the back porch could throw at it.
Log Railing Installation Instructions
There are many ways to attach the railings to the posts. One method involves drilling a hole, or mortise, in the post. The end of the log railing is shaped into a tenon which then fits tightly into this hole. Screws are sometimes used to secure this joint. This method can be difficult as the railing sections must be installed concurrently with the posts.
Another method is to shape the ends of the railing log to match the curve of the log post in much the same manner as the mountain laurel sticks are to match the log top and bottom.
Check out this custom project for a house on Lake Keowee, SC. This is a completely custom design based on the owner and design team’s specifications. The top locust logs are narrower diameter than the bottom one. All the laurel sticks are a larger diameter than normally used. The result is a Locust and Laurel Rustic Railing that is unlike any other!
This log railing uses black locust logs for the top and bottom with a narrower log on the top. The branches are a large diameter to match the logs.
Pictures of Black Locust Logs with Bark and with Bark Peeled
Look at pictures of Black Locust logs with the bark on and with the bark removed, or peeled. These logs are great for a rustic wood railing.
Black Locust is a great lumber choice for a rustic railing. It is a hard, durable wood that is commonly used where durability was a primary concern. This includes split rail fences, posts for decks and mud sills for buildings. It also makes a great looking railing. We just got in some black locust for a project so now’s a good time to share some pictures. One picture is locust with the bark on and the other is with the bark off, or peeled. There are various diameters of locust shown in each picture. The railing currently under construction is being built with peeled black locust rounds for the top and bottom rails with mountain laurel branches 1.5″ to 2.5″ in diameter woven between. The top and bottom locust rails will be different diameters with the top rail at three to four inches diameter and the bottom at four to five inches diameter.
Bark is removed by a process called hand-hewing. Hewing is where a carpenter uses a tool to manually correct the surface of a piece of lumber. In this case, the carpenter uses a drawknife to remove bark from the logs.