Guardrails, Gates, Fences, & Handrails

I have designed and crafted handrails, guardrails, fences, and gates in so many different ways I decided to start collecting them here. The material choices, colors, textures, and weathering aspects are just some of the considerations that come into play with each one.

WaterShed fire stair bent-plate handrail

WaterShed bridge galvanized rail

Baker St. alaskan yellow cedar handrail

There are a vast number of possibilities for materials, and I enjoy playing with the predominant project materials to discover fitting ways to employ them for these finishing touches.

WaterShed stamped steel & rebar fence

WaterShed rebar gate

Summer Lake Home steel rails

In this case a simple bridge with common materials scaled to intersect each other with room for structural welds not needing ground flat. (The bridge stringer's stability struts are located at the bolted guardrail attachment points)

A bit of flair is visible upon closer inspection of this open-bottom knife plate that shows off the joinery, gives room for the weld, and facilitates galvanization

Oak Hill School Tech Center stair hard at work as guardrail + glassboard + structure

WaterShed rail w/#3 rebar: made by bending shapes in situ

A sinuous reach for the loft here at the Summer Lake Residence (below). Bill Roach designed the house and ladder (alternating tread device) and left me to my own devices to develop something fun for the handrail while he went off to explore the desert.

The Summer Lake Residence living room guard and handrail are also finishing house touches. For this one Bill talked about the sinuous grasses and wildflowers along the local fencelines, but with a refined sensibility that built on what we learned at Playa Retreat.

Bill also guided me to develop this rail with segmented parts of roundstock in a syncopated pattern.

A modernist approach with a rustic material, the Oak Hill Garden Fence was built with a chainsaw, a drill, and lots of craftsmanship. The juniper rails are bolted to the post tops with a single bolt in each, and the metal panels are drilled directly into the post edges.

The WaterShed is full of these rebar apartment guardrails with smooth alaskan yellow cedar handrail winding up them. Thankfully an expert carpenter (Joe Clifford) was willing to execute my vision for continuous runs of handrail, and he used attractive spline joints to give them strength. The posts and douglas fir for the stringers, treads, posts and guardrail caps are from 3x joists we salvaged during the demolition of a building on site to make way for this one.

The Playa Retreat juniper fence and back gate after a decade of aging. Both Bill Roach and Julie Bryant provided the vision for this, even collecting the rocks from local fields and filling the cairns.

Playa Retreat featured mild steel railings throughout with steel fence T-posts and their spades used as supports.

By the time we got to the artist studios at Playa Retreat rail designs were becoming gradually more whimsical.

One of my favorite playa guardrails is this humble integration of landscape and fence/guardrail which Bill Roach and I collaborated on at Playa Retreat. The flatstock skirting is mild steel but it acts like cor-ten in the eastern Oregon desert. The planter at right combined with the bench provides adequate clearance for guardrail elimination--allowing for clear eastward views toward the lake.