I have a continuous over post handrail system to install this week that is a custom profile I haven't worked with before. It is being custom made and I haven't even seen it yet, but understand it is only 1-1/4" tall by 2-1/4" wide with only slightly profiled edges, sort of contemporary design. Although I have installed dozens of stair balustrades, 99.9% of them are post to post and use standard profiles. I am a little rusty on over post systems, but that is not my main concern.
My question is what do you think would be the best way of joining the fittings/rail sections together? I don't believe standard rail bolts will work because of the height (1-1/4"). They might, but the depth of the access hole would be very close to penetrating through the top of the rail. I have considered loose dowels with epoxy, and pocket screws using long screws, but don't know if I am overlooking the obvious or not. I have a Senclamp gun I use for alignment on standard profiles, but the fasteners aren't strong enough to be the sole fastener. The rail is maple with 1-1/4" square painted balusters. There is total of 42 ft of rail and 13 fittings needed for this system. I only have two days to complete the job so I need an efficient way of fastening them. Any suggestions?
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor A:
When working with low profile rail we us planetary or ball fasteners. You can join things as thin as 3/4". One problem is that you will need to make special size plugs for the holes.
Additionally, I had posted the same question over at JLC and a couple of posters said they used standard rail bolts for low profile rails by using a Forstner bit and lowering the thru hole. So, perhaps I have a couple of choices. If I can't get the ball fasteners in time, I'll just try rail bolts.