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Porch Railing Repair

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  • Porch Railing Repair

    The railing on my rear porch was installed 50 years ago.

    1. Porch railing
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    When it was installed they used Aluminum flanges on the bottom that looked something like the following, except there was a screw clamping the tube. The Aluminum in contact with the steel set up a galvanic corrosion situation in the presence of the salt and water used to melt the ice on the porch, which rotted off the bottom end of the tubing posts and rotted the aluminum castings.

    2. Aluminum flange
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    So about 30 years ago I cut off the damaged bottom of the 1-1/4" tubing posts and oxyacetylene welded on 1-1/4" x 1/8" wall square tubing extensions and stick welded the extensions to 3/16" x 3" x 3" base plates. I attached the new base plates to the concrete slab of the porch with red head type anchor bolts. Eleven years ago I noticed that one of the tubes had burst from water freezing inside the tube as shown below.

    3. Burst tube
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    So I TIG welded a tube to replace the burst tube.

    4. Tube replaced.
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    I added drain holes to bottom of all of the posts. You can see one drain hole if you look carefully in at the following picture.

    5. Replaced tube welded
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    Miller Thunderbolt
    Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
    Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
    Lincoln LE 31 MP
    Lincoln 210 MP
    Clausing/Colchester 15" Lathe
    16" DuAll Saw
    15" Drill Press
    7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
    20 Ton Arbor Press
    Bridgeport

  • #2
    The posts lasted 11 more years until this year. The following picture shows the same post as it looked on this past Friday.

    6. Corner Post
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    The bottom of the tubular posts were rusted out from the inside. It wasn't too apparent from the outside because there was a thin shell of good metal on the outside. Once I tapped it with a picking hammer the rust all broke off the inside of the tube and fell out as shown below.

    7. Loose rust
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    Below is what one post looked like after I vacuumed up the loose rust.

    8. Loose rust cleaned up
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    Next I cut off the damaged tubing on the bottom as shown below.

    9. Bad tube cut out
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    Below are some of the ends of the tube that I cut off.

    10. Pieces cut out
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    Miller Thunderbolt
    Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
    Miller Dynasty 200DX
    Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
    Lincoln LE 31 MP
    Lincoln 210 MP
    Clausing/Colchester 15" Lathe
    16" DuAll Saw
    15" Drill Press
    7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
    20 Ton Arbor Press
    Bridgeport

    Comment


    • #3
      Next I ground the base plate to clean bright metal in preparation for welding.

      11. Base plate cleaned up
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      Below is a picture of the TIG welding setup that I used on Saturday.

      12. TIG welding rig
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      I clamped a bar to the side of the tube to align the replacement stub tube to the bottom of the post.

      13. Clamped for TIG welding
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      Below is the replacement tube end TIG welded.

      14. One post TIG welded
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      I decided to remove the railing on the side of the steps to gain better access to the posts on top of the porch. I wound up breaking off all of the studs. In hindsight I thought I should have heated the nuts to remove them. Instead I just welded new studs to the top of the broken off studs.

      15. Stud clamp
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      Miller Thunderbolt
      Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
      Miller Dynasty 200DX
      Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
      Lincoln LE 31 MP
      Lincoln 210 MP
      Clausing/Colchester 15" Lathe
      16" DuAll Saw
      15" Drill Press
      7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
      20 Ton Arbor Press
      Bridgeport

      Comment


      • #4
        16. All studs welded
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        I chased the threads with a chasing die to make sure that the threads were all ok.

        17. Chasing stud threads
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        I re-installed the railing on the side of the steps and tightened down the repaired studs.

        18. Railing base mounted
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        I put everything away for the night and re-setup on Sunday, but this time I decided to MIG weld everything. I used my free standing fly to keep the sun off. Our weather here in Michigan got up to 90° F each day, so it was brutal welding outside.

        19. Keeping out of the sun
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        20. MIG welding setup
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        Miller Thunderbolt
        Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
        Miller Dynasty 200DX
        Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
        Lincoln LE 31 MP
        Lincoln 210 MP
        Clausing/Colchester 15" Lathe
        16" DuAll Saw
        15" Drill Press
        7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
        20 Ton Arbor Press
        Bridgeport

        Comment


        • #5
          I MIG tack welded the first post.

          21. Tack welded
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          Next I MIG welded it out.

          22. MIG welded out
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          Here is my 2nd weld.

          23. Two welded posts
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          Here it is all done and primed. ( I still have to drill the drain holes.)
          I used 3/16" thick tubing instead of 1/8" so hopefully it will outlast me.

          24. All done
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          Miller Thunderbolt
          Smith Oxyacetylene Torch
          Miller Dynasty 200DX
          Lincoln SP-250 MIG Welder
          Lincoln LE 31 MP
          Lincoln 210 MP
          Clausing/Colchester 15" Lathe
          16" DuAll Saw
          15" Drill Press
          7" x 9" Swivel Head Horizontal Band Saw
          20 Ton Arbor Press
          Bridgeport

          Comment


          • #6
            As usual, an excellent photo story board. I’m thinking aluminum if I move to Michigan when I retire.

            Comment


            • #7
              Nice job, great photos. I've got a small railing I'm going to fix for a fellow employee here. Same rot different location. Ryan your going to retire?

              Comment


              • #8
                Well one day! Just not soon. We own our own pension here, so at some point, it’ll cost me money by going to work. I’m just starting to get things lined out for the long haul since I’m planning on moving as far away from Beaumont Texas as I can when I finally punch out. I am eligible to retire from the fire department in about four years. I can’t draw a pension for six. But the dollars and sense look like I’ll work 11 or 12 more. Gives me time to get Helga wrapped up and packaged for transport. She’s a big girl.

                Comment

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