Once the design was settled, Norm and Tom began by transferring Whitney's scale drawing to a full-size drawing on wood. They cut that out to make one model baluster, which they then used to make a template out of plywood with a router. "The hard part is making the template," says Norm. "It has to be just right because you're going to use it to make all the other balusters."
After cutting out each one with a router and a hole saw, they sanded and primed every surface. "One of the most important things in exterior work like this is to prime bare wood, and especially the end grain," says Norm. "If you don't seal the end grain, that's where water gets in and rot starts." They used preprimed exterior-grade pine lumber to make the balusters, rather than naturally rot-resistant cedar, to keep costs in check.
Once they installed the rail, the transformation was dramatic. The formerly dim entry and porch had a more inviting look.
"We're really happy with how it came out," Malcolm says. "The railing catches your eye and makes the porch so much more appealing. Now our house looks more welcoming."