When laying out or cutting the stair stringers, don't think of angles. Your steel square, set to the rise and run, gives you the correct angle automatically. This is covered in How to Cut a Stair Stringer, section The Layout.
For the angle on top of the handrail , lay a 2x4 down the steps, resting on the nosing of each stair tread and touching the handrail post. Scribe the vertical angle of the post onto the 2x4. Then set your miter saw or circular saw to that angle or just cut the 2x4 along the line you just scribed and use it to set the angle of the saw. Cut each handrail post with this same angle. For the ends of the handrail itself, use this same angle. Just be sure when cutting the ends of the handrail that you cut on the same side of the board so the ends are parallel to each other. In other words, don't flip the handrail board over between the end cuts.
Dave(Ask Dave) (About Dave)
Hi, I'm Dave Osborne. With over 50 years experience as a journeyman carpenter, foreman and contractor in heavy construction I enjoyed working with apprentices and sharing the tricks of the trade that others shared with me. Now I get emails from Members all over the world and we include many of my answers in our Free Monthly Newsletters. Some of my answers include drawings and instructions specific to a project, but may also answer your questions. I use correct construction terminology, so you can confidently inform your building supply dealers or contractors exactly what you need.
Membership gives you full access to our hundreds of how-to articles, woodworking plans, converters, calculators and tables. Our Stair Calculator is one of the most popular on the internet. We have projects you can build for (and with) your kids, furniture for your wife, and sheds and gazebos. If you run into a problem or need advice your Membership includes unlimited email questions to me through our Ask Dave quick response button.
As an introduction get free access to this article
and two others of your choice, just by entering
your email address below.
Receive our FREE Monthly newsletter which contains a
free set of woodworking plans each and every month.