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Just got a mountain "cabin" and the angled/slanted deck railing is a bit loose; just enough to instill some fear in those wanting to lean over and take in the view.enter image description here

Here's a shot of what I'm dealing with. Tightening the bolts is usually an effort in futility, so I'm thinking more along the lines of a bracket, but I'm open all ideas.

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Thanks for looking, and any input/insight would be appreciated!

  • Please edit to explain the "exercise in futility" a bit more so we know what the problem actually is. Inability to tighten? Movement after tightening? Something else? – isherwood Aug 7 '17 at 0:35
  • I'd suggest glue between the beam and post faces,, but i don't know about the cross-grain interactions. – Spencer Joplin Aug 9 '17 at 4:40
  • I would upgrade to a larger diameter All thread washers and nuts (Some areas do not allow the use of all thread), in my area they allow it and it is a lot cheaper than similar sized bolts. – Ed Beal Feb 12 '18 at 14:27
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I'd try something simple first. The problem is there's too much play in the fastening of the post boards to the joists below.

Gluing, suggested in another answer, could work - it would take out the play - you'd just have to be careful to use a good strong outdoor rated glue. I am not sure the glue would hold up with the weight of the post and the length of the lever. Even if it does hold up, gluing would make it difficult to maintain - you would have to cut the posts off the joists if any post needs to be replaced.

The posts are attached to the joists with two carriage bolts. Carriage bolts are inserted through drilled holes, and the top of the bolt has a square chunk under the cap that keeps it from spinning when you tighten it. You only put a wrench on the nut. You can't apply too much force without spinning the bolt.

I'd replace those carriage bolts with hex head bolts, and use a fender washer under the bolt head and the nut. With a hex bolt, you'll have a wrench on the bolt head and another on the nut and you can apply a lot of force. The fender washer will spread the force over more area than a regular washer.

I'd also loosen all the bolts, then replace them one by one. Let the rail sag before you tighten everything so it's not sprung in place, it's already at rest when you tighten everything.

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Triangles are your friend. It's impractical to make the horizontal support and slanted support into a triangle by running from the top of the slanted support to the wall joint of the horizontal, although it would be quite strong.

Consider instead to extend the horizontal beam either from below or from either or both sides to a point outward as far as you can tolerate. If you extend the beam outward to a point that matches a plumb line from the slanted support, you'll have a compromise between strength and appearance. If you extend the beam outward to a point twice the distance of a plumb line, you improve the strength of the slanted portion and lose only a bit in appearance, but that's an opinion.

Brace diagram Image not to scale.

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What you have doesn't look too bad. Maybe some new bolts that have a hex head with flat hasher under bolt the head and the nut could be tightned better. Looks like you have carriage bolts that are pulling through. You could go to a larger bolt, drilling out the holes so that the bolts have a tighter fit. Tip - replace one bolt at a time!

If you still want something stiffer, you could run a piece of steel or even wood, bad from the top bolt (replace with a longer one) at an angle back to the bottom of the beam. That triangulation would stiffen it up.

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What's your budget look like?

You could replace that with built in seats that have an angled back (maybe like the 2x4 basics seating bracket). You will end up with more direct-to-deck connections and hopefully a more solid feel. It may end up blocking some of that view though.

Good luck!

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