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the railing im making will use nails, but the question came to mind:

advantages and disadvantages?

between using a nut and bolt to connect two pieces of wood

and using a nail to connect two pieces of wood

  • A sketch or photo of a similar railing might help folks provide better answers. – Tester101 Jun 23 '14 at 9:53
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You always want railings to be very strong. Folks seem to have a natural trust of railing, and you don't want to break that trust. When somebody leans against your railing, you don't want the railing to give way and allow the person to fall.

Depending on the design of the railing, you'll want to use bolts and/or screws wherever possible. Nails will pull out far more easily than either screws or bolts.

  • Totally agree with Tester101. Hand rails need to be reliably strong, and bolts and/or screws should definitely be used. A side benefit is that they facilitate later maintenance. Although most costly than nails, cost should be secondary on safety related work. – getterdun Jun 24 '14 at 2:26
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Depends on what kind of rail are you making, interior or exterior? newel to newel, or over the post?

My experience has been to drive nails in will mean some shaking of the parts are going on. Shaking means things are loose, not good in a handrail assembly. An air powered nail gun will minimize the shaking, but this is used mainly on exterior rails where parts are just laid over one another so to speak. Interior rails use drilled holes or screws to assemble much of the system together, rail bolts included.

Nuts and bolts, or more accurately, handrail bolts will draw the parts together slowly at your pace to line everything up as it gets tighter

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