Rail Jig

Rail Jig

Here is a simple method I have used to space deck balusters quickly and evenly for decks with regular post spacing. It is based on an old hand drafting trick I learned in high school many years ago.

Draw a centerline down the length of a 1x2 about 6” longer than the space between 2 posts.. Starting from the left, stick a finish nail about 2” from one end. The next one 4 1/2” from the first, the 2nd and all the rest 6” along the line. Draw an X on the right side of each nail. You're done.

To use it fit the stick between 2 posts so that the first and last nail jam. The jig should fit at an angle. Clamp the low end. Place (cover the x's), plumb and fasten the balusters.. For turned balusters you can carry the nail mark up to the top rail with a level or square.

With pre drilled balusters the job goes quickly, the spacing is even, no layout is required, and the jig automatically compensates for slight variations in post spacing.

If you want different spacing, place the first 2 nails at the space you want, add the width of the baluster to the space for the distance between the other nails. So for a 3” spacing, with a 1” baluster the first space is 3” all the others are 4”.