rail, center it beneath the rail, then plumb the tool using the bubble vial. When satisfied with placement, pull down the spring- loaded head and release. A nail punch will drive into the handrail and create a divot for fastening the baluster. Repeat for each baluster as an easy way to mark placement and ensure plumb. As mentioned earlier, when it came to installing the balusters I “cheated” by using L.J. Smith’s IronPro System—and I’m glad I did. The IronPro system allows you to screw on adjustable, pivoting collars at the top and bottom of the baluster locations to house the iron balusters. The adjustable nature of the system reduces the likelihood of placement error and makes fitting the balusters much faster and easier than traditional countersunk installation methods. To use the IronPro System,
I have three young kids, and by removing the guardrail from the upper stair landing, I created a major safety hazard during this remodel. My solution was to fashion a simple wood gate that closed off the entire landing during con- struction.
I threw this thing together using a sheet of luaun plus some scrap 1× 3 boards and 1× 4 leftover from a disas- sembled shipping pallet. The connec- tions are all made with pan-head screws.
I mounted hinges on one end of the gate and screwed them to the wall.
The other end of the gate gets a hook-and-eye latch, which I located low enough on the stair side that my two youngest kids couldn’t reach it.
Here’s the temporary gate in place atop the stair landing.
To install the IronPro System, first screw the threaded discs onto each lower baluster location.
Screw the pivoting ball adaptor to the baluster’s corresponding location beneath the rail.
After cutting the baluster to length, slide the base collar over the baluster shaft, and insert the upper tip of the baluster into the ball adaptor.
Tilt the baluster down over the mounting plate, slide the base collar down over the threaded disc, then screw it firmly in place.
Tighten a couple of set screws, and the baluster is installed.