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“Wheeled” Porch Railing Catches Eyes
After Robert McMahon got the idea for his half-wheel porch railing, he started collecting antique steel wheels for the project, but soon grew frustrated.
“They were all different sizes and needed work,” says McMahon. “I decided to make my own from scratch. Most of our driveway was once a wagon trail route, so the wagon wheel motif seemed appropriate.”
McMahon based his wagon wheels on some from a 5 1/2-ft. logging arch. He used 3 1/2-in. wide, 3/8-in. thick, steel flat bar for the rims and bent them to shape on a modified, Harbor Freight tubing roller (Vol. 43, No. 3).
“I made the 30 1/2-in. spokes from 5/8-in., round steel bar,” says McMahon. “The hubs are pieces of 4-in. pipe, 4-in. rings and 4-in. metal balls.”
McMahon dressed up the railing by filling open spaces with scrollwork. He used Italian made, 1/2-in., hammered square steel scroll sections that he bought from Triple S steel supply.
“They were cut apart and cold-worked to shape and welded in place,” says McMahon. “They are like dust zephyrs coming off the wheels to give them motion.”
The top rail sits 42 in. above the porch deck. McMahon used 5-in. wide steel for it.
“It is wide enough that we have used it for a table surface when entertaining,” he says.
McMahon built the railing in six 8-ft. sections and two 13-ft. sections, 72 ft. in all. Each section is secured to wood posts with sixteen 6-in. lag screws.
“Powder coating the sections was about 30 percent of the $28 per ft. cost,” he says. “My blacksmith buddies get $200 to $300 per ft. for custom railings.”
Contact:  FARM SHOW Followup, Robert McMahon, P.O. Box 7008, Knoxville, Tenn. 37921 (ph 865 690-7783; robbo2871@gmail.com).

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1