For those that are new to ordering or constructing a staircase, one of the most daunting aspects is determining what rail fittings to order. From upeasings to goosenecks, tandem caps to turnouts, there is quite an array of parts that can go into a stairway handrail. The more complicated the staircase, the greater the complexity of pieces than may be needed.

Most manufacturers use a four number system first for their rail and a corresponding four number system for the rail fittings. Typically the rail numbers start with a “6”. For example one of the most common rail profiles in the country is a 6010. The corresponding fittings for this rail profile would exchange the number “6” with a “7”. The “0” would remain the same and the third and fourth number would specify the fitting (upeasing, gooseneck, etc.). So the upeasing fitting for the 6010 profile would be “7012”. The gooseneck would be a “7098”. And so the first two numbers -“70” always refer to fittings that “fit” to the 6010 handrail. A 7312 would be an upeasing for a 6310 handrail and so on. A 7398 would be a gooseneck that works with a 6310 handrail.

For the rest of this article I will define the major fittings with a picture.

  • Upeasing
  • Upeasings are transition pieces that transition from horizontal to the “rake” angle of the stairs. The rake angle is the angle of the handrail going up the staircase. And so upeasings are typically located at the bottom section of rail. See image below.

    7012 upeasing

    7012 upeasing

    On the other hand overeasings (see below) transition from the rake angle to the horizontal plane. And so they are located at the top of the rail section.

    7013 overeasing

    7013 overeasing

    Like so many of these fittings, there are a number of different features that are available to each fitting. For example the upeasing below has a “Cap”. It would be used to start the rail at the starting newel in an over-the-post application.

    7010 easing with cap

    7010 easing with cap

    This fitting below is used exactly like the fitting above but it has no “cap”.

    7015 starter easing

    7015 starter easing

  • goosenecks
  • Goosenecks are transition pieces as well. They transition from the rake angle to the horizontal. These fittings are always located at the top of a rail section. See the image below. They overcome the height difference between the rake section and a landing or balcony. A “single rise” gooseneck is tall enough for a single rise (about 7 1/2 inches) height. A “double rise” is tall enough for two rises (about 15 inches).

    7098 gooseneck

    7098 gooseneck

    Goosenecks have quite a variety of available add on features depending on your needs. The gooseneck below has a cap (under which the newel will fit) and makes a right hand turn. Of course, left handed goosenecks are available as well with or without caps. Some goosenecks are available that return 180 degrees not just 90 degrees.

    7085 right hand gooseneck with cap

    7085 right hand gooseneck with cap

  • Volutes and Turnouts
  • A volute is a spiral scroll-like ornamentation. The word volute comes from a Latin word meaning scroll. Volutes were used originally in Greek architecture. Volutes and turnouts (pictured below) are all starter pieces. The volute typically rest on top a series of balusters set in a circular fashion with a small cylindrical newel at its center. The balusters “cage” the newel. Volutes and turnouts are sold left and right handed.

    7030 left handed volute

    7030 left handed volute

    The vertical volute pictured below is set vertically over the newel and balusters. The image below has it laying on its side but this is not the way it would rest atop the newels and balusters.

    7032 verticle volute

    7032 verticle volute

    The turnout below is a starter piece as well as the volute but not quite as fanciful.

    7040 left handed turnout

    7040 left handed turnout

  • Quarter turns and tandem caps
  • Quarter turns, or “level” quarter turns, unlike the transition pieces above, are all set on the horizontal plane. These are usually used in a balcony or landing area. Some of these pieces have caps in which a newel would be place below. Others without the caps have only balusters below.

    This particular quarter turn has no cap. See below

    7011 - level quarter turn without cap

    7011 - level quarter turn without cap

    This quarter turn has a cap.

    7021 - quarter turn with cap

    7021 - quarter turn with cap

    The tandem cap would have a newel below instead of only balusters.

    7020 - tandem cap

    7020 - tandem cap

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