I heard that a war plan only lasts till first contact with the enemy. This is another project that took on a life of its own. We started to build a thin lightweight curved willow type of a railing. Things went askew almost immediately. We took a trip to the woods to look for some interesting posts for the landing and the floor to carry the top rail. We found an enormous tree that had been cut down with an axe and a crosscut saw then left. It was nearly 5’ thick at the stump, who would work that hard and then leave the tree? The entire tree was still there and I estimate it had been there for 80 years. The trunk was rotten, but the limbs were gorgeous and solid as can be. We hauled a few limbs home and cut our favorites to fit.
After the top rail was in place it was obvious that the project was too beefy for willow balusters. We chose to go with pine limbs instead. This is a troublesome turn of events because of all the pieces and labor to make the needles, cones and limbs. There is also the question of safety with thousands of needles ready to draw blood at any moment. The limbs were made from trim ends from a bolt company and some new 11/4” round bar. There are about 80 “petals” on each pine cone. The pine needles were powder coated; the limbs and the cones have a brown patina then waxed.