Title:
Stairway system having a hidden fastener
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a stairway system comprising: a plurality of spaced apart treads; a handrail above said treads comprising: a) at least two segments; b) a hidden fastener joining said segments, said hidden fastener having an axis; and at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail. In the preferred embodiment, the handrail further comprises a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments. Also in the preferred embodiment, the stairway system comprises a lateral support for supporting the handrail. A system for and method of joining a handrail having at least two segments is also disclosed.



Inventors:
Green, Robert H. (Lenoir, NC, US)
Nielsen, Kurt (Wilkesboro, NC, US)
Trice, James N. (Wilkesboro, NC, US)
Phillips, Jack C. (Elkin, NC, US)
Application Number:
11/035051
Publication Date:
07/13/2006
Filing Date:
01/13/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F11/00; E04F19/10
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SPAHN, GAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MACCORD MASON PLLC (GREENSBORO, NC, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. A stairway system comprising: (a) a plurality of spaced apart treads; (b) a handrail above said treads comprising: i) at least two segments; and ii) a hidden fastener joining said segments; and (c) at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail.

2. The stairway system according to claim 1, further including a lateral support for supporting said handrail.

3. The stairway system according to claim 2, wherein said lateral support is a newel.

4. The stairway system according to claim 3, wherein one end of said newel is connected to said handrail and the other end of said newel is anchored.

5. The stairway system according to claim 4, wherein said newel is connected to the ends of said handrail.

6. The stairway system according to claim 4, wherein said newel is vertically anchored.

7. The stairway system according to claim 6, wherein said newel is anchored to the floor of the structure.

8. The stairway system according to claim 6, wherein said newel is anchored to at least one tread.

9. The stairway system according to claim 6, wherein said vertically anchored newel includes a bolt and a mounting column.

10. The stairway system according to claim 9, wherein one end of said bolt is a wood screw for attaching to said newel.

11. The stairway system according to claim 9, wherein said mounting column further includes a mounting plate attached to said mounting column.

12. The stairway system according to claim 11, wherein said mounting plate includes a plurality of apertures for receiving fasteners for attaching said plate to the floor of the structure.

13. The stairway system according to claim 1, wherein said spaced apart treads include a foot support surface and means for attaching said foot support surface to the structure.

14. The stairway system according to claim 13, wherein the width of said foot support surface is greater than the depth of said foot support surface.

15. The stairway system according to claim 13, wherein said means for attaching said spaced apart treads to the structure is a stringer.

16. The stairway system according to claim 13, wherein said means for attaching the spaced apart treads to the structure is by wall mounting.

17. The stairway system according to claim 1, wherein said spaced apart treads are spaced at a uniform riser height.

18. The stairway system according to claim 17, wherein said uniform riser height varies between about 6″ and 9″.

19. The stairway system according to claim 18, wherein said uniform riser height is about 7½″.

20. A stairway system comprising: (a) a plurality of spaced apart treads; (b) a handrail above said treads comprising: i) at least two segments; ii) a hidden fastener joining said segments, said hidden fastener having an axis; and iii) a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments; and (c) at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail.

21. The stairway system according to claim 20, wherein said hidden fastener includes at least two portions.

22. The stairway system according to claim 21 wherein one of said portions resides in one of said segments.

23. The stairway system according to claim 22, wherein another of said portions resides in said another of said segments.

24. The stairway system according to claim 23, wherein said portions are complementary.

25. The stairway system according to claim 20, wherein said structure is offset from said axis of said hidden fastener.

26. The stairway system according to claim 20, wherein said structure comprises a dowel.

27. The stairway system according to claim 20 wherein said structure is hidden.

28. The stairway system according to claim 20 wherein said structure comprises an adhesive.

29. A stairway system comprising: (a) a plurality of spaced apart treads; (b) a handrail above said treads comprising: i) at least two segments; ii) a hidden fastener joining said segments, said hidden fastener having an axis; and iii) a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments; (c) at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail; and (d) a lateral support for supporting said handrail.

30. The stairway system according to claim 29, wherein said lateral support is a newel.

31. The stairway system according to claim 30, wherein one end of said newel is connected to said handrail and the other end of said newel is anchored.

32. The stairway system according to claim 31, wherein said newel is connected to the ends of said handrail.

33. The stairway system according to claim 31, wherein said newel is vertically anchored.

34. The stairway system according to claim 33, wherein said newel is anchored to the floor of the structure.

35. The stairway system according to claim 31, wherein said newel is anchored to at least one tread.

36. The stairway system according to claim 33, wherein said vertically anchored newel includes a bolt and a mounting column.

37. The stairway system according to claim 36, wherein one end of said bolt is a wood screw for attaching to said newel.

38. The stairway system according to claim 36, wherein said mounting column further includes a mounting plate attached to said mounting column.

39. The stairway system according to claim 38, wherein said mounting plate includes a plurality of apertures for receiving fasteners for attaching said plate to the floor of the structure.

40. The stairway system according to claim 29, wherein said spaced apart treads include a foot support surface and means for attaching said foot support surface to the structure.

41. The stairway system according to claim 40, wherein the width of said foot support surface is greater than the depth of said foot support surface.

42. The stairway system according to claim 40, wherein said means for attaching said spaced apart treads to the structure is a stringer.

43. The stairway system according to claim 40, wherein said means for attaching the spaced apart treads to the structure is by wall mounting.

44. The stairway system according to claim 29, wherein said spaced apart treads are spaced at a uniform riser height.

45. The stairway system according to claim 44, wherein said uniform riser height varies between about 6″ and 9″.

46. The stairway system according to claim 45, wherein said uniform riser height is about 7½″.

47. The stairway system according to claim 29, wherein said hidden fastener includes at least two portions.

48. The stairway system according to claim 47 wherein one of said portions resides in one of said segments.

49. The stairway system according to claim 48, wherein another of said portions resides in said another of said segments.

50. The stairway system according to claim 49, wherein said portions are complementary.

51. The stairway system according to claim 29, wherein said structure is offset from said axis of said hidden fastener.

52. The stairway system according to claim 29, wherein said structure comprises a dowel.

53. The stairway system according to claim 29 wherein said structure is hidden.

54. The stairway system according to claim 29 wherein said structure comprises an adhesive.

55. In a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments, the system including a fixture comprising: (a) a fixed position portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly for inserting a segment of the handrail; (b) an adjustable portion attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly; and (c) a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion.

56. The system according to claim 55, further including a hidden fastener for joining the segments of the handrail, the hidden fastener having an axis.

57. The system according to claim 56, further including a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments.

58. The system according to claim 55, further comprising a drill for boring at least one hole in a segment of the handrail.

59. A fixture for a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments, the fixture comprising: (a) a fixed position portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces; (b) an adjustable portion attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces; and (c) a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion and comprising a stop and at least one hole guide, the hole positioner for determining a position for boring at least one hole in a segment of the handrail.

60. The fixture according to claim 59, wherein the hole guide is defined by a cylindrical wall.

61. The fixture according to claim 59, wherein the hole positioner comprises at least two hole guides.

62. The fixture according to claim 59, wherein the hole positioner comprises a clamp for selectively setting the hole positioner.

63. The fixture according to claim 59, wherein the hole positioner is movable with respect to the fixed position portion of the fixture.

64. In a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments, the system comprising: (a) a fixed position portion of a fixture, the fixed position portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces; (b) an adjustable portion of a fixture, the adjustable portion attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces; (c) a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion of the fixture and comprising a stop and at least one hole guide, the hole positioner for determining a position for boring at least one hole in a segment of the handrail; and (d) a hidden fastener for joining the segments of the handrail, the hidden fastener having an axis.

65. The system according to claim 64, further including a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments.

66. The system according to claim 64, further comprising a drill for boring at least one hole in a segment of the handrail.

67. The fixture according to claim 64, wherein the hole guide is defined by a cylindrical wall.

68. The fixture according to claim 64, wherein the hole positioner comprises at least two hole guides.

69. The fixture according to claim 64, wherein the hole positioner comprises a clamp for selectively setting the hole positioner.

70. The fixture according to claim 64, wherein the hole positioner is movable with respect to the fixed position portion of the fixture.

71. A method for joining a handrail using a fixture, the handrail having at least two segments, the method comprising: (a) placing a segment of the handrail against a fixed position portion of the fixture, the fixed position portion of the fixture having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly for inserting a segment of the handrail; (b) placing an adjustable portion of the fixture against the segment of the handrail, the adjustable portion of the fixture attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly; and (c) setting a selectively movable hole positioner, the selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion of the fixture.

72. The method according to claim 71, further including inserting a hidden fastener for joining the segments of the handrail into a segment of the handrail.

73. A method of joining a handrail using a fixture, the handrail having at least two segments, the method comprising: (a) placing a segment of the handrail against a fixed position portion of the fixture, the fixed position portion of the fixture having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly and having a distance there between, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces; (b) placing an adjustable portion of the fixture against the segment of the handrail, the adjustable portion of the fixture attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly and having a distance there between, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces; and (c) setting a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion and comprising a stop and at least one hole guide, the hole positioner for determining a position for boring at least one hole in the segment of the handrail.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

(1) Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to handrails and, more particularly, to a handrail with at least two segments joined by a hidden fastener.

(2) Description of the Prior Art

In stairway systems aesthetics and ease of construction are very important. This applies not only to treads, balusters and newels of a stairway system, but also to the handrail as well. Currently, handrail segments are attached by several different methods, each of which entails several disadvantages.

One such method involves boring, at an angle, two large holes through two segments of a handrail. The shorter, smaller hole serves to countersink a bolt that is placed in the hole in order to join the two segments. At the other end of the hole drilled in the second segment of the handrail, a nut is placed on the end of the bolt. Hand tools are then used in order to tighten the nut and bolt assembly, thus securing the two segments of the handrail. When this is complete a wooden cap, of the same diameter as the hole, must then be secured at the end of the drilled hole on each segment in order to close the vacancy. This process, however, has proven to be rather cumbersome. First, it is very time consuming and wearisome because of the multiple procedures that must occur. Furthermore, when the process is complete the handrail is aesthetically imperfect because of the capped segments, which disrupt the otherwise continuous grain of the wood. These two disadvantages combine for a less than ideal process for joining members of a handrail.

While a second method of connecting handrails has proven more aesthetically pleasing, another disadvantage emerges. This method involves manufacturing a rail consisting of a body and a cap. The cap of the rail is generally a long, rectangular top piece, which covers a cavity in the body of the rail when placed into position. Meanwhile, the body of the rail includes a large cavity as well as a hole for the placement of a bolt. Placing the bolt into the hole, tightening the bolt, and attaching the large cap segment of the rail to the body assemble the rail. The large cavity in the body serves to allow the assembler to more easily tighten the bolt. This process, however, is also much less than ideal. Again, the process is quite time-consuming and the rail is still fairly difficult to assemble. Furthermore, while the rail is more aesthetically pleasing because of the large rectangular cap rather than a small circular one, the cap and body approach still leaves a rail without matching grains. In other words, the continuity of the wood is lost.

Thus, there remains a need for a stairway and rail system that may be easily installed in a timely fashion and may be constructed in such a way so as to maintain the continuity of the rail segments by utilizing hidden fasteners.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to a stairway system comprising: a plurality of spaced apart treads; a handrail above said treads comprising: a) at least two segments; b) a hidden fastener joining said segments, said hidden fastener having an axis; and at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail. In the preferred embodiment, the handrail further comprises a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments. Also in the preferred embodiment, the stairway system comprises a lateral support for supporting the handrail.

The present invention is further directed to a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments, the system comprising: a fixed position portion of a fixture, the fixed position portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces; an adjustable portion of a fixture, the adjustable portion attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces; a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion of the fixture and comprising a stop and at least one hole guide, the hole positioner for determining a position for boring at least one hole in a segment of the handrail. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the distance between the downwardly extending opposing surfaces of the fixed position portion of the fixture decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces. Likewise, in the preferred embodiment, the distance between the upwardly extending opposing surfaces of the fixture decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces. Also, in the preferred embodiment, the selectively movable hole positioner comprises a stop and at least one hole guide. In addition, in the preferred embodiment, the system includes a hidden fastener having an axis, the hidden fastener for joining the segments of the handrail.

Furthermore, the present invention is directed to A method for joining a handrail using a fixture, the handrail having at least two segments, the method comprising: placing a segment of the handrail against a fixed position portion of the fixture, the fixed position portion of the fixture having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly for inserting a segment of the handrail; placing an adjustable portion of the fixture against the segment of the handrail, the adjustable portion of the fixture attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly; and setting a selectively movable hole positioner, the selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion of the fixture.

Accordingly, one aspect of the present invention is to provide a stairway system comprising: a plurality of spaced apart treads; a handrail above said treads comprising: a) at least two segments; and b) a hidden fastener joining said segments; and at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail.

Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a stairway system comprising: a plurality of spaced apart treads; a handrail above said treads comprising: a) at least two segments; b) a hidden fastener joining said segments, said hidden fastener having an axis; and c) a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments; and at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail.

Still another aspect of the present invention is to provide a stairway system comprising: a plurality of spaced apart treads; a handrail above said treads comprising: a) at least two segments; b) a hidden fastener joining said segments, said hidden fastener having an axis; and c) a structure for preventing rotation about said axis of said hidden fastener of one of said segments with respect to another of said segments; at least one baluster between said treads and said handrail; and a lateral support for supporting said handrail.

Another aspect of the invention is to provide a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments, the system including a fixture comprising: a fixed position portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly for inserting a segment of the handrail; an adjustable portion attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly; and a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion.

Another aspect of the invention is to provide a fixture for a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments, the fixture comprising: a fixed position portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces; an adjustable portion attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces; and a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion and comprising a stop and at least one hole guide, the hole positioner for determining a position for boring at least one hole in a segment of the handrail.

Yet another aspect of the invention is to provide a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments, the system comprising: a fixed position portion of a fixture, the fixed position portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces; an adjustable portion of a fixture, the adjustable portion attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly and having a distance there between for inserting a segment of the handrail, wherein the distance between the surfaces decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces; a selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion of the fixture and comprising a stop and at least one hole guide, the hole positioner for determining a position for boring at least one hole in a segment of the handrail; and a hidden fastener for joining the segments of the handrail, the hidden fastener having an axis.

Another aspect of the present invention is to provide a method for joining a handrail using a fixture, the handrail having at least two segments, the method comprising: placing a segment of the handrail against a fixed position portion of the fixture, the fixed position portion of the fixture having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending downwardly for inserting a segment of the handrail; placing an adjustable portion of the fixture against the segment of the handrail, the adjustable portion of the fixture attached to the fixed position portion and movable with respect to the fixed position portion, the adjustable portion having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces extending upwardly; and setting a selectively movable hole positioner, the selectively movable hole positioner attached to the fixed position portion of the fixture.

These and other aspects of the present invention will become apparent to those skilled in the art after a reading of the following description of the preferred embodiment when considered with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a stairway system constructed according to the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a handrail for the stairway system;

FIG. 3 is an elevated perspective view of a fixture for joining a handrail;

FIG. 4 is a front view of a fixture for joining a handrail;

FIG. 5 is a back view of a fixture for joining a handrail; and

FIG. 6 is a side view of a fixture for joining a handrail.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In the following description, like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the several views. Also in the following description, it is to be understood that such terms as “forward,” “rearward,” “left,” “right,” “upwardly,” “downwardly,” and the like are words of convenience and are not to be construed as limiting terms.

Referring now to the drawings in general and FIG. 1 in particular, it will be understood that the illustrations are for the purpose of describing a preferred embodiment of the invention and are not intended to limit the invention thereto. As best seen in FIG. 1, a stairway system generally designated 10, is shown constructed according to the present invention. The stairway system 10 includes a plurality of spaced apart treads 12; a handrail 14 above the treads; and at least one baluster 16 between the treads 12 and the handrail 14.

The stairway system 10 may further include a lateral support 20 for supporting the handrail 14. The lateral support 20 may be a newel. One end of the newel may be connected to the handrail 14 and the other end of the newel may be anchored. The newel may be connected to the ends of the handrail 14. The newel may be vertically anchored. The newel may be anchored to a floor. The newel may be anchored to at least one tread. The anchored newel may include a bolt and a mounting column. One end of the bolt may be a wood screw for attaching to the newel. The mounting column may further include a mounting plate attached to the mounting column. The mounting plate may include a plurality of apertures for receiving fasteners for attaching the plate to the floor of the structure.

The spaced apart treads 12 may include a foot support surface 22 and means for attaching 24 the foot support surface to the structure. The width of the foot support surface 22 may be greater than the depth of the foot support surface 22. The means for attaching 24 the spaced apart treads to the structure may be a stringer. The means for attaching 24 the spaced apart treads to the structure may be by wall mounting. The spaced apart treads 12 may be spaced at a uniform riser height. The uniform riser height may vary between about 6″ and 9″. The uniform riser height may be about 7½″.

FIG. 2 shows the handrail 14 for the stairway system, which may comprise at least two segments 15; a hidden fastener 17 joining the segments, the hidden fastener 17 having an axis 18; and a structure 19 for preventing rotation about the axis 18 of the hidden fastener 17 of one of the segments 15 with respect to another of the segments 15.

The hidden fastener 17 may include at least two portions 21. One of the portions 21 may reside in one of the segments 15 of the handrail and another portion 21 may reside in another segment of the handrail 14. The portions 21 of the hidden fastener may be complementary. In one embodiment, the hidden fastener may be a pair of INVIS® joining elements available from Invis North America, Inc. of Irvin, Calif. which is a subsidiary of Lamello AG, CH.

The structure 19 for preventing rotation about the axis 18 of the hidden fastener 17 of one of the segments 15 of the handrail 14 with respect to another of the segments 15 may be offset from the axis 18 of the hidden fastener 17. The structure 19 may comprise a dowel. The structure may be hidden. The structure may comprise an adhesive.

FIGS. 3, 4, 5, and 6 shows a fixture 110 for a system for joining a handrail having at least two segments 15. In one embodiment, the fixture 110 comprises a fixed position portion 112 having a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces 120 extending downwardly and having a distance 122 there between for inserting a segment 15 of the handrail 14. The distance 122 between the surfaces 120 decreases along at least a portion of the downwardly extending opposing surfaces 120. Preferably, the fixed position portion may also include a quick release 170, best seen in FIG. 6.

The fixture 110 may further comprise an adjustable portion 114 attached to the fixed position portion 112 and movable with respect to the fixed position portion 112. The adjustable portion 114 may have a pair of opposing generally parallel surfaces 140 extending upwardly and having a distance 142 there between for inserting a segment of the handrail 14. The distance 142 between the surfaces may decreases along at least a portion of the upwardly extending opposing surfaces 140.

In the preferred embodiment, the fixture may further include a selectively movable hole positioner 116 attached to the fixed position portion 112 and comprising a stop 160 and at least one hole guide 162. The hole positioner 116 may be for determining a position for boring at least one hole in a segment 15 of the handrail 14.

The hole guide of the hole positioner 116 of the fixture may be defined by a cylindrical wall. The hole positioner 116 may comprise at least two hole guides. The hole positioner 116 may comprise a clamp 174 for selectively setting the hole positioner. The hole positioner 116 may be movable with respect to the fixed position 112 portion of the fixture 110. Also in the preferred embodiment, screws 172 may be used to tighten and hold the hold guides 116 in place to prevent rotation when a drill bit is used therein.

As shown in FIG. 2 and described above, the system may further include a hidden fastener 17 for joining the segments 15 of the handrail 14, the hidden fastener 17 having an axis 18. The system may further include a structure 19 for preventing rotation about the axis 18 of the hidden fastener 17 of one of said segments 15 with respect to another of said segments 15. The system may further comprise a drill for boring at least one hole in a segment 15 of the handrail 14.

One method of assembling the handrail 14 involves placing the fixed position bottom portion of the fixture on one end of a segment 15 of the handrail 14. The adjustable top portion may then also be placed against the segment 15 of the handrail 14. The hole positioner may then be aligned and placed against segment 15. The assembler may then bore a hole into the segment 15 and fasten the fixture to the segment. In the preferred method, this would be done by inserting a screw into the newly bored hole with the use of the hole positioner. The assembler may then bore an additional hole in the segment 15 for inserting a hidden fastener. The assembler may repeat the above method steps with another segment 15. This may be a segment 15 of the same or a different cross-sectional profile. It is especially effective to use a single fixture capable of positioning holes in handrails having different cross-sectional profiles. This type of fixture is described above and its capability of use with handrails having differing cross-sectional profiles illustrated in FIG. 4.

A joining element may be placed in one or both of the holes in the segment 15. The joining element may be a joining element made by INVIS®. A structure meant to prevent rotation may be attached to a segment 15. This structure may be inserted into one of the bored holes in the segment 15 and may comprise a dowel. Adhesive may also be a structure meant to prevent rotation or may be an addition to the structure. Joining the hidden fasteners may then join the segments of the handrail. This may be accomplished by means of an actuator. The actuator may be an INVIS® actuator also available from Invis North America, Inc. of Irvin, Calif. which is a subsidiary of Lamello AG, CH. The method of joining the segments of a handrail may be done for handrails of differing cross-sectional profiles.

Certain modifications and improvements will occur to those skilled in the art upon a reading of the foregoing description. By way of example, while in the preferred embodiment, both the hidden fastener and structure for preventing rotation are about the same diameter, this is a matter of convenience to the installer and other sizes could be substituted. It should be understood that all such modifications and improvements have been deleted herein for the sake of conciseness and readability but are properly within the scope of the following claims.