Elliptical profiled handrail transitions, 5-Axis CNC’d out of solid walnut (photos credit: Kyle Norton Photography, construction by BK Builder)

The idea for South Norwalk Skunk came one day when Dave from BK Builder came by the old South Norwalk warehouse one day while we were setting up the new CNC  we had just purchased (link HERE for what CNC means).  At the time, I had no idea how to use it, but the plan was to figure it out (quickly).  Dave was there to pick up something from storage, but he saw us tinkering away and asked if we could make custom handrail transitions for a project he was working on in New York City.  Without hesitation, I said “yes,” while having no idea how we would accomplish it.


What followed was a headlong jump in CNC fabrication and sophisticated digital measuring and programming.  We used digital levels and lasers to measure existing conditions, designed the connections using loft and sweep 3D design, glued up a solid block of walnut from various pieces, and then had it CNC’d with a 5-axis machine to match the multiple curves and tangents in place.

The process, though only making up a small bit of the construction project, used all of our skills to the fullest.  This combination of skills (rapid 3D design, CNC and now 3D printing, ability to use new materials, and more), it seemed to me, made us unique, and of value to builders who face difficult designs to produce.

And thus was born South Norwalk Skunk

PS, here are the transitions before we got there:


2 thoughts on “Case Study 001: Handrails

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