Cheap cable rail system revisited
I posted a while back looking for cheaper alternatives to stainless cable rail systems after getting prices of $6600 for the complete system installed, including posts, or $1200 for just the cables and stainless tensioners for 90 feet of rail. No alternative ideas were suggested so here is what I came up with. Galvanized 1/8" cable was swaged onto galvanized eyebolts that were used as tensioners. A swaged stop was used at the other end of the run with excess wire cutoff with a grinder. Eleven cables, 3" apart, were run through 1 1/2" square steel posts that I had galvanized. The posts were 3/16" thick at the ends where all the tension was and 1/8" for the intermediate posts. The posts were thru bolted thru the 6x8 beams underneath with 1/2" bolts.
Everything was tensioned up tight and passed the building inspector`s tests with flying colors. It`s not as clean as a prefab stainless system but I kind of like the more industrial look.
1000' of cable at .08/ft = $80
33 eyebolts@ .90/ea = $30
Swaging tool = $27 at Lowes
Swages = $5 for hundreds
Cable total = $142
Posts = $200
Galvanizing = $200
Bolts and misc hardware = $100
Posts total = $500
Total cost = $642
Satisfaction for doing it myself and saving 90% = priceless
In the pictures it shows bolt ends sticking out that will be cut flush eventually. The top rail is 2x4 studs that will be replaced with 2x4 ipe when I find a cheap supply on Craigslist. The bottom of the ipe will be routed so that the top flange of the posts will be invisible.
Here is a link that might be useful: Cable rail pics