The balustrade class was inspired in August of 2016 at the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) when the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) asked the Stairbuilders and Manufacturers Association to give a presentation at one of their events in St. Louis, Missouri the following November.

The 2-day presentation was so successful that those involved in it wanted to offer a an improved version to the SMA. Soon afterward the Education Committee began an in-depth writing process of a post-to-post program. This process included far too many people to name and took thousands of hours to complete.

The class morphed from a 2-day class to a 3-day event with the pilot class hosted at Stairworx in August 2018. Student reviews provided detailed feedback to the instructors which allowed them to continue to improve the class. Soon, the SMA had 2 more classes hosted by Carolina Stair Supply and Crown Heritage. Again, student reviews allowed the team to revise the curriculum after each session to provide the best learning opportunity for the students.

Then COVID hit. But, the Education Committee didn’t stop even though the class was on hold for 2 years. During this time, it was decided to add over-the-post railing, so the writing continued.

Over-the-post railing was introduced at the first class of 2022 in St. Louis at the NWFA Training Facility and it was a huge success. Once again, the committee listened to the students resulting in the addition of many more in-depth baluster layouts and hands-on rail assembly was introduced at the most recent class hosted by Coffman Stair Parts. The Stair Balustrade class received great reviews from the participants but the work is never done as we will continue to review and modify the curriculum to includes the new products and techniques that come from SMA members.

If you are looking for your installers to grow, this class is a must. The networking, as at any SMA event, is amazing. I was asked early on if I would send my installers to this class and the answer is YES. They will receive knowledge and information from many different SMA members. It has been gratifying to see students from all over the USA and Canada take their craft to the next level.