1 of 3
Photo 1: Yank out the broken spindle
Wiggle while you pull and make sure
you don't break off the end of the spindle
in the hole. You may need a big pair
of pliers to do the job.
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Photo 2: Deepen the upper hole
Extra depth lets you insert the top of the
spindle far enough to get the bottom end
of the spindle into the lower hole.
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Photo 3: Test the fit
Don't go for the glue until you're sure
the new spindle fits. Insert the upper
end, then drop the spindle into place.
It’s true: The spindles on your old stair
rail weren’t installed with the notion
that they would someday need to be
replaced, but don’t be intimidated—they can be, even if the spindles
are trapped in holes at the top and
First, you need to remove the damaged
spindle. If the spindle isn’t completely
broken in half, finish the job
with a saw. Then persuade both pieces
out of their respective holes.
Next, find the proper size spade
or forstner bit, and overdrill the top
hole. Be careful not to punch all the
way through the rail. Mark your bit
with masking tape if you have to.
Overdrilling the hole in the handrail
will allow you to push the new spindle
up into the railing and then back down
into the hole at the base.
You may need to cut down the
new spindle to make it fit, but mind
which side you trim down. if you cut
too much off one side or the other, the
shape of the replacement spindle may
not line up exactly with the existing
spindles. If the old spindle was glued
in and the bond is still strong, you may
have to cut the damaged spindle out
flush and bore two new holes. If you
think that the damaged spindle may
be held in with a brad nail, don’t use
your most expensive forstner bit to
bore the new holes.
To find a matching spindle, start
local. Try the lumberyard closest to
your house. There’s a good chance
the builder of your home purchased
it there. If not, the folks working
there may know where it came from.
otherwise you could try an online
source. Here are a few: cheapstairparts.com, stairpartsnow.com and
stairwarehouse.com. If you can’t find
a new one, you may need to have one custom made by a local wood turner.