How to attach a handrail to a newel post

Written by emily patterson
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How to attach a handrail to a newel post
Handrails are attached to the top and bottom newel posts. (Interior Stairs image by Gonçalo Carreira from Fotolia.com)

A handrail on a stair system usually terminates at a newel post. The newel post is secured into the floor or last stair in the staircase and at the top of the stairway. The installation is different for the top and bottom because of the angle of the handrail where it meets the newel post. The handrail should be in position for attaching.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • 1.6 cm (5/8 inch) drill bit
  • 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) drill bit
  • 2 lag screws, #14
  • Screwdriver bit
  • 1.6 cm (5/8 inch) wood plugs
  • Wood glue

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure approximately 3.8 cm (1.5 inches) from the bottom end of the hand rail and mark a spot in the centre of the bottom of the handrail with a pencil.

  2. 2

    Drill a 1.6 cm (5/8 inch) hole into the bottom of the handrail on an angle toward the newel post.

  3. 3

    Drill a 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) hole through the hole in the bottom of the handrail on the same angle into the newel post.

  4. 4

    Insert a #14 lag screw through the bottom hole in the handrail and into the newel post.

  5. 5

    Glue a 1.6 cm (5/8 inch) plug into the bottom of the handrail with wood glue to cover the screw head.

  1. 1

    Measure up from the bottom of the newel post to the bottom of the handrail.

  2. 2

    One the side of the newel that is opposite the handrail, measure up the same distance and add 1.3 cm (1/2 inch). Mark the location with a pencil.

  3. 3

    Use a 1.6 cm (5/8 inch) drill bit to drill a hole approximately halfway through the newel post.

  4. 4

    Place a 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) drill bit into the hole and continue drilling through the rest of the newel post an into the handrail.

  5. 5

    Insert a #14 lag screw through the hole in the newel post and into the handrail.

  6. 6

    Glue a 1.3 cm (5/8 inch) plug into the hole with wood glue in the newel post to cover the screw head.

Tips and warnings

  • Purchase plugs that match the wood species used for the newel post.

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