How to Attach Railings to Newel Posts

Written by jonah morrissey
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How to Attach Railings to Newel Posts
Conceal the fasteners on a newel post with wooden plugs for an attractive staircase. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A newel post is the post at the base of a railing. The railing is attached to the newel post with a lag screw, which is installed through the front face of the newel post and into the end of the railing. It is important to have a secure railing-to-newel post connection because the railing will be reinforced by the newel post. Attachment may appear to be difficult, however, if you have an understanding of the process you can easily take on the project.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Drill
  • 5/8-inch drill bit
  • #14 hex head lag screw
  • Screw gun
  • #14 hex bit
  • 5/8-inch flush plug
  • Wood glue
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Matching wood finish
  • Small finish brush

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Hold the railing in place against the newel post. Drill a 5/8-inch diameter hole through the front of the newel post in the centre of where the railing meets the newel post. The hole as deep as half the thickness of the newel post. Use a 5/8-inch drill bit to drill the hole.

  2. 2

    Insert the #14 hex head lag screw into the drilled hole. Hold the railing in place against the newel post.

  3. 3

    Drive the hex head lag screw through the newel post into the end of the railing while holding the newel post in place using a screw gun equipped with a #14 hex bit.

  4. 4

    Plug the 5/8-inch diameter hole in the front face of the newel post with a 5/8-inch plug. Apply wood glue to the hole and to the back end of the plug. Insert the back end of the plug into the hole until the front is flush with the front of the newel post. Make sure that the grain of the plug is running the same direction as the grain of the newel post. Allow the glue to dry for 24 hours.

  5. 5

    Sand the front face of the newel post where the plug is located with 120-grit sandpaper in the same direction as the grain.

  6. 6

    Brush matching wood finish onto the wooden plug with a small finish brush.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are having difficulty holding the railing while driving the screw, nail it to the newel post on the underside with small finish nails to hold it in place.
  • Wear eye protection when attaching railings to newel posts.

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