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How to replace stair spindles

Updated November 21, 2016

Replacing stair spindles is not as difficult as you might think. There is a tool called a Kreg jig that is very efficient in securing the new spindles into place. With a few minutes of practice on an old spindle or a block of scrap wood, you will be able to use the Kreg jig just like a professional.

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Remove old spindles and replace with new

  1. Place a block of wood next to the base of the spindle. Use the hammer to hit the block of wood. Most spindles have been nailed into place during construction. The hammer and block of wood will loosen the spindles from the nails.

  2. Use the pliers to pry the nails out of the upper and lower rails that the spindles are attached to. Grasp the nails as close to the rail as possible. They are easier to pry out this way. Save the spindle and take it to the building supply centre with you. Spindles come in many shapes and sizes.

  3. Place the old spindle on top of the new spindle. Use a pencil to mark the angle of the top and the bottom portion of the old spindle onto the new one. Use the mitre saw to cut the appropriate angle. Mitre saws are adjustable to the angle that you need. Cut the top and bottom of the new spindle the same length and angle of the old spindle.

  4. Use the C clamps to hold the spindle in place. Place one clamp around the top of the spindle and the top rail. Tighten the clamp until the spindle is secure. Follow the same procedure with the second C clamp for the base of the spindle and secure it to the bottom rail.

  5. Insert the drill bit that comes with the Kreg Jig into the drill. Set the stop on the Kreg jig to 3 cm (1 1/4 inches). Place the Kreg Jig drilling block up to the base of the spindle with the bottom of the block flush to the top side of the bottom rail. Make sure that the drill bit holes are facing up. Place the Kreg jig block to where one of the drilling holes is centred on the spindle. Clamp the Kreg jig block tightly into place.

  6. Insert the drill bit into the drilling hole on the Kreg jig. Drill the hole. The drill bit will not drill any deeper than the position of the drill bit stop. Remove the Kreg jig block. Use the square drive drill bit that comes with the Kreg jig to insert a screw into the hole that you drilled.

  7. Kreg Jig sets also come with a package of wood plugs that will fit into the hole that you drilled. Place the plug into the hole after inserting the screw. Repeat steps 5, 6, and 7 for the top of the spindle. When drilling the holes in the top of the spindle place the Kreg jig block with the drilling holes facing down. Repeat all steps for each individual spindle.

  8. Tip

    Practicing for a few minutes with the Kreg jig will help you to see how it works. Using this tool will keep your tighter for much longer than if you nail them. Small relatively inexpensive Kreg jigs can be purchased at your local hardware shop.

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Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Scrap wood block
  • Pliers
  • Mitre saw
  • Kreg jig
  • Three small C clamps
  • 3 cm (1 1/4 inch) pan head screws
  • Drill

About the Author

Debbie Tolle

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).

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