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Old 09-18-2008, 12:32 PM   #1
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Stair spindles-remove wood, add iron

I am about to take on this project and was wondering if anyone has done this before. I took out a wood spindle and there is a nice drilled deep round hole in the top handrail that the old wood spindle nicely fit into and a round (and not deep) hold where the bottom of the spindle fit into. My question is: I want to replace these with iron spindles and without taking the rail off. My plan is to cut the spindle to the proper length and fit it into the top hole, and then shimmy the iron spindle in to the bottom hole. It will then drop down a bit and the top and the bottom will be not tight. How do I make both top and bottom tight? Do I use epoxy, wood glue etc? Do I then cover BOTH top and bottom with the additional pieces that they sell? I notice that I do not see the top having the additional piece and I think I will need it to cover up where the spindle has "dropped". Am I on the right track? I also know I have to have this level. Thanks for the help.

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Old 09-18-2008, 01:16 PM   #2
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Stair spindles-remove wood, add iron

If you're replacing standard wooden ballusters with narrow steel ballusters, be careful. The guardrail needs to prohibit passage of a 4" sphere or it is not code compliant. It might be legal with the wood, but the gap will get bigger putting the steel in there. Just a thought that could someday come back to bite you.

Yes, the ballusters are slipped up into the hole in the upper rail and dropped down into the hole at the floor. You may need to deepen the hole in the rail to accomplish this. Use epoxy to hold them in place. If they don't come with trim pieces that surround the balluster, they are available in most cases. They just can't be an afterthought.

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Old 09-18-2008, 02:17 PM   #3
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Stair spindles-remove wood, add iron

Thank you so much for advising me of the 4" code, I had no idea. Thanks also for confirming the other information. I am ready to go!
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:54 PM   #4
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Stair spindles-remove wood, add iron

Did the project work out for you? Did you replace the rail or simply repaint it? Also, did you put the surround trim pieces at the bottom or simply just slide them into the bottom hole?

I want to do this too and am looking for any tips.


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