Reattaching A Loose Spindle

Being a homeowner is not always easy. Sometimes you have to deal with things like, well, loose wood spindles on your stair way. While this looks like it may be a tough fix, all which was required was some wood glue and a small paint brush (I borrowed from my kids’ water color set).

The how’s and why’s of getting to the point of a spindle being no longer in place are not necessarily important. The main thing we need to concern ourselves with is the 10’+ drop on the other side of this gap and fixing the issue at hand – a missing or loose spindle on a stairway banister. 

Not all spindles are attached the ways this one is, so please take a look at the underside of yours before proceeding with fixing it this way. This particular one has a hole on the bottom and a very shallow groove of sorts for the top to sit in place once the upper banister is positioned.

With a shallow groove in the upper banister helping the top of the spindles stay in place when the spindle “came loose” it splintered a section of this wood. We will get to that step at the very end.

No nails or brads were in place to help hold the wood spindles. It seems like it was put together with the assumption of them being held by the force of the banister and the holes below. To give it a bit more grip, a fair amount of wood glue was added to the lower hole and painted onto the flat top of the banister. The bottom was placed in first, followed by the top being slid into place (all thanks to the splintered wood allowing some extra room). Any excess wood glue coming out of the hole is easily wiped away with a damp rag.

As for the splintered banister, the small paint brush was used to apply a light application of wood glue behind the split wood. Be careful not to make the problem worse. If needed, add glue to the outside of the split, push it into place by running a finger along the split, and tape it in position with painters tape. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp rag.

If there is still a gap where wood splintered off apply some wood filler putty or plastic wood. When it is dry you can paint right over it. If you have wood stained banisters like our home, look for one whose color will closely match. Another option is to use a stain pen to stain any edges of wood which show. This will help hide imperfections by helping them blend in to their surroundings.