How Do I Replace a Spindle on the Stair’s Handrail

Q: My son broke a wooden spindle on the stair’s handrail. Since the spindle is trapped in the holes at the top and bottom, how do I replace it without removing the entire top rail?

A: The trick is to over-drill the top hole. After you’ve removed the damaged spindle from the top and bottom, find the proper size Forstner or spade bit and drill an extended hole in the top (but not all the way through the handrail). The extra room in the top hole will allow you to slide the spindle inside, align its lower end with the bottom hole, and then drop it down inside. You may need to trim the spindle’s length to make it fit. Fasten in place with wood glue or construction adhesive.

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