Saturday 24 November 2012

Replacing handrail

We're getting through the second fix upstairs now and during this week I've replace the old handrail with some that matches what is in the rest of the house.
What was left of the old handrail
 I decided it was best to rip it all out and start again, this way I could make sure I got some solid fixings and make sure it won't move.
Ripping it all out and starting again
The first job was to add the newel post at the top of the stairs. This one had to be strongly fixed as it's what everyone will grab and swing on as they walk down the stairs. The old newel post ran right down to the floor, so I cut it off flush with the top of the stairs and then made a 12" long halving joint to fit the new newel with. As the old post was 3"x3" and the new one is 4"x4" I had to make this halving joint more like a giant L shaped rebate so it would fit over the top of the old post, glued and screwed it was rock solid when I finished.
Adding the newel post, this has to be solid
 The rest was fairly plane sailing, the newel posts already had mortises in them but the tenons on the handrail had to be added on, taking a bit of time (I did these by hand as it's sometimes easier this way), I fixed all the handrail and newels in position then replaced some of the flooring and added the spindles. The flooring I replaced so it finished in line with the new newel posts, it also had a round over moulding on for the apron lining to butt into, giving a nice detail. By doing this all my spindles could also be fixed from the underside giving a much better fixing.
The finished handrail from the top

It was then a matter of adding the apron lining and doing all the finishing touches like pelleting the screw holes, sanding them down and punching in any nails. The bottom of the old newel post also had to be packed out so that it was the same size as the new one

I decided at the start to replace the apron under the handrail as well and it looks much better all being new

The joint connecting the new newel to the old post.
Anyone else had a hand railing project they've done lately?


  1. And you've done a good job there Kev. Those jobs are always kind of daunting when you first dig in to them as you never know exactly what you are going to find. You just hope you don't open a big can of worms. Usually in old structures like that the hand rails have been repaired a few times over the years so you never know if you find solid meat to attach to when you get in to it. I love seeing how the techniques over there are not all that different then here in the US. I have a few photos from old projects I'll need to dig up and scan. Cheers, Michael

    1. Cheers Isserfiq, Yeah doing jobs like this can open a whole can of worms! The roof on this house has been a case of that, everytime I stripped back a bit I found more rot or woodworm! These weren't too bad though! I'll look forward to seeing your pictures on your blog!

  2. More great work Kev well done :)

  3. Wow Kevin you must of been trained by a really good craftsman, he taught you well.

    1. Thanks Andrew, He is a great old craftsman and put up with me even though I'm sure I was an annoying aprentice - asking hundreds of questions everyday! Maybe I'll do a blog post about him soon.


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