Tightening Loose Stair Spindles

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Repair a loose or wobbly spindle with simple tools.
Repair a loose or wobbly spindle with simple tools. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Spindles, or balusters, are upright supports for a banister. The upper and lower ends of the wood spindles are attached to the corresponding banister or stair tread with glue, screws, dowels or nails that anchor them securely in place. A loose wood spindle presents a shaky situation that could cause accidents or injury. Such spindles dampen the structural integrity of the stairway. Instead of replacing a loose spindle, you may easily tighten it yourself with a few basic tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood glue
  • Wood shim
  • Rubber mallet
  • Utility knife
  • Plastic glue

Wood Shim Method

Inspect the joint where the top of the spindle meets the underside of the banister to determine the amount of space in between them. You need to fill this tiny gap to tighten the spindle.

Apply a thick layer of wood glue over both sides of a wood shim. Ensure the shim -- the thin piece of wood used to fill gaps -- matches the size of the gap between the spindle and undersurface of the banister.

Force the shim into the gap or opening. Gently tap the shim with a rubber mallet to center it in the gap. Let the glue dry for the time specified on the label directions.

Trim down the shim with a utility knife. Work carefully so you do not damage the spindle. Anchored securely in the gap, the shim keeps the spindle from moving and is not visible from above.

Wood Glue Method

Take out the plunger from a plastic glue syringe and fill it with industrial-strength wood glue. Replace the plunger into the syringe.

Position the tip of the syringe over the gap between the lower end of the loose spindle and the hole on the stair tread it rests in. Press the plunger of the syringe down to eject a few drops of glue into the gap. Move the syringe to the opposite side of the base of the spindle and repeat the procedure.

Position the tip of the syringe over the gap between the top of the spindle and the hole it rests in. Press the plunger to release a bead of glue into the gap. Move the tip of the syringe to the opposite side and repeat the process.

Allow the glue to dry for the time specified on the label directions. The glue securely fills the gap between the spindle, the stair tread and the banister.

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