Tighten stair Newel

jsbakalJuly 22, 2006

I have a loose stair newel and was looking to get an idea about how to best tighten it. I pried off the button at the top hoping to find a bolt that ran through the oak newel that I could tighten but all I found was a short wood screw. I looked in the basement up towards this first floor staircase but no bolt was exposed there either. Without drilling through the newel and bolting it to a riser and then covering it with a dowel, I figure I could cut a window in the lowest painted riser and then get access below the newel to tighten a bolt. Does this sound reasonable and if I wanted to hire a trim carpenter to make this type of stairway repair, approximately how much would you guess it would cost?

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Newels should be long enough to extend down to the joists and be through bolted to the joists or solid bridging.
I use x4 lumber and at last ½ inch fasteners in bored holes.
The holes should be undersized enough (1/16 to 1/32 below the fastener) to require driving the bolts.
Only unthreaded shank should be in the bearing area.
2 inch washers under the bolt head and the nut are a good idea to avoid crushing the wood.
Steel angle iron can be used to fasten bridging between joists if required.

An 80 pound load 4 feet from the first fastener produces an almost 500 ft-lb torque.
The wood cells structure can be crushed and then the newel is loose. The damage accelerates from there.
How many times have you seen a 120 pound child swing around the newel at the bottom?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 7:53PM
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Does anyone know how to re-thighten an existing 'round' newel that has come loose. Tailing as a result moves about 1 to 2 to the right+left. I found stabilizer brackets for square base newels but nothing for a round base newel. Any advise would be greatfully appreciated.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 5:44PM
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"Does anyone know how to re-thighten an existing 'round' newel that has come loose. "

Every round newel I have ever seen had a square bottom section for attachment.

It may be attached to the stair carriage under the last step if it is not correctly attached to the joists below.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 9:05AM
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