Square Baluster Install Help - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 7
View George Vaggelatos's Photo Album My Photos
Post Square Baluster Install Help

I am trying to replace my old round balusters with square ones. The new square balusters have a dowel on the bottom for easy install (I will use some wood glue) but for the top I do not have a channel for them to slide into and then brad nail. Do I just cut the tops and brad nail at a 45? tried it and is hard to hold steady and doesn't seem that it holds and doesn't seem safe. Also there is the previous hole on top from the round ones and I don't think the brad has any meat to hold on to. If the cut is not perfect there is no play up or down because you will see the gap at the top. Is there an easier way to retro fit these? I just want them to bu sturdy and safe and feel there need to be some kind of support at the top?

What size and guage brad should I be using?

Is regular wood glue OK for the bottom with the dowel?

I have attached some pictures.

Thank you in advance for your help
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	20180520_162007.jpg
Views:	54
Size:	93.6 KB
ID:	360609  

Click image for larger version

Name:	20180520_162011.jpg
Views:	63
Size:	182.8 KB
ID:	360617  

Click image for larger version

Name:	20180520_162021.jpg
Views:	59
Size:	95.8 KB
ID:	360625  

George Vaggelatos is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 07:09 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 299
View JIMMIEM's Photo Album My Photos
You can create your own channel by attaching a couple of pieces of molding to the bottom edge of the hand rail to keep the balusters centered. You can infill the spaces between the balusters with small pieces of wood that will prevent the balusters from moving.
JIMMIEM is offline  
post #3 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 7
View George Vaggelatos's Photo Album My Photos
Thanks Jim,

Should I put filler pieces to the right and left of each baluster? and just brad everything into each other?
You would still be able to see any small gaps, I cant make my own channel because the width of the square baluster is about an 1/8 smaller than the width of the hand rail, very little play there.
George Vaggelatos is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 07:43 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 299
View JIMMIEM's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Vaggelatos View Post
Thanks Jim,

Should I put filler pieces to the right and left of each baluster? and just brad everything into each other?
You would still be able to see any small gaps, I cant make my own channel because the width of the square baluster is about an 1/8 smaller than the width of the hand rail, very little play there.
Do you have the tools to cut shoulders on the outside top edges of the balusters? This would allow more edge room for the channel.
If you want to just toe nail the tops then plug the holes in the underside of the handrail....this will give more wood to nail into.
Is the hand rail level of running down the stairs? You might have a tough time tilting the balusters into place with a dowel on the bottom. Can you remove the handle rail, install the balusters, and reinstall the hand rail? Installing balusters with the hand rail in place usually requires the baluster to slide up into the underside of the hand rail and then slide down into the bottom.
JIMMIEM is offline  
post #5 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 08:29 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Posts: 5,295
View FrankC's Photo Album My Photos
If the top rail is loose drill the balusters for a dowel on the top as well, that way they are not going anywhere.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

FrankC
http://sawdustmaking.com
http://woodworkerglossary.com
FrankC is offline  
post #6 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 7
View George Vaggelatos's Photo Album My Photos
Jim - No I do not have the tools and don't see any room to attach any type of channel or skirt. Also 2 of the hand rails curve at the end and I do not know how to deal with that.

Frank - No the top rails are not loose, a top dowel will not work, only if it is spring loaded and can go down till inserted and then pop up into the hole. (is that something that exists?)

What if I cut filler pieces in between each baluster and screw them up to the handrail, then brad or even screw horizontally through the baluster into the filler?
I would have to cut each baluster maybe a hair long and bang it in so there is no top gap and a super tight fit to the top (caulk that and then paint). That would leave me with 2 balusters on a curve, maybe just brad those in without fillers, they are next to the newel posts anyway.
George Vaggelatos is offline  
post #7 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 09:40 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,624
View Quickstep's Photo Album My Photos
"only if it is spring loaded and can go down till inserted and then pop up into the hole"

I think that's the way to go. A small chunk of caulk backer rod could act as the spring. I did it a while back and I think I made a tiny slot in the side of the baluster so I could reach in with a nail and manipulate the dowel. Then puttied the hole.

I think you shouldn't plan to make them a hair long and beat them in. The handrail is probably just flexible enough that each time you beat in a new one, the next one would become loose.
Quickstep is offline  
post #8 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 10:00 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 7
View George Vaggelatos's Photo Album My Photos
Thanks Quickstep,

So drill 5/8" holes into each baluster, insert caulk backer then insert 5/8" dowels. How does the dowel stick to the caulk backer? or it just sits there to form a solid piece so nothing moves?
George Vaggelatos is offline  
post #9 of 17 Old 05-20-2018, 10:11 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 2,624
View Quickstep's Photo Album My Photos
Quote:
Originally Posted by George Vaggelatos View Post
Thanks Quickstep,

So drill 5/8" holes into each baluster, insert caulk backer then insert 5/8" dowels. How does the dowel stick to the caulk backer? or it just sits there to form a solid piece so nothing moves?
The caulk backer rod just acts as a spring to push the dowel out after you get it centered over the hole. Kind of like the pin in a watch band.
Quickstep is offline  
post #10 of 17 Old 05-21-2018, 08:36 AM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 299
View JIMMIEM's Photo Album My Photos
The third picture shows a baluster with a small gap between it's top and the underside of the handrail. Is the bottom dowel inserted in the bottom rail? If there were no gap at the top would you be able to install the baluster?
JIMMIEM is offline  
post #11 of 17 Old 05-21-2018, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 7
View George Vaggelatos's Photo Album My Photos
Yes the bottom dowel is inserted and installed. That picture is just an example of my cut being a hair off and or the hand rail being old and not level. I don't feel comfortable just brad nailing
that through the pre existing 5/8" hole from the old round top pin balusters I removed. I'm obviously an amateur but I know this cant be safe and the top needs to be secured better.
George Vaggelatos is offline  
post #12 of 17 Old 05-21-2018, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 7
View George Vaggelatos's Photo Album My Photos
Having a spring loaded dowel on top sounds like the best way to get the top of the baluster to have some meat and actually be secured in the hand rail vs just pinned, but I do not know if I have the skills or tools
to drill perfectly centered holes on 24 pieces. Also 12 of them will have angle cuts. The picture I posted is just the top landing, I want to get that done so nobody swan dives 2 stories and breaks their necks.
George Vaggelatos is offline  
post #13 of 17 Old 05-21-2018, 01:18 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: NW Pa
Posts: 2,897
View TimPa's Photo Album My Photos
if you go that route, build a drilling jig so you can locate the holes accurately and at the proper angle repeatedly


another option is to pre-assemble the baluster by section - and install them as a unit. you can run a strip on top that you can nail each baluster into, then nail the assembly into place. caulk/paint any gaps. or with a little more thought, i'm sure there is a way to eliminate any visual gaps.
TimPa is offline  
post #14 of 17 Old 05-21-2018, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 7
View George Vaggelatos's Photo Album My Photos
Would a screw work at an angle, vs using small brad nails? see image attached. This seems to be the easiest fix with my skills and tools and seems it will hold better.
I also think I should plug the holes with a wood dowel first to get the screw to attached better.

What do you guys think?
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Screw.jpg
Views:	39
Size:	110.0 KB
ID:	360721  

George Vaggelatos is offline  
post #15 of 17 Old 05-21-2018, 07:36 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 299
View JIMMIEM's Photo Album My Photos
Not sure I'd trust a toe screw. If somebody runs into or leans on the baluster or handrail there could be a safety issue. How about drilling up through the dowel hole in the handrail and inserting a dowel down through the top of the handrail and into a dowel hole in the top of the baluster. Then fill the hole in the top of the hand rail and repaint. OR Drill a pilot hole up thru the dowel hole in the hand rail. Countersink or forstner bit into the pilot hole at the top of the handrail. Drive a structural screw through the hand rail via the pilot hole and into the top of the baluster.....4" or 6" screw. GRK or Timberlock structural screw. Fill/plug the screw head.
Screw option would require less precision and skill i.e. wouldn't have to center a large dowel hole in the top of the baluster(s).

Last edited by JIMMIEM; 05-21-2018 at 07:39 PM. Reason: add info
JIMMIEM is offline  
post #16 of 17 Old 01-08-2019, 09:47 PM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 1
View Denise WM's Photo Album My Photos
Cool Install Square Balusters

Thanks for all the good advice. I just used two of the suggestions from this thread. Building a new banister and used a previous rail from another run in the house. It didn't have holes or a channel. So I was trying to figure out out to secure the balusters. I had already considered the dowels, but what I did worked out just fine. First, I made my own dowels for the top rail and balusters. Second, I made a channel using trim boards for the bottom of the balusters. The only slightly trick was drilling the holes into the angled rail. Otherwise it all work out. Here is some pics.

Thanks,
Denise



Name:  IMG_0010.jpg
Views: 71
Size:  220.9 KB

Square Baluster Install Help-img_0009.jpg

Square Baluster Install Help-img_0011.jpg

Last edited by Denise WM; 01-08-2019 at 10:12 PM.
Denise WM is offline  
post #17 of 17 Old 01-09-2019, 12:57 PM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 124
View phaelax's Photo Album My Photos
I'd probably use a dowel. A railing should be considered structural, in which case I wouldn't trust any brad nails.

As for drilling into the angle railing, perhaps you could cut an angle piece of scrape and stick it to the end so the drill bit can start on a flush surface. Either glue it on and recut it afterwards or clamp it if there's room.
phaelax is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Squaring table saw Pastorshobby Power Tools & Machinery 40 03-14-2018 02:32 PM
Off Square Nick W. Design & Plans 1 03-14-2018 12:08 PM
Carpenters square wayyyy off allpurpose Hand Tools 41 08-14-2016 09:31 PM
The square that may not be so square! bmarshall9686 General Woodworking Discussion 5 04-09-2016 02:05 PM
checking a square with a mirror t4d Hand Tools 12 12-01-2015 12:13 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome