How to Repair a Cracked Newel Post
It's the anchor of the staircase, so it's worth the effort.
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A faulty newel post can compromise the whole staircase. Here’s how to dismantle, repair and re-anchor one:
Materials and Tools:
5-in-1 painter’s tool
1. In some instances, there may be a plug on the underside of the banister railing next to the newel post. Remove the plug by pre-drilling a hole and then partially inserting a screw. Grasp the screw with pliers and pull it free. You may have to tap on the pliers with a hammer to work the plug free.
2. Apply oil to the bolt and loosen. In this case the bolt was not attached to the newel and the project proceeded without removal of the bolt.
3. Break the glue line between the newel and the railing and free the railing. Prop the railing with a scrap 2-by-4 to provide clearance.
4. Use the painter’s tool to break the paint line around the base of the post. Try to work the post free. In this case, the post was secured by a wooden peg below the floor. In that situation go to the basement and use a rubber mallet to tap the narrow end of the wooden peg and free the post. Then go upstairs and pull the post up out of the floor.
5. Clean out the crack in the post with a tongue depressor, a brass brush and finally sandpaper. Blow away all the dust with a can of compressed air.
6. Fill cracks with a combination of epoxy and filler. Pack in as much adhesive as possible. Fit a band clamp to the post and tighten as much as possible. Let the epoxy set up for at least 30 minutes.
7. Fill in other damaged areas with wood putty. Spread it on before it hardens, and mold into an approximate shape. Don’t try to be perfect -- you’ll sand down the dried putty later. Let the putty dry for 30 minutes.
8. Remove the band clamp and sand and shape the filler until it matches the shape of the post.
9. Before reinstalling the post, reinforce the joint at the base of the stairs by pre-drilling a pilot hole and inserting a screw.
10. Replace the newel post and go back to the basement and drive the wedge back into the tenon.
11. Replace plug under the railing.