1 out of 5EasyOnly basic carpentry skills required
About $15 to $20
About 90 minutes
In this video, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva shows how to stabilize an unsteady staircase post.
Repairing a wobbly newel post
- Cut the finish between newel post and cap with a utility knife. Pry off the cap with a thin pry bar.
- Shine a flashlight down inside the hollow post to confirm there are no obstructions.
- Make an extra-long hole-boring tool by joining together three 12-inch-long drill-bit extensions and one ¼-inch-diameter x 12-inch-long drill bit.
- Chuck the hole-boring tool into a drill and bore two pilot holes into the base of the post.
- Screw a coupling nut halfway onto a ⅜-inch-diameter x 36-inch-long threaded rod. Then, thread a hanger bolt into the coupling nut. Tighten the hanger bolt with pliers. Repeat to make a second threaded-rod assembly.
- Use a router with slot-cutting bit to cut a ⅜-inch-deep slot around the inside of the hollow newel post. Adjust the router to cut at least 1½ inches down from the top of the post.
- Chisel out the waste wood from around the inside of the post. Remove ⅜ inch of wood from each side, creating a ⅜-in. x 1½-inch rabbet.
- Use a jigsaw to cut a square washer from a piece of ½-inch-thick plywood. Cut the washer to fit snugly into the rabbet cut inside the post.
- Drill two 7/16-inch-diameter holes through the plywood washer for the threaded rods to pass through.
- Thread two hex nuts onto the upper end of each threaded rod.
- Set the threaded rods down inside the newel post and tighten them into the pilot holes using a ratcheting socket wrench. Remove the hex nuts from the ends of the threaded rods.
- Slip the plywood washer over the threaded rods and tap it down tight into the rabbet.
- Place a steel washer and hex nut onto each threaded rod and hand tighten.
- Use a reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade to cut the threaded rods approximately ½ inch above the hex nuts.
- Tighten both hex nuts with the socket wrench.
- Apply yellow carpenters glue around the top of the newel post, then set the cap in place. Wipe away any excess glue with a clean cloth.