Okay here's a new one. I was upstairs changing when I heard my 1.5
year old daughter coughing while she was eating her dinner. I didn't
get too concerned until my wife yelled "Chuck" at which point I raced
down the stairs faster than you can blink an eye.
In order to change direction the 180 degrees back into the kitchen, I
used the banister to help me catapult in the right direction. My
daughter was fine, but my banister split very cleanly at a glue seam.
I have one of those banisters that come down the steps and does a curl
on top of a post with wooden spindles along the length.
My question is can I glue the top back together with carpenters glue
and some clamps or do I need to replace it. Second question, the
builder apparently used construction adhesive at the top and bottom of
each spindle. This thing has wobbled since I moved in. Would it be
better to use carpenter's glue or is construction adhesive somehow
As always, any help is greatly appreciated.
Carpenter glue will fix the spit. Make sure no broken grain will keep it
from getting back tight, then coat it well enough that a good bit squeezes
out. Clamp firmly, but don't squeeze all the glue out.
I'm not sure about the wobble part. Is the adhesive being used to keep
them from rattling, or is it holding them from falling out? Is the wobble
unrelated to the picket problem?
What ever the case, it was not installed correctly. A real carpenter does
not use construction adhesive to hold pickets in place. You might need to
find a specialized trim and banister carpenter to fix your mess.
Jim in NC
HD sells a wood swelling glue. (Chairlock glue) It is very thin, soaks
into the wood and swells it and glues it. May be good for the tenons as
it is so thin, comes with a little needle applicator. As for the other
question, only you can answer it. But didn't the glue seem have a nut
and bolt inside it? What was it a butt joint?
On 12 Sep 2003 20:32:18 -0700, firstname.lastname@example.org (WoodChuck34)
I have to disagree with the other responses.
You can glue it, but is that what you want? How will this
glued piece respond next time you come bounding down the stairs? Or
when your daughter does?
It seems to me that this piece was faulty to begin with. A
banister is not something to look at. It is a piece of equipment that
must hold up under extreme conditions. This one did not. Get rid of
it and put in one that will not break.
Maybe no one else will ask, but I will.
What are your qualifications to issue this opinion, and so strongly put, I
What about the fact that glue is stronger than the surrounding wood?
What about the fact that the banister was originally assembled with glue?
What about it, Peter?
Jim in NC
Seems I mis-read that portion.
I thought it split along grain lines.
New story. Where one part meets another, you are glueing end grains, so
that will need extra mechanical fastening, so I go back to an earlier post,
where I said to contact a carpenter who is well experienced with installing
The tone of the post hit me wrong. Sorry for over reacting.
Jim in NC
Thanks for the advice everyone. Just wanted to let you know that I
did manage to get the whole thing back together. I banister had
actually split cleanly along a glue line and believe it or not, there
was no additional reinforcing to the joint (nails, screws, or other
fasteners). Since the banister and most of the spindles popped off I
took them all out and cleaned the tips and holes and put the whole
thing back together with Titebond. Its more solid than its ever been.
I'm thinking about damaging the other banister so that will stop
On 15 Sep 2003 10:54:13 -0700, email@example.com (WoodChuck34)
OK, now you've got me confused. I thought that the over the post
fitting had split along a glue line and, in that case, it would have
been appropriate to clean up the joint and reglue.
Now it seems that you are saying the glue line at the joint between
the fitting and the rail failed. If this is true, this is an end
grain to end grain joint and must have a rail bolt in it to have any
strength. The glue in this kind of joint only provides a bit of shear
strength and a bit of a seal against moisture penetration into the end
When I make these joints, I always use a rail bolt and also drive a
finish nail into one face of the joint - clip it off so that about a
quarter inch sticks up, and then draw the joint together with the rail
bolt. The finish nail helps to keep the two faces from twisting out
of alignment as you draw the joint tight.
Tom Watson - Woodworker
Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania
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