I have an ornate wood interior staircase that is several decades old.
Many of the railing joints are loose to one degree or another, and I'm
going to make them more solid. It would be chore to disassemble &
reassemble the entire railing assembly to repair, so I'm trying to come
up with another method.
I've never done this, but is it a reasonable idea to drill holes, say
3/16" diameter, to every joint (in places that aren't very visible) ,
and then use a syringe to pump some polyurethane glue into the joints?
In some places I could also drill holes and insert trim screws.
Depends on what the cause of the looseness was originally and how bad
the damage is.
I'd be reluctant to do something that drastic as my first step primarily
because if it doesn't work well anything from then on will be nearly
impossible w/o destroying it. The first rule in restoration as in
doctoring is "do no harm"...
Glue is only a temporary fix. Forget it.
The newel post is a classic lever and fulcrum. It does little good to secure
the beam at or near the fulcrum. You need to secure the beam at the base, as
far from the fulcrum as possible. There are a few methods of doing this but
which one to use is site specific. If you can open the ceiling below to get
at the bases that would be the best method but the most work.
I believe here the answer is not to fill the void (loose joint) with glue,
but to close up the gap (tighten the joint)
Lets say the loose joint is the handrail to the newel post. No amount of
filling will tighten up the joint or truly fix it for the log run. Here, to
tighten up (close) the joint you need to draw the to pieces together
(handrail and newel post) I would do this with screws. If a box newel pot
remove one of the sides so you can drill a pilot hole in the newel post (use
a bit the same diameter as the screw shank) then drill a smaller pilot into
the handrail. now drive a screw to pull the two pieces together. If the
newel is solid you will have to drill through the post (same as above) and
plug the hole after the screw is driven.
Polyurethane glue has no gap filling properties, in fact, my
understanding based on some test results I saw indicates that it loses
most of it usefulness if you don't have a good clamping type situation.
OTOH, epoxy is great at this kind of stuff. If you are not familiar with
it, look up "West System", a very user friendly epoxy line with matched
pumps, and an assortment of fillers, used for various bonding issues.
Assuming you DO NOT want to take the stairs apart again (not an
assumption one can always make with, say, a wooden boat) it would
probably work well as you describe your problem.
I am building a Dudley Dix, Argie 10 for my daughter. Check it out:
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.