Handrail to Newel Connection Tips

      Advice on joining a handrail to the newel post. February 10, 2009

This is probably something rather simple, but what's the best way to connect the upper end of a raked wood handrail to a box newel - hardware? Everything I find is about the bottom-end connection.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor R:
Is the box newel solid or hollow? I also have some ideas on how to mount them if you are interested.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. The box newel will be solid.

From contributor R:
I sometimes anchor the rail through the face of the rail by drilling a horizontal hole through the top while the rail is at its angle. Some people may consider this sacrilege but at times you may not have a choice. I first pilot a 3/8" plug hole with a spade bit. Then I use a long thin bit (1/8") to drill through the rail at a right angle to the cut that will fit against the newel to mark the post.

Make sure the pilot hole is closer to the bottom than the top of the rail. This is so you have plenty of material (meat) between the screw head and the post so the screw won't blow out when you tighten it. After that is accomplished pre-drill your holes to accommodate whatever screw you choose to use. I find I pull the rail very tight using this method if I use a hefty screw.

The 3/8" plug in the top of the rail may trouble you but if you match it well and because it has such a small footprint, customers never seem to mind. If you want to go through the back of the post drill a 1" plug hole then a pilot a hole through the post into the rail same as through the top of the rail. Then set up to use a 5/16" x 3" lag with washers. It seems to me if I use a screw in this situation I usually strip out the head or snap the screw. A lag is better in this instance.

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: Millwork Installer

  • KnowledgeBase: Architectural Millwork: Stairs

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2020 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article