how to stabilize bannister tops
Client has beautiful curved stairs in his entryway with handrails of cherry wood and bannisters of twisted square-profile wrought iron. The tops of the bannisters are simply inserted into typical round holes drilled into the underside of the rails; many of these square-pegs-in-round-holes are loose.
I could simply tap shim shingles into the holes, but the client wants a finished look as guests (evidently with nothing better to do) gaze up at the undersides of the rails.
At this point I’m thinking shim shingles counter-sunk and some kind of wood filler of matching color; adhesive and flexible enough not to crumble and fall out as the rails flex in use.
Has anyone found a better solution to this problem? Any recommended fillers?
What you propose sounds good to me. Like you say, how many people are going to see this area anyway. I love how people spend money.
We were just painting doors in a house that probably cost nearly half a million. I didn't see where one set of bifolds that came off a closet came from until we re-installed them--they are too narrow by a foot, and were just stuck in the wide opening so there is an eight inch gap on one side and a four inch gap on the other (but they meet nicely in the center). Why did the owner hire us to paint these--he can't afford new ones the right size? Crazy.
Perhaps you can make wedges of a hardwood to match the banister then glue and tap them in.
Measure it with a micrometer, mark it with chalk, cut it with an ax.
Sounds like the stair guy either didn't have a mortise or didn't care to. I've seen numerous attempts at mortising curved rails with varied results. I've never witnessed someone who just drilled round holes for square pegs.
Filling the holes from below with wedges will stop the iron spindles from rattling but will look odd unless you can come up with a mortised dowel insert. Sounds impossible. Even then the end grain will will be a different color than the underside of the rail. Standard wood filler will eventually loosen, shrink and fall out.
An epoxy filler might work but color may be a problem. Some of the epoxy wood filler comes in strips that you knead together. Might be easier to work with than epoxy putty. I believe it is possible to stain some brands of epoxy.
Here is some reading on the topic