How to fit Elements modern spindles on stairs

 
         

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Contents

     
 

Step   1 - Decide the look you want
Step   2 - Elements components
Step   3 - Measure stair pitch
Step   4 - Measure newel distance
Step   5 - Using the tape measure
Step   6 - Mark bottom newel
Step   7 - Mark top newel
Step   8 - Trim newels to height
Step   9 - Measure existing newel
Step 10 - Mark & trim baserail
Step 11 - Mark & trim handrail
Step 12 - Drill & install baserail
Step 13 - Prepare newel base
Step 14 - Fit handrail
Step 15 - Cut out slot

 

Step 16 - Prepare battens
Step 17 - Position handrail for marking
Step 18 - Mark bracket positions
Step 19 - Continue marking
Step 20 - Drill newels & position handrail
Step 21 - Secure newels
Step 22 - Secure handrail
Step 23 - Install spindles - adhesive to holes
Step 24 - Install spindles into handrail
Step 25 - Install spindles into baserail
Step 26 - Secure connectors
Step 27 - Check all fittings
Step 28 - After care

 

 

decide the look you want, elements metal spindles, metal spindles, staircases, elements, baserails, handrails, newel posts, newel caps, WONKEE DONKEE says: If you haven't already decided, there's plenty to choose from. See the shop for ideas.

Step 1 - Decide the look you want

 

With Elements modern metal spindles you can choose the style and look of your stairs by selecting and matching spindles, newel posts and newel caps. Baserails and handrails are available in white oak only.

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Elements TM components, pyramid, square, classic, acorn, ball, provincial, PST-1 type newel post, classic - plain, classic - fluted, trademark - tulip, trademark - provincial, WONKEE DONKEE says: Elements consist of the handrail, baserail and the metal spindles. You can choose which newel and newel cap to use. The ones shown are from the Richard Burbridge classic and trademark range. You may use other Newels with an overall height of 710mm including the top flat section of 160mm.

Step 2 – Elements TM  components

 

Elements Handrail

Elements Baserail

Elements metal spindles

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Measuring stair pitch, protractor, elements, metal elements, stair elements, newel posts, pitch of stairs, WONKEE DONKEE says: Align protractor on the newel post or floor, whichever is level. Don't forget - Elements is only suitable for stairs with a pitch between 40 and 43 degrees. If you need more help, follow the link below, or click on me!

Step 3 - Measure stair pitch

 

Measure the pitch of your stairs.
Use the printable protractor to do this, or use any other method of measuring your stair pitch, provided you make sure that your measurement is accurate.Your calculations will not be correct otherwise.

 

If you need help in using the protractor, please follow this link.

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Measuring instructions, measuring newel distance, how to measure newel distance, stairs, newels, richard burbridge, elements, WONKEE DONKEE says: Measure along the string. The tape needs to be kept at the same angle as the stairs to be accurate. By the way, did you know that the end of the tape measure is loose for a reason? Click here, or on me, for more info.

Step 4 - Measure newel distance

Using a tape measure, measure the distance between the newel post inside faces (ND). Enter this into the Wonkee Donkee calculator along with the stair pitch. This will give you the quantity of spindles and spacing of your rails.
Note: Be aware of errors that can creep in when measuring the newel distance with a tape measure, particularly when measuring right into an angled corner. See next step.

 

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Tape measure instructions, measuring newel height, richard burbridge, stairs, elements, metallic elements, metal elements, metal newels, fitting metal spindles, how to measure newel post height, WONKEE DONKEE says: Remember the old saying... Measure twice, cut once ...

Step 5 - Using the tape measure

The joint between the Newel and the string is a tight angled corner resulting in the tape measure not getting right into the corner resulting in an error that could easily be as much as 15mm (the height of the tab), and incorrectly spaced panels.
Make sure that you measure from the newel base and that the tape measure is flush with the top of the baserail otherwise the tab on the end of the tape measure will lift the tape off the baserail and cause errors in your marking out.

 

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How to mark bottom newel, richard burbridge, fitting metal newels, marking out lines, cut point, baserail offcut, stairs, staircases, richard burbridge elements, WONKEE DONKEE says: Angle the edge of the piece of baserail so that its top edge will make contact with the newel face. It's a good idea to make sure that your square is actually square by testing on a scrap piece of wood before using.

Step 6 - Mark bottom newel

Place a piece of scrap baserail onto the string. Make a mark where it touches the newel face.

At the same angle as the stairs and baserail, continue this line along the side face of the newel. (as shown).

Mark the centre of this line (effectively the centre of the newel post).

Measure 195mm up from this point. Using a square, mark a line showing where to cut the newel. Continue this line all the way around the newel post using the square.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, metal, elements, stair parts, Step 7, Mark top newel, Wonkee Donkee says "When using your square for the first time. Make sure that your Square is actually square by testing on a scrap piece of wood before using." Diagram of existing top newel post, baserail offcut, string, marking out lines, cut point

Step 7 - Mark top newel

Now mark the top newel post, measuring up only 120mm this time

from where your marks intersect.

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fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, newels, fitting newels, trim newels to height, Step 8, Trim newels to height, Wonkee Donkee says "Always double check that your markings are correct before starting to cut. Better safe than sorry!", WONKEE DONKEE says: "Once the newel posts have been cut down to size, what's left will now be known as the newel base. The new IMMX newel post will fit on top of this base." Diagram, metal newel

Step 8 - Trim newels to height

Cut all newel posts to your marks using a fine-toothed handsaw. Ensure that the saw is kept level and straight at all times, taking care when “breaking through” to avoid splintering the timber.

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, newels, Step 9, Measure existing newel, Wonkee Donkee says "This is a great opportunity to match the newel base with the rest of the timber. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and precautions when using adhesives." Diagram,newel, adhesives, liquid adhesive, wood adhesive, clad newel base, riser, string, newel post

Step 9 - Measure existing newel

Measure the width of your existing newel post - this should be no less than 90mm x 90mm square and installed central to the riser and string. If the newel base is less than this, it will need to be built up by cladding each side equally to get to the required size. Use adhesive and pins to fix in place, cladding the newel so that it ends flush with the top of the newel base.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Metal, Elements, stair parts, Step 10,  Mark & trim baserail, Wonkee Donkee says "Cut the ends as cleanly and accurately as you can using a fine toothed saw.  This cut will be visible once you’ve completed the installation". Diagram, slide baserail so holes are equal top and bottom

Step 10 - Mark & trim baserail

Lay the pre-drilled baserail on top of the stair nosing and place against the side of the newel bases. Slide along until the gap between the inside face of the newel and the drilled hole is the same at the top newel and the bottom newel.

Mark a vertical line following the inside face edge of each newel base.

Remove and carefully and cut to length. Check the fit
between the inside newel faces.

 

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts. Step 11, Mark and trim handrail, Wonkee Donkee says "Make sure that the handrail and baserail faces touch each other along the length of the rails to ensure accuracy" Diagram, handrail, locating handrail on dowel, locating baserail on dowel, mark a line, all holes are in-line, mark a line

Step 11 - Mark & trim handrail

Use the two 15mm dowels supplied in the bracket pack to align the handrail with the baserail by placing a dowel in each end (as shown). Push the rails together until the faces touch, then mark the handrail where the baserail finishes - both ends.

This will ensure that all the pre-drilled holes in the two rails are correctly aligned with each other.

Separate the rails and cut the handrail to length. Do not fix just yet.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, Step 12, Drill and install baserail, Wonkee Donkee says "Remember you are fixing through the pre-drilled holes.", Wonkee Donkee says: "Take care not to mark the top of the rail as you drill through." Diagram, baserail, drillbit, pre=drilled holes, drill, power drill, powerdrill

Step 12 - Drill & install baserail

Position the baserail between the newel bases, ensuring the rail is central to the newels, and drill 4.5mm clearance holes for the screws at and in the 2nd hole from each end, and spaced every 3rd or 4th hole. Drill right through the baserail and slightly into the floor to mark the fixing position.

Remove the baserail and drill 2.5mm diameter pilot holes into the floor.

Ensure that all debris is cleared from within the holes of the baserail before securing the baserail to the floor.

Reposition the baserail and fix to the floor using the No.8 screws.

 

 

 

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Fitting instructions, prepare newel base, preparing newel base, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, Wonkee Donkee says: "If you don't have a hole saw you could use a chain drill. That is, mark the outline of the circle and drill a series of 10mm holes inside and up to your mark. Use a chisel and spade drill to remove the surplus material.", Wonkee Donkee says: "If it was me doing it, I'd get myself a hole saw. The small cost outweighs the time and hassle to chain drill. The hole saw gives a cleaner and more accurate job.", diagram, hole saw, red hole saw, stairs, fitting newels, trimming baserail, metal newel fitting

Step 13 - Prepare newel base

Find the centre of the newel base by marking across the corners. Use a 50mm hole saw to drill a hole 50mm in diameter to accept the spigot on the end of the newel post. Chamfer the corners.
Insert the newel post and, checking that it is a good fit, ensure that the newel is vertical.
Do not secure at this stage.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, brackets, newels, fitting newels, Step 14, Fit handrail, Wonkee Donkee says "If the twist bracket is too long and is too close to the first drilled hole, trim the bracket to suit leaving two screw holes remaining for fixing.", diagram, mark a line around the twist bracket, cut here

Step 14 - Fit handrail

Locate the raking twist brackets central to the underside of the handrail and, using a pencil, mark out the slot on both ends of the rail.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, stair parts, Step 15, Cut out slot, Wonkee Donkee says "Pilot drill the fixing holes using a 2.5mm drill before inserting the screws."

Step 15 - Cut out slot

Chisel out the previously marked out slots for the twist bracket to a depth of 8mm.
Then, fix the bracket into place using the three screws provided.

 

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Ftting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Metal, Elements, stair parts, Step 16, Prepare Battens, Wonkee Donkee says "Make sure that both battens are the same length - and both at 766mm". Diagram, adjustable bevel, newel post, adjustable bevel set to stair pitch, string, adjustable bevel set to the pitch of the stairs

Step 16 - Prepare battens

To set the correct height of the handrail you will need to cut two battens, each 766mm long. Use an adjustable bevel set to the pitch of your stairs and mark a line at each end and 766mm apart. Ensure that the cut ends match the angle/pitch of your stairs. Check that the length of each is correct after cutting

 

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, handrail, step 17, position handrail for marking, stair parts, Wonkee Donkee says "There no need to tape them if you have an extra pair of hands to help you." Diagram, newel, bracket, handrail, batten, view from above handrail, 766mm batten

Step 17 - Position handrail for marking

Use masking tape to hold the battens against the newels then lower the handrail on top of the battens so the twist bracket hole is on the outside of the newel face.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, Step 18, Mark bracket positions, Wonkee Donkee says "Make sure that the hole position is marked 2mm". Diagram, acrylic panel, bracket PT1, fixed to baserail.

Step 18 - Mark bracket positions

Use a pencil to mark the centre of the twist bracket hole onto the newel face on both the top and bottom newels.
Remove the handrail and mark a hole position that is off-set by +2mm from the previously marked centre line, (this will then pull the handrail tight to the newel face when the tapered screw is tightened).
Repeat for all newels.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, fitting metal newels, stair parts, Step 19, Continue Marking, Wonkee Donkee says "Remember to make sure your square is actually square before using for the first time." Diagram, mark new line on the face of the newel, handrail newel face, horizontal centreline of bracket hole, inside newel face, mark centreline on handrail face

Step 19 - Continue marking

Using a square, mark a line on the inside of the newel face from the centre of the twist bracket holes and across the faces of the newel, follow the centre line with the square and draw a line across the face of the newel where the handrail will be attached.

Draw a vertical line through the previously drawn line down the centre of the newel face.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, Step 20, Drill newels & position handrail, Wonkee Donkee says "Double check your hole positions before drilling. For a clean cut, make sure that your drill bits are sharp.." and "If you can, leave the battens in place to ensure that the handrail height is correct..&quot and "The adhesive you use must not be quick  acting. This is because we will not be fully tightening the tapered screws for at least another 45 minutes." Diagram, 6mm hex drive, tapered screw, instant nails adhesive

Step 20 - Drill newels & position handrail

Drill the newels using an 11mm diameter drill bit on the inside faces of the newels (facing inside the stairs) to a depth of 60mm to accommodate the tapered screw and a 16mm diameter drill bit to a depth of 40mm on the inside faces of newels to accommodate the ends of the twist bracket.

Place a small amount of PU adhesive (not Fast Grab) on each end of the handrail and offer up to the newel, position the ends of the twist brackets into the 16mm diameter holes in the newel and insert the tapered screw so it starts to pull the rail in. Do not fully tighten at this stage.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, fitting metal newels, Step 21, Secure the newels, Wonkee Donkee says "Only use a good quality Fast Grab PU adhesive. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations.", Wonkee Donkee says: "PU, by the way, is short for Polyurethane." Diagram, newel post, newel base, spigot, PU HERE, wood adhesive

Step 21 - Secure newels

Once the handrail is in position in the newel turnings, lift the newels out and ensure that both the
spigot and the hole are clean and free of saw dust.

Apply a large bead of a proprietary ‘Fast Grab’ PU adhesive to the inside circumference of the newel base and a small bead to the underside flat surface at the base of the newel (not spigot).

Note: Do not use any other type of adhesive.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, newels, handrails, Step 22, Secure handrail, Wonkee Donkee says "Using water based adhesive will make it much easier to clean of excess adhesive. When using solvent based PU Fast Grab adhesive, don’t over-fill.  Allow for the adhesive to expand  (see manufactures instructions).  With the PU Fast Grab expanding adhesive, remove the excess with a blunt piece of wood or plastic spatula once the adhesive has started to set. Don’t leave the adhesive too long otherwise it will be  difficult to remove cleanly.". Diagram, acrylic panel installed.

Step 22 - Secure handrail

The tapered screws can now be fully tightened into the 11mm diameter holes in the top and bottom newels using a 6mm hexagonal drive/allen key until the shoulders on the handrail are flush against the newel faces. Clean off excess adhesive.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, stair newels, stair parts, Step 23, Install spindles - adhesive to holes, Wonkee Donkee says "Do a trial run on the first spindle to judge how much adhesive you need." Diagram, applying adhesive to drilled holes in baserail, wood adhesive, PU adhesive.

Step 23 - Install spindles - adhesive to holes

Using a multi-purpose adhesive in a mastic gun (No-nails, Stixall etc) place a bead into the bottom, pre-drilled holes of the baserail, repeat this for the pre-drilled holes in the handrail. Take care not to put too much in each hole. Remove surplus adhesive.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, stair newels, stair parts, Step 24, Install spindles into handrail, Wonkee Donkee says "Place the spindle at an angle and slide it into the pre-drilled hole in the handrail as far up as it will go so it makes contact with the adhesive." Adhesive, wood adhesive

Step 24 - Install spindles into handrail

Place the spindle at an angle and slide it into the pre-drilled hole in the handrail as far up as it will go so it makes contact with the adhesive.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, newels, stair newels, Step 25, Install spindles into baserail, Wonkee Donkee says "Remember to wipe off the excess glue as soon as you can. " Diagram, inserting spindle into baserail, adhesive, wood adhesive

Step 25 - Install spindles into baserail

Straighten up the spindle so the bottom end lines up with the pre-drilled hole in the baserail and slide the spindle down as far as it will go.

 

For the spiral metal spindles it will be necessary to twist them into position (before the adhesive dries) so that they are uniform in appearance whilst still maintaining the 99mm maximum gap.

 

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, stair newels, metal newls, stair parts, Step 26, Secure connectors, Wonkee Donkee says "Take your time with these finishing touches.   You’ll want them to look right.  Remember to wipe away any excess glue as soon as you can." Diagram showing rake fixing kit, process of twisting bracket to cover cap, twist bracket to cover cap, cover cap

Step 26 - Secure connectors

Once all the spindles are in place, apply adhesive to the cover caps (included in the handrail fixing kit), and place over the previously drilled 11mm diameter holes.

Use the same adhesive to secure the twist bracket cover caps (also included in the handrail fixing kit), under each end of the handrail into the chiselled slot so that it covers the twist bracket.

You may need to trim the timber covers slightly to fit up against the newel face.

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, stair parts, Step 27, Check all fittings. Wonkee Donkee says "This is your final opportunity to ensure that everything is correct before the glue dries.;quot drawing, stairs, completed newel installation.

Step 27 - Check all fittings

Finally, check all fittings, covers and spindle positions, etc.

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Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, stair parts,After care for metallic newels, Wonkee Donkee says "To take care of your new stairs, don’t use any chemicals or abrasive cleaners.  Only clean with a damp cloth or with carrots that are specifically designed to be used on chrome or brushed nickel finishes. Did I say carrots? Sorry, I meant cleaners! Anyone seen a carrot?", Picture of a staircase with metallic newels and wood handrails, baserails, carpeted stairs, interior design, stair design

Step 28 - After care

Wipe down with a damp cloth and enjoy!

Fitting instructions, Richard Burbidge, Elements, Metal, newels, stair parts

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Some of the Images used are © Richard Burbidge Ltd 2014 used with permision