How to set the handrail in position to the correct height and pitch for spindling.

When working on stairs that have been installed prior to the handrail being dry fitted in the workshop, it is often necessary to or easier to set the handrail up on stands before fitting the spindles.

This is becoming more the norm now; as many staircase manufacturers do not supply the handrail with the stairs.

On many heritage staircases, the spindles would have been dovetailed or housed in during production in the workshop. See Spindle fitting.

The handrail would also be dry fitted and bolted ready for installation on site.

When fitting the handrail after the stairs are in place the process has to alter, on many new stairs the treads are left as finished timber and not decorated, therefore one has to be careful on any fixings used to hold temporary handrail supports in place; as they may not be filled and painted.

With the stands that we use, they do not require screwing down and are adjustable in both height and pitch, to suit most situations.

We will guide you through how to easily set up the stands, ready for fitting the spindles.

Handrail stand drawings.

At the bottom of the page, we have added the drawings on how to make these stands.

The stand.

The stands are designed to cover most situations, they are adjustable in height from around 800mm, 2’8″ up to 1200mm, 4′.

This will allow the stands to set low enough for landings and high enough for most pitches.

The centre of the support is closer to the back of the tread than the front so they do need to extend quite high.

Handrail stands for setting up handrail.
Handrail stands.

Setting up the stands.

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Cut 2 front spindles to length.

Before setting the stands, it is best to cut two spindles for the front of the treads, it is best to cut the front spindles as this will be in the same position on every going, (See spindle position for cut string stairs.) the flights throughout the building may have different goings and therefore the mid tread spindles may be set in different positions and different heights.

By using a spindle at either end of the handrail when setting it to height, it should ensure that all the intermediate spindles can be cut at the same length, to save time measuring each one.