enter image description here There's still about a foot of play in the middle.

I put wood glue and finish nails in the loose spindles but very little improvement made. Both newell post are solid.

  • Maybe a newel mid span? – bib Oct 5 '18 at 1:40

The spindles provide virtually no side-to-side strength; they're all to carry vertical loads. So, improving their attachment won't help at all.

You have two choices:

  1. Install a stronger rail that won't flex as much. This could be a thicker rail, or perhaps an additional strengthening piece added to the bottom.

  2. As @bib suggested, support the rail in the center with a second newel post, well-anchored at the base.

Of course, it's been this way since it was built, and sounds like it's a safety hazard. Talk to the builder?

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