I have a stairway handle that has cracked in the middle all around making it wobbly. It has been like this since I moved in 4 years ago and probably many years before.

I would like to make it a bit more stable and wondering if putting a 12mm dowel straight through with some glue will do the trick?

enter image description here

  • If a perfect glue joint maybe, but the question to ask is would you trust it to save you if you trip or fall on the stairs?
    – crip659
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 17:48
  • 2
    A dowel and glue would be a start but will probably still lack the original strength of the railing. The picture doesn't show supporting hardware. After gluing you should add railing support hardware at that point as well.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 18:05
  • 2
    Are you sure that it's wood? It seems odd that wood snapped in half like that and didn't follow the grain.
    – gnicko
    Commented May 22, 2022 at 19:25
  • I would guess that the original railing was joined there which is why you have such a smooth, straight break. It might simply be that the joint was only painted to make the "joint" and that the paint has cracked. An additional picture or two might help assess the situation. This does appear to be completely round, which indicates that it's closet rod, not hand rail that was used. Hand rail is usually shaped and has a lot more wood to it to support the weight of a falling person. Closet rod only has to hold the basically static load of clothing.
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 23, 2022 at 12:52
  • 1
    @HotLicks Drill a hole first.
    – MLEN
    Commented Oct 20, 2022 at 8:00

2 Answers 2


The simpler safest solution is to just add another bracket (or two) as near that point as possible. No dowel joint will withstand a hundred pounds or more of strain. It would take a full-thickness finger or lap joint, and even then it should be supported better.

Once you do that and things are nice and stable you can sand and repaint the joint area.


The safest solution would be to go to your favorite box store and get a new railing and either cut it or have it cut to length if needed. Get a sample of paint, many stores offer a small container of custom color paint free or at a nominal charge. Take a piece of the old color to get it matched. Fit the new railing in place, remove it, paint it and let it dry before putting back. It would take a lot of work to drill, glue it, add a dowel pin and have it almost as strong as the original.

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