Spindles - The Key to a great staircase

Spindles – The Key to a great staircase

What is a spindle?

Spindles are cylinder shapes piece of furniture commonly seen on staircases or steps such as in a house or on decking. Spindles are used primarily as a decorative addition rather than a functional feature of the staircase. Spindles can be traced back to the 17th century in Europe as a way for noblemen to improve the looks of what was typically a boring feature.

A [+ spindle+] (or baluster) are the poles that go between the [+ handrail+] and the [+ base rail+] of a stair case. They can act as a support but these days spindles are used for decorative purposes. A spindle can be made from most timbers such as oak and pine and even metals such as iron. Typically, spindles will be all one material but as tastes and technologies have changed you can now find spindles with part wood and part metal features – taking it even further you can also get spindles made of glass such as the [+ Reflections range by Cheshire Mouldings+].

How are spindles made?

Spindles are made in a wood mill, they can be crafted by hand or they may be mass produced by advanced machinery. Woodturning machines can vary in size depending on the required outputs, for a personal project a woodturning lathe may be enough but for a professional wood product company a larger one may be required such as a mass production molder.

How easy is it to install a spindle?

Typically, you would purchase a spindle at the same time as the rest of the stair case, especially the handrails and baserails. If this case the spindle is already made to fit into the handrail and baserail and are almost ‘plug and play’. In the event you are making your own staircase from scratch, perhaps you are a joiner, then you would just need to make the spindle to the same size and perhaps sanding to get the angle right.

How to finish a spindle?

Adding a finish to a spindle depends on the timber it’s made out of – pine will require light sanding and a finish such as varnish, wax or lacquer – although pine is also easy to paint if you want a truly unique style. If the spindles have been made out of oak then a finish may not be required but it’s always advisable to add one to oak to bring out the natural grain of the wood.


A spindle or even a staircase can seem boring and may not bring much to the table on first glance as a decorative part of a home but with rapidly evolving technology and changing tastes of décor the spindle has quickly become an easy and cheap way to add some class to a staircase.

Spindles - The Key to a great staircase

Spindles are the bread and butter for any stair case - they are uniquely crafted to fit any decor and can be made in most types of timber to match the base rails, hand rails and so much more. A spindle is sometimes referred to as a baluster and can come in so many different shapes, sizes and materials that can totally transform your staircase. Read on to find out a bit more about the humble spindle and some of the people involved in crafting this fine, wooden pole.

  • Author: Ronnie Jones
  • Published: 2017-03-23 16:50:09
  • Words: 469
Spindles - The Key to a great staircase Spindles - The Key to a great staircase