How to Bend Wooden Stair Handrail

Bending wooden stair handrails can be a challenging but rewarding process. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of bending wooden handrails, which typically consist of 7 to 10 layers (plies) glued together and curved. With the right tools and techniques, you can achieve a beautiful and functional handrail for your staircase.

Tools Needed:

  • Wood to make guides
  • C clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Small paint roller
  • Sandpaper

Let’s Begin.

How to Bend Wooden Handrail for a Curved Staircase














Step 1 – Prepare the guide blocks: Create guide blocks out of lumber that will serve as the handrail guide. These blocks will hold the handrail in the correct curve while it dries.



Step 2 – Secure the guide blocks: Nail the guide blocks along the intended handrail path, ensuring they’re spaced evenly to provide consistent support. Avoid using a nail gun, as you’ll need to remove these blocks after the handrail has dried.



Step 3 – Apply wood glue: With a small paint roller, apply a thin, even layer of wood glue between each layer of the bending handrail. Be careful not to use too much glue, as this may cause the layers to slip.



Step 4 – Position the glued handrail: Place the glued handrail within the guide blocks, ensuring you’re using the outer molding layer. This outer layer should not be glued; it’s only used to protect the handrail while you clamp it into place.



Step 5 – Align the handrail: Use shims to secure the handrail in place and align it with the center of the guide blocks. Gently tap the handrail with a mallet or hammer where needed to properly align the layers.


Step 6 – Clamp the handrail: Use C-clamps to hold the handrail firmly in place between the guide blocks, ensuring even pressure is applied along the entire length of the handrail.



Step 7 – Allow time to dry: Let the handrail dry for at least 24 hours, allowing the glue to set and the handrail to maintain its shape.

After installing your newel posts, test-fit your handrail before cutting it to the desired length. Remember to measure twice and cut once to ensure a perfect fit.