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How to Use a Drill Press to Make a Handrail

A deck without a handrail can pose a hazard to yourself and any visitors who are walking on it. Build a handrail for your deck to protect its occupants and add a finishing touch to your house. While some builders use handheld drills to drill guide holes for the handrail's balusters, a drill press is a simple alternative that can make your drills straighter and more accurate.

Things You'll Need

  • Balusters
  • Measuring tape
  • Miter saw
  • Drill press and bit
  • Nuts and bolts
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    • 1

      Determine how tall you would like the handrail to be. Measure the height of the boundary joist, using a measuring tape, and add the measurement to the desired handrail height to determine how long you need to cut each baluster. Also decide how far apart you would like to space the balusters in order to judge how much wood you will need.

    • 2

      Mark where the balusters should be cut, using a measuring tape and the measurement In Step 1. Make a pencil mark at the appropriate baluster length.

    • 3

      Cut each baluster to the desired length using a miter saw.

    • 4

      Measure 2 inches from the bottom of each baluster and make a pencil mark. This will be the location for the bolt guide hole.

    • 5

      Select a drill press drill bit that is slightly smaller in width than the bolt.

    • 6

      Drill a guide hole through each baluster using the drill press.

    • 7

      Mark where you will place the balusters on the deck joist, using a measuring tape. Make a pencil mark 1 inch below the top of the deck joist, to position where to drill the guide hole.

    • 8

      Load a drill bit slightly smaller than the bolt you are using into a cordless drill. Drill a guide hole into the deck joist for each baluster.

    • 9

      Instruct a helper to hold the baluster upright while you line up the two guide holes in the baluster and the deck joist. Thread the bolt through the two guide holes. Tighten the nut using a wrench.

    • 10

      Repeat step 9 to secure each baluster to the deck.

    • 11

      Measure the length of the handrail with a measuring tape. Cut a piece of 2-by-4 lumber to the length of the handrail.

    • 12

      Have a helper hold the railing in place while you nail the handrail to to the top of the balusters.