The images below represent the design process for one customer’s new stairway.  The changes are listed before the renderings.  The program used to model the stairways is Sketchup.  The rendering engine used was Kerkythea.  Let me know what you think:
In this first image the newels and rails and threads were painted black.  The balusters alternate (except the balcony – my mistake)

Philadelphia Newel

Close up of the balcony

Philadelphia Newel

Close up of the balcony with the alternating balusters

Philadelphia Newel

Here we have changed the color to the newels and handrail.  We’ve stained the threads and added box newels to the balcony

Philadelphia Newel

close up of balcony

Philadelphia Newel

In the last rendering we have gone back to the original newels.  The customer decided to go with square bases on the newels (not shown)

Philadelphia Newel

 

 

I don’t often get a request for wooden spheres – in fact I can’t remember ever making something like this , at least not as big as these.  A contractor asked us to reproduce a number of large wooden balls to fill the “kick space ” under the receptionist desk in the reception area of a children’s clinic.  They were to be painted as seen in the original desk seen below.

Reception Ball

Reception Ball

The balls measured 11 5/8″ diameter and were turned from poplar.  Below are some of the balls during and after finish sanding:

large wooden balls

Finished Spheres

ready to ship

ready to ship

 

Video of turning the spheres:

 

 

This is a 6″ newel that we made for a customer on the East Coast.  The home owner  had an older newel that he really liked and asked if we could reproduce.  The difficulty on making an exact reproduction of any large piece is in either having it shipped to my shop in South Louisiana or in some cases removing it from a finished stairway.  Such was the issue here. The best that could be done was to take a good resolution picture and email it to me.  So after the picture arrived I made a rendering using Google Sketchup.  The original image is below with the model and changes desired by the home owner.

original image and my first model

original image and my first model

 

And finally the finished soft maple newel.  The cap was provided by the home owner.

Soft Maple Newel

I thought I would let all the friends of Architecture Would Turnings know that we have created a new Stair  Newel site (try to say that 10 times really fast).  I’m going to post a link here so that anyone interested may be able to go there and peruse or purchase our  stair newels.  Of course you can always go to our flagship site Architectural Turning to purchase newels and balusters or any other turning products that we manufacture and sell.  Our new site is Stair-Newels.com.  Will be showcasing primarily are Newels there and would appreciate it if you would take a look tell us what you think.

thank you,

Kim Vedros

This is a beautiful home on one of the Mississippi Beaches that we had the privilege of making stair parts for. The home owner was a very creative sot of person and wanted to use a maritime theme to go with her love for the water and sailing. As such, the two stairways incorporate lighthouse newels and balusters.  The newel is has a large 7″ wide base. The 1 3/4″ wide balusters alternate between barley twisted and a plain with lines complementing the shape of a lighthouse. In the end we had a few extra newels which we plan to turn into floor lamps.

plain lighthouse baluster

plain lighthouse baluster

plain lighthouse baluster

plain lighthouse baluster

Lighthouse newel

Lighthouse newel

first floor staircase

first floor staircase

Thanks to Google for this wonderful online image app – Picassa

This is a slide show of my newel collection from many of the newels we have turned from customers over the years:

Some are my designs but many are designs from my customer, or in some cases, modifications made to my designs to suit the need of my customers. My standard deigns can be seen here: Archturnings.com

I occasionally like to come up with a new design idea especially new newel designs. Below is my latest attempt.   Octagons have always had a warm place in my heart and apparently in the heart of many wood turners and woodworkers before me. Octagon newels and architectural design features were prevalent in the 19th century and before.
Most of the large stair manufacturing companies are more interested in smaller turned newels that can be produced quickly and never concern themselves, IMHO, with finer designs ideas.  Below are two possibilities. The first has a octagonal base – the second with a square base. Both are over-the-post newels – ie the handrail attaches to the newel cap and runs continuously “over” the newels.

For an understanding of how these caps attach to the handrail you might want to check out this article on my other site: newel cap installation

tapered octagon newel

tapered octagon newel

square base octagon newel

square base octagon newel

I really love the profile of the wood balusters below.   Most of the baluster requests we get are for barley twists.  This particular customer had something a little different in mind.  He picked out the baluster profile from an image of a job we had done previously and decided to go with a rope twist instead of a barley twist.  I really like the way they came out.  The customer is in the New England area and installed them himself.  If you’re not sure of the difference between a rope twist and a barley twist you can view a previous blog post on the subject here:  Barley vs. Rope.   Please note:  Sanding has not been completed.

Rope Twist Balusters

Rope Twist Balusters

 

 

 

One of my customers needed several replacement balusters for her stair project in New York. After sending me an original, we carefully made a CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawing and then had the templates cut by a local company with a laser CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machine. You should be able to see the 8 lighter colored balusters near the bottom of the stairway.  If memory serves me these were crafted from cherry.  After finishing the balusters should blend in quite well.

baluster reproduction

baluster reproduction

Large Wood Turning

 

This is the result of having too much time on your hands.  The sectional vase came about during the winter of 2012 when works tends to slow down.  I began looking at some Youtube videos of what others had done (with too much time on there hands).  The vase is made from gluing 28 rings of twelve pieces.  After making the 28 rings I then glued them together in groups of four (seven groups of four).  After mounting the first group on the lathe I turned the outside of the group and then the inside.  After finishing the first group I then added the second group and repeated the process.
This is certainly not the thing that I normally do and would probably go into bankruptcy if I continued to pursue this line of work.  Nevertheless it was enjoyable and will make a nice addition to my home .

large sectional vase

large sectional vase

Large Sectional Vase

Large Sectional Vase