Archive for March, 2009

These balusters went to a home in Aspen. I wanted to go to help with the installation but the contractor said I wasn’t needed. Oh well – maybe next time. These are large 2 1/2″ balusters that I think came out very well. I posted an image of the newels that went with this project but will post again.

large stair balusters

column newels

These newels were popular in the New Orleans area. We call them double bells because of the stacked bell motif obviously. It is a design I like but really don’t make that often. People have not been requesting them.

The first image (not a good one I know) was sent me from a contractor in Kentucky. I hadn’t seen one of my painted black but there you have it with black iron balusters.

double bell newel

double bell newel

This other image is of red oak double bells. Can’t remember where these went but I like the way they came out.

double-bell-newels


These Victorian newels were created for a custom in California. He at first sent detailed drawings that were too messy to discover the detail. He then sent an original newel for us to copy. The new were hard maple. They turned out nicely.

Victorian newels

Victorian newels

The larger newel is 6″ wide at the base. The smaller newels are three and a half inches.

These are exterior balusters that I reproduced for a customer on the East Coast. They are crafted in Spanish Cedar. Spanish Cedar is an import from South America that has gained in popularity among millworks companies in the US. Twenty years ago mostly boat builders used this wood because of the resistance to decay. I remember seeing SCedar in huge widths and thicknesses and lengths. You can still buy it that way but not as readily. If the smell doesn’t kill you, it is a fine wood for applications exposed to the weather. The downside is its tendency to bleed through the paint. A good oil primer is a plus.

Exterior Baluster

The dark baluster is the original but you already knew that.

Many of my customers have never understood the difference between a barley twist and a rope twisted turning. And though I try to explain it over the phone, I’m certain it is not well understood. “A rope twist”, I tell them, “looks like rope.” A barley twist, on the other hand, has an interior radius that differentiates it from a rope twist. This usually does not work. And so a picture is indeed worth a thousand words. Or this case – two pictures:

barley twist

barley twist

rope twist

rope twist

Some time back I had a request form a customer to add an ivory “button” to a newel cap I was making for his stairway newel. Of course I couldn’t use ivory and was unsure of what to use. I had read about “vegetable” ivory or tagua nuts from South America that had a similar look and feel to ivory. These proved to be not so easy to find. Most of the tagua nuts were already carved into someting or other before they arrived in the US. The larger nuts (which is what I needed) were even harder to find. So in the end I decided to use Corian. Corian is what the DuPont Corp. developed for solid surface kitchen counters years ago. I found a small piece locally at a solid surface counter company. I think the final product turned out nicely.

By the way, apparently it was traditional in some area of the country to add an ivory piece to your newel cap when the mortgage on the house was paid off. If you have heard of this from your neck of the woods I’d love to hear from you.

corian topped newel cap

corian topped newel cap