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

2 Responses to “Ivory Stair Newel Cap”

  • E Henchy says:

    We have an old cottage on Cape Cod, MA which has been in its present location (after being moved in the early – mid 19th century) for almost 100 years. We are its 4th or 5th owner. It has, in one of its newel posts, an ivory button which we had known, from local historians, to signify that one of the owners had paid off his/her mortgage. We’ve owned the house for 17 years and have just paid off our mortgage and now seek to put another “button” into a remaining newel post…
    Any thoughts about sourcing and/or procedure for doing so, would be much appreciated….Best, Elise K Henchy

  • David Loeb says:

    The ivory newell cap was a tradition in the antebellum south and is sometimes discussed in tours of the plantation homes. I would very much like to aquire an “ivory” newell post button. The Corian solution seems like the answer to the lack of ivory. If you sell such buttons, i would appreciate a response.

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