Archive for January, 2013

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


These maple newels posts were made for a customer in Michigan.  The base on these is eight inches wide by 44″ high (not including the newel cap).  As such, in maple, they weigh in at about 65 pounds.   You might not be able to tell but the newels are in soft maple (slightly paler) but the newel caps are made from hard maple (a little browner).  The grain pattern is very similar.  The reason for the difference was because my normal suppliers were out of hard maple.  My customer agreed to the switch.  After staining the difference will disappear.  These particular caps are flat as you can see on top (required by the contractor).  Normally I have little bit of detail on the top of the cap.  The caps will miter into a 6210 handrail.

maple newel posts

maple newel posts

Recently a contractor contacted us about replicating an old newel.  We’ve seen similar styles from the turn of the last century and before.  Apparently this particular style was popular in the 1800’s.  This newel post has an octagon base and an octagon detail above the base.   The original is in mahogany but the builder has decided to paint this one for a new home that is currently in process.  The old newel was a good bit shorter than the one rendered here.  Modern building codes require higher rail heights than those of a century back.  We have not turned this one yet but the builder has approved the rendering.  The newel cap is missing and will eventually match the handrail profile.

By the way the drawing was created in a CAD program, imported into Sketchup and rendered in a Maxwell rendering plugin designed for Sketchup.

 

Octagon newel

Octagon newel

Rendered Octagon Newel

Rendered Octagon Newel

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These are exterior balusters that we turned for a customer to replace the other existing balusters that had rotted.   As you can see the white baluster was the original that we duplicated.  They measure 2 1/2″ wide at the squares by 32″ tall.   The wood used for the project was Spanish Cedar, an excellent species that resists rot and insect damage.

exterior balusters

exterior balusters

These are solid cypress columns we made for a local contractor. The rough lumber was delivered 12″ X 12″ X 10′. The final width was 10 1/2″ X 10 1/2″ X 99″. As such, we had to secure someone with a logging mill to bring them down to the near final thickness. They were quite heavy because of their size and the fact there there was still significant water in them (they were not sufficiently dry when we got them) We cut them to length with a combination of circular saw and chain saw. The images show our progression of bring them from square to finished turning and sanding. In the end there was significant checking due to the drying. As we turned deeper and deeper into the cypress wet wood was exposed and quickly began to dry causing the checking.

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