Archive for the ‘ balusters ’ Category

Court House Baluster Reproductions

These balusters are for a court house in Texas.  They are rendered but not completed.  In fact, the samples are not made yet but I thought I would draw and render them in Sketchup and Renderworks.  I’ll be turning about a hundred of them in pine.  They measure 2 1/2″ X 27″.  I have not seen the rail profiles yet so my rendering is not yet complete.

court house baluster

The balusters below are renderings for a job delivered to a customer in Oregon – I previously posted about them.  I thought I would load the updated renderings from Sketchup.  These were a quite nice profile copied from an historic home of a Silas Dean.

Silas Dean Balusters

I thought it would be neat (different) to turn a baluster with a round or tapered base instead of the more traditional square base.   These are two of the ideas I tried.  The first is simply a tapered foot base with a length of square .  The square and tapered foot are horizontally oriented  The top taper is elongated to follow the handrail angle – “rake” angle.  The newel used is my fluted N105.

tapered foot baluster

The second idea was to use rope twists above and below a square center.  The square section follows the rake angle.  The second taller baluster has a longer foot.

Rope Twist Baluster

poplar balusters

These balusters were turned for a customer in San Francisco. The sort of odd thing about these is that although the center diameter is 1 3/4 inches the square ends (not shown) are 1 1/4 inches. That is why I am turning the center area separately. The square top and bottom will be added after.

poplar balusters

poplar balusters

These are for a customer in San Francisco. They are part of a renovation for an older home. Although the originals were much shorter these mimic them (we stretched the “turned” portion). One of the unusual aspects of these is that the largest diameter (at the center) is 1 3/4″. The squares, however, are only 1 1/4″.

These are a set of mahogany balusters that we just finished. They were specked at a certain length for their stairway application. The balusters have a ten inch base, twenty four inches of barley twist and a six inch top. The width of the balusters is 1 3/4 inches. Every other baluster bottom will be cut to achieve a baluster arrangement that has the bases and the tops following the rake angel. See my baluster arrangement page.

mahogany barley twisted balusters

We were just contracted by a customer to make these poplar balusters and starter newel for a home in Connecticut. The post-to-post newel has an octagon base middle and top. The top id quite narrow and will require the handrail to attach horizontally. As such, an up easing will have to be used. The handrail attaching on the rake angle would be too wide for the newel top. The newel measures 8″ at the widest. The design is based on the image from a magazine article and came off quite nicely. The balusters are a based on the image from the same magazine article. The pattern was a common pattern used at the turn of the last century and prior to.
I did not turn these. My partner in crime (turning crime that is) turned these. Great job Walter!

Poplar Newel  8inch wide

poplar balusters 1 3/4 inch

I occasionally have customers that request a staircase with large balusters. The challenge with creating a staircase with extra large balusters is two fold:

  • The handrail size required by codes restrictions will not accommodate a large baluster top. As such, most manufactured handrails are designed for 1 1/4″ or 1 3/4″ balusters.
  • It may be difficult to accommodate the four inch rule spacing between balusters if the balusters are attached directly to the stair treads.

The solution to using larger balusters is also two fold:

  • Use a custom handrail with a larger base that also accommodates the “grasping” requirement of the stair code.
  • Use a closed stringer system that will eliminate the need to attach the balusters directly to the stair treads. The images below clearly demonstrate both design features.
    The baluster size in the drawings below is 3 1/2″ at the squares – a much larger baluster than the more common 1 3/4″ balusters.



    The image below is a cross section showing the handrail with the large base which enables it to “receive” the large 3 1/2″ baluster.


I received a request to make these poplar balusters by a customer in South Alabama. His wife had a liking to an image in a Pottery Barn catalog. I did my best to replicate these from that catalog image. They are, of course, an alternating series. They measured 3 inches at the squares.

Alternating Poplar Balusters

Alternating Poplar Balusters

Pictured below are a number of Spanish cedar balusters made for a renovation project. You can see the original in white paint to the left. They measure 3 1/2 inches in diameter and are about 30 inches long. The shoulders on the top and bottom are square. (shoulders are the transitional area between the square section and the turned section).

Spanish Cedar balusters

Spanish Cedar balusters