Archive for the ‘ newels ’ Category

Barley twisted

These are white oak barley twisted balusters for a customer in Idaho. I am grateful that they remembered to send me pictures of the final staircase. We made the newels to match the balusters as you can see. The balusters are 2″ wide at the base. The “pins” at the top are 1 3/8″. The architect strictly wanted two balusters per tread with pin tops. The pins, as such, had to be quite large to meet the four inch rule which is required in most communities.

Barley Twisted Staircase

barley twisted newel and balusters under the volute

We just finished these large stair newels for a customer in the Chicago area.   They are crafted from cherry and measure eight inches wide at the base.   I typically turn my over the post newels 44 inches high.  The top is 5 1/2″ inches in diameter with a 3/4″ pin to attach the newel cap (also shown).


The cap has the same profile  as a 6701 handrail from L J Smith Stair Manufacturing.  The installer is responsible to cut a “pie” shaped cut from the cap and attach the hand rail fitting.

Newel Caps

Other stair newel images can be seen here in my Picassa account.

Lyptus is a very hard hardwood imported from South America that has gained some popularity in the US in the last few years.  Lyptus is a wood that is being grown on farms and harvested by some produces.  In hardness it is probably slightly harder than red oak but it seems to me to vary quite a bit in harness from one piece to another.   It is pinkish in color with a rather wild grain pattern in many pieces.   These stair newels went to an interesting stairway in Illinois.

Lyptus Newels

I thought these newels were an interesting switch.  The newel cap that we added to these is normally reserved for an over-the-post newel where the hand rail miters into the cap.  But in this case the customers wanted the cap added to a post-to-post newel.  These are crafted in poplar to be painted.  The larger of the four newel ( eight inches wide at the base) will sit at the bottom of the stairway – the “starters”.  The smaller, five an one half inch newels will be installed at the balcony level.

post to post newels

These marching newels and balusters went to a home in Key West, FL. Because Key West is a coastal city, the architect wanted to use a maritime design for the stairway. We had designed a lighthouse newel once before for a customer in NC and turned this one in a similar pattern. The balusters were designed to pick up the same lines as the newel. The handrail and fittings are in mahogany. This should make for a very fine staircase.

lighthouse newels unprimed poplar

lighthouse balusters

primed lighthouse newels

By the way, the large newel measures 9 inches wide by four foot 10 inches.  The smaller newels are 4 3/4″ and 5 1/2″ wide.

I have to confess this is a newel that I have not made nor is it one that I cannot “easily” make.  I don’t have the proper equipment to make it.  The machine that would make this newel is called a hauncher (hence the title).  Though I cannot presently make it, I can draw it.  If there is enough interest in the style I will purchase a hauncher to make it.   The newel is 8 inches wide at the base and about 50 inches high.  I really like this design.

Hanched Newel

I think everyone loves lighthouses- at least my wife and I do. And as stair newels have a the general shape of a lighthouse it seems appropriate that some would take the form of a lighthouse. I have to say that I designed one for a contractor in New York several years ago and he really didn’t like the outcome. One of the challenges of designing one is figuring out where to attach the handrail.  Since lighthouses are predominately cylindrical there is no natural “flat” in a post-to-post lighthouse newel to easily attach the rail.   An over-the-post version would eliminate (or minimize) the top of the lighthouse features. The only reasonable alternative is to attach the rail to the upper cylindrical part of the newel – an installation challenge.

Whatever!! The following renderings was designed by me as a prototype.   It is 5 1/2 inches across the octagonal base.  The handrail (not shown) would attach just below the band below the lighthouse lens.

lighthouse-newel

The design below was copied by me from a magazine image provided by the customer.  The base is 10 inches (mammoth) X 54 inches high

Lighthouse Newel

This is the same newel as above with the stair detail shown.  The tread sort of wraps around the newel base.  We turned this in poplar and the newel was painted as shown.  The customer installed square balusters however.

Lighthouse Newel

The following renderings are different versions of a pedestal newel I am developing.  They go from about 5 1/2 inch base with 3 1/2 inch turning to about a 8 inch square base with 5 1/2 inch diameter turning.  All models depict over the post style newel but certainly a post to post newel could be made.  These would have to be shipped in pieces so that the final length of the base could be cut.  The column and moldings could be attached after the base is cut and installed.

The spiral top of the newel below is another variation on a theme. Of course, there are endless possibilities. The bases on these have recessed flat panels which could be made with raised panels or left plain. The ionic columns could be fluted as well as plain.

alder stair newels

These alder stair newels were turned for a customer in the Colorado Springs, CO area. They measure 5 1/2 inches X 44 inches. The newel cap is not shown but will match the handrail sample sent to me (below). Obviously the newels are over-the-post newels. The newel cap (with matching handrail profile) will be mitered to receive the handrail.

alder handrail

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