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


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.





Pictured below is a set of newels crafted for a customer in Tennessee. The larger red oak newels, from our N108 style, are over-the-post newels and require the caps pictured as well to top off the newels. The “caps” or newel caps connect to the handrail and/or handrail fitting to make a continuos rail line “over the post” hence the name. The red oak newels will be installed in the home’s main front stairway. The poplar 5 1/2″ newel will be installed in the rear of the home as a secondary staircase. These will be painted. You may notice that the style of the poplar newel post is similar to a bell on top another bell. We call these double bells. This style can be seen in many homes in the New Orleans area


newel caps

Large Newels

Large Newels

The lighthouse newel for this project was similar to a newel that we made for a customer in North Carolina. This particular stairway went to a customer in South Florida. The architect wanted to match the balusters to the newel so we created a simple taper with matching beads top and bottom.

lighthouse stairs

The wood paneling on the walls is salvaged heart pine as well as the stair treads. The stair handrail, however, is mahogany. We turned the balusters and newels from poplar.

lighthouse stairs

The challenge for the installer was to “cope” the handrail fitting unto the radiused newel (not shown). Most handrails attach into a “flat” on the newel or over the top in the case of an over the post newel. This one, however, attached to the round part of the newel.

Other images of the balusters and newels can be seen here: Lighthouse newels and balusters

This is a new baluster design that I thought I would draw and render before I actually manufactured it. I got the idea from a stairway I saw in the Pacific Northwest. It is a simple taper with a small bead right at the tread. The size is somewhat deceiving from the rendering. The diameter of the bead at the base is actually 2 1/2″ inches. The pin at the top of the baluster is 1 ” in diameter. I wanted to try a two baluster per tread pattern but a three baluster per tread would look equally as good.

The drawing was made in Google Sketchup and rendered with Irender. I like the first rendering “style” supplied right out of the box by Sketchup.

tapered baluster

Below is a close up of the baluster. Sometimes simple is the better than anything else you could do. BTW the newel is one drawn in a previously post. You can see more here: Pedestal Newels.

tapered baluster with bead

These beauties went into a home in the Carolinas. (You’ve got to love the balcony with the large radiused rail.) There were two staircases in this home.

Barley Balusters


newel and balustersThe image below is the balcony seen from the first floor

from underneathThis is the rear stairway in the home.  The difference in this staircase is that the balusters alternate between a plain tapered and barley twisted balusters.  The newel is what we call our “pottery” newel since it sort of replicates a newel one of my customers saw in a Pottery Barn catalog.

Alternating balusters

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.