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Thread: Newel Post and Cap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Cedar Park, TX (NW Austin)
    Posts
    260

    Newel Post and Cap

    I will be replacing our stairs soon and began looking at costs for the varying components. The craftsman style newel posts are quite expensive if manufactured with anything besides red oak. Therefore, I will be making four newel posts out of rift sawn white oak. There are two questions. First, which style of newel is stronger the box newel which is mounted on a block bolted into the tread or rake or a solid newel attached with post fastener system? What are the advantages or disadvantages?
    The second question concerns the cap of the newel post. It is going to be a very low angle pyramid similar to the “pyramid cap” in the image below. If made from flat stock 2 sides would be face grain and two would expose some end grain. What is the best way to create a cap that will stain up uniform? Would gluing four triangles together to form a square and running them through a table saw with a tenoning jig makes sense?
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    John,
    I've installed several of both types of newel post systems and would say both have their place...my personal preference is for a box type newel just based on the sole fact of the size of the base is much larger and helps counteract the side force placed on your posts by people pushing on the handrail.

    http://jansson.us/jcompound.html

    That link should help with regard to your post caps.

    -Jake

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    NW Indiana
    Posts
    341
    Quote Originally Posted by Jake Hubert View Post
    John,
    I've installed several of both types of newel post systems and would say both have their place...my personal preference is for a box type newel just based on the sole fact of the size of the base is much larger and helps counteract the side force placed on your posts by people pushing on the handrail.
    -Jake
    2nd the box build. I've repaired numerous old handrails and newels, and most of the newels were box built. Some of them had a threaded rod anchored to the base plate and then up thru a block at the top of the newel and the entire post tightened down. Another advantage is that it's much easier to attach the newel to the stringer - if your design allows - when box built, and the fastening can be completely hidden.
    Bill
    I'm not old. I've just been young for a very, very long time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Tasmania
    Posts
    2,036
    John, if you make the cap out of a single piece of timber, sand the end grain 2 or 3 grades finer than the rest of the job. It somewhat glazes the end grain making it much more stain resistant which keeps the colour lighter. This is important for staining turnery too. Sanding selectively like this is a traditional technique that solves a good deal of colour matching issues before the stain is applied. Cheers
    Every construction obeys the laws of physics. Whether we like or understand the result is of no interest to the universe.

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